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How do I improve my VoIP call quality ?

A VoIP call is simply a packet of data being transmitted over the internet, and is subject to potential problems such as packets loss and transfer delays/jitters. There are a number of things that can affect your QoS (Quality of Service).

  1. Upgrade Your Internet Connection
    VoIP is highly dependent on data-transfer speed (upload and download). If experience hissing or pauses during a Connect::VoIP call then the first thing to examine is your ISP connection. Switching to an Astutium Connect::ADSL service from an over-crowded generic ISP will enhance your data-transfer rates and reduce hops to the VoIP services
  2. Improve Your Contention Ratio
    Contention is the number of people connecting to the internet through the same BT Exchange conection. At any given time there will be many other users connected to the same equipment, and the more users connected and downloading simultaneously the slower your service will operate. Many ISPs run contention as high as 400:1 - yes 400 users sharing the same BT connection ! Pipex, AOL, Wanadoo are set at 100:1
    Switching to a low-contention Connect::ADSL service, or upgrading your existing ISP connection to a lower contention ratio will improve performance - for effective VoIP we recommend 40:1 or less (1:1 DSL being the absolute best)
  3. Optimise your Configuration
    A typical home computer is little short of appallingly optimised. M$-Windows and Mac OS X are by default poorly setup to handle the transfer rates of a broadband connection. There are many free applications which will change your networking settings enabling the best use of the internet.
    • Broadband Optimzer (OS X)
    • SG TCP Optimizer or Web Optimizer (Windows)
  4. Upgrade Your VoIP Phone
    If you are using a soft-phone (computer based voip) rather than a handset, then make sure you upgrade to the latest version. Never rely on beta software, use only released stable releases. Keeping your software up to date allows you to experience mprovements in the codecs (compression/decompression) technology used for your calls. Selecting a high-quality headset makes soft-phone voice quality (spoken and listened to) as clear as standard PSTN landlines.
    For soft-phones, we recommend using an ethernet link not wifi, to ease processing requirements on your workstation/laptop, this reduces interference and significantly improves the codec processing.

    If you are using a VoWiFi handset (phone that uses a wireless network to make a call) then the greatest improvement to call quality is to improve the strength of your WiFi signal.

    If you are using Connect::VoIP with a standard telephone and adapter, switching to a quality DECT VoIP phone, from an Argos £4.99 unit makes a huge difference. Another advantage of using a DECT phone and adapter is that you can still make an emergency call or standard landline calls in the event your internet connection is unavailable.
  5. Reduce Simultaneous Connections/Calls
    A VoIP call requires 32Kb/s dedicated bandwidth, So multiple simultaneous calls or using your conection for BitTorrent/FTP/iTunes etc will deteriate the call quality. So pause downloads etc whilst calling, and limit calls over ADSL to a maximum of 4 at the same time.
    A call can drop out completely or experience noticable delays while media is downloading, simply because the connection cannot handle so much data or so many packets. Stop any non-essential internet traffic while you make your calls, or get a dedicated Connect::ADSL line for business VoIP calls.

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