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How to Solve Some Common Problems with VoIP

In the past, the ability of a small to medium sized business (SMB) to expand into international markets was impeded by the exorbitant costs of international telephony. But with the roll out of general purpose data networks and Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) telephony, a significant barrier to entry was removed from the international marketplace. VoIP telephony is the process of routing calls over the Internet instead of traditional phone lines. Its advantages are so compelling that even larger businesses that can afford to use traditional tech for international calls are switching to VoIP systems.

Indispensable though it may be, it’s important to realize that VoIP isn’t a perfect technology. There are some common issues that can interfere with a business’s ability to communicate. Here are three of the more frequent issues that can occur, and some simple ways to deal with them.

Unable to Connect

The ability to connect depends on the reliability of the VoIP service provider. Many of the better providers offer a 99.99% uptime guarantee, which is made possible by building in redundancy in call routing and robust failover provisioning.

For businesses already experiencing call connection issues, contacting the service provider immediately may resolve the issues. If problems persist, it may be necessary to switch providers.

For companies still looking for a service provider, it is important to ask about service level agreements and to investigate what sorts of backup provisioning are in place.

Poor Call Quality

Sometimes calls connect without any issues but with sub-standard audio quality. Even in cases where communication is still possible, low call quality can negatively affect a company’s image with clients and customers.

In most cases of consistently low call quality, the cause is insufficient bandwidth. Each concurrent call generally needs around 100kbps of bandwidth. That doesn’t sound like much, but can quickly add up as business expands. Thanks to the wealth of options available today, provisioning enough bandwidth and adding more as necessary is a relatively straightforward process.

Dropped Calls

VoIP can suffer from dropped calls more frequently than the older public switched telephone network (PTSN), but it is usually a simple fix.

Dropped calls are typically caused by excessive packet loss, and packet loss is usually caused by an overloaded network. Adding more bandwidth can often resolve these issues. Before paying more for additional bandwidth, though, it may be worth looking at the network’s quality of service (QoS) settings. QoS settings tell the network what types of data and which packets have priority. By simply setting VoIP data as a high-priority data stream, dropped call issues can often be resolved without paying an additional cent.

VoIP has made progress toward leveling the international playing field for SMBs. It is by no means perfect, but a bit of planning and preparation can help ensure that this tremendously useful technology lives up to its full potential.

SIP Trunking Is an Asset with the Right Provider

SIP TrunkingSession Initiation Protocol (SIP) trunking replaces ordinary phone lines by using Voice over IP (VoIP) to connect to the Internet, allowing phone systems to run on Internet connections to increase efficiency and reduce costs. SIP trunking can support several signals at a time and allow for multiple simultaneous users. This service can greatly benefit enterprises if implemented properly.

Why SIP Trunking Is Helpful

SIP trunking can be used as a single solution for multiple tasks, including:

  • making local, regional, or international inbound and outbound calls;
  • providing sufficient bandwidth for emergency calls and overall Internet connections; and
  • supporting texting and email services.

The key to successful implementation of SIP trunking is the quality of the service provider. Bad providers can cause businesses to spend more for lower quality services. There are several specific issues to be aware of when choosing a provider.

Prioritization of Data and Voice Traffic

In order for SIP trunking to work effectively, each aspect needs to be organized according to a business’s priorities. For instance, if a company relies on SIP trunking for calls, then voice traffic should be the main priority instead of data. Inadequate prioritization may cause some inconveniences.

If a business has extremely limited bandwidth, voice traffic should be the main purpose for SIP. However, if there is plenty of bandwidth available, data should take top priority. Typically, both voice traffic and data are used equally when there is enough bandwidth to accommodate both.

Backup Plans

Companies may be able to rely on SIP trunking for business communications most of the time, but there’s always the potential for service interruption. If businesses want to avoid disrupted communications and subsequent downtime, multiple backup plans should be implemented. Backup plans usually involve Internet backup, second-line sources for certain types of equipment, and backup trunking providers. Solid backup plans are crucial to maintain business continuity in the event of a disaster.

Plans for Call Admission Controls

When conducting normal business communications, companies need to ensure that they still have enough bandwidth to make emergency calls when needed. This is where call admission control comes in, which is responsible for calculating how many calls a business can make while allowing for emergency calls. It requires the knowledge and experience that only a SIP trunking provider can offer. A good provider allows for enough bandwidth in the event of emergency calls.

Choosing the right provider can help companies avoid potential issues and enjoy all of the benefits that SIP trunking is intended to provide.