Latency Levels and Its Impact on Maintaining the Quality of VoIP Calls

VoIP
VoIP Latency Test

When providing VoIP services, the quality of calls matters a lot. If your customers frequently complain about call quality issues like choppy audio or echoing, there are chances that you are dealing with call latency issues. If the issue persists for long, customers may get frustrated and may start looking for another VoIP service provider. Therefore, to understand the seriousness of this issue, a VoIP latency test is required. Let’s first know about Latency.

What Do You Understand By Latency?

Latency is usually the delay or pause in response time between when a network user initiates an action and when the corresponding action is completed. As a result of the delay, the data can take a longer time to reach its destination. In the case of VoIP business, latency is the total time the voice data packets take to travel over the internet from one point (outbound caller) to another point (inbound caller). In simple words, in the field of VoIP, latency usually means the delay between when the caller speaks and the person on the other side hears the voice of the caller. 

It is important to note that VoIP data is transmitted with the help of data packets. These data packets are compressed in the form of digital files. The packets are sent sequentially via the source device, the router, the VoIP platform’s server, a carrier network, and finally delivered to the recipient’s device. The process takes place back again when the recipient responds to the caller’s voice. Now we understand that VoIP data transmitting is quite a complex journey. A little latency can be expected in VoIP and any other business phone service that relies on the Internet. However, when the latency rate starts to grow excessively and disturbs the user’s ability to communicate properly through VoIP solutions, the problem needs to be addressed quickly and efficiently. 

How Can You Measure the Latency Rate?

Well, latency is usually measured in milliseconds and the best latency rate for VoIP calls is set as 250 ms or less. If the latency rate goes above 250 ms, it can greatly impact the quality of voice calls. Businesses can measure the latency levels in two ways:

  • One-Way Latency: It is one of the most common ways used by VoIP businesses to measure their latency level. The method can be used to determine the amount of time a data packet takes to travel from the source network and reach its destination. 
  • Two-Way Latency: Also known as round-trip latency, the two-way latency method is used to determine the amount of time a data packet takes to get transmitted back and forth from the source network to the destination and back to the source network again. 

Latency can also be measured with a VoIP latency test. By using network latency testing also known as ping testing, businesses can determine how much amount of delay they are dealing with in their phone system. Nowadays, several VoIP service providers offer VoIP latency test tools to get the latency results.

Impact of Increased Latency on Call Quality

An increase in latency level can negatively impact the quality of VoIP calls. It may result in frustrated team members as well as customers. It can even badly impact the volume of sales due to less customer satisfaction scores. Some other impacts that businesses can experience due to increased latency rates include:

  • Overlapping of voices as a result of speakers accidentally talking at the same time
  • Speakers unintentionally interrupting each other
  • Voice echoing, making it difficult to understand the voice of the speaker and what he/she wants to convey
  • Out-of-order interactions, means the recipient receives the voice of the speaker in broken parts. Like getting the last sentence first before the starting one, or hearing only some part of the conversation, which makes no sense. 
  • Internet connectivity issue or slow internet
  • Frozen video calls
  • In video calls, the audio is not matching with the video stream
  • Fully disrupted conference calls with 3 or more participants
  • Delayed or dropped calls
  • Very slow upload or download speeds
  • No real-time communication
  • Static, choppy, and beyond the understanding audio

Possible Causes of Increased latency and Ways to Fix Them

Some of the possible reasons behind increased latency in the virtual phone system and the ways to troubleshoot them include:

  • Extreme Distance Between the Servers: Sometimes the issue of latency can occur due to a huge distance between the servers (server making the request and the other one that responds to it). So, to achieve low latency levels, make sure that your VoIP service provider offers various national as well as international server locations and IP addresses. 
  • No Proper Bandwidth: Insufficient bandwidth is another key reason behind the increased latency levels. Bandwidth is simply the amount of data that an Internet connection can transmit over a predefined time. To fix this issue, make certain to upgrade your bandwidth based on the number of concurrent calls your business makes.
  • Using Outdated Hardware System: If you are still using an outdated hardware system, you are more likely to face the issue of increased latency levels. To prevent this issue, make sure to upgrade your hardware system like VoIP routers that are exclusively designed for virtual phone systems. Also keep a check over the quality of modems, cables, and wires. Also, replace your microphones or headphones if they are not in good condition. 
  • Slow Internet Connection:  Issues with an internet connection can also lead to increased latency. Therefore make sure to check your network connection to see whether all the Ethernet cords are plugged in completely and correctly. 

Conclusion:

To perform well in the VoIP field, businesses must keep a check on their latency levels. They must employ all the effective measures that can help to keep the latency level in control. This will help in creating a huge base of satisfied customers, which ultimately results in increased business.

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