Over a while, VoIP has become a widely popular term. It has become commonplace in today’s businesses. VoIP or Voice over Internet Protocol offers several benefits over legacy telephony systems. However, there is one drawback of using VoIP services. Unlike the traditional PSTN lines, VoIP uses the Internet to transmit data. A poor or unstable internet connection may lead to the issue of VoIP jitters. In the end, the quality of VoIP services depends on the quality of internet connection between the two parties.
Understanding of jitters in VoIP
VoIP is all about transmitting Ethernet packets from one destination to another. To assure superior quality of VoIP calls, the packets must arrive in the same order as they were left. Any damage or misplacement of packets during the transit may cause distraction, and both parties will not be able to communicate comfortably. VoIP jitter is something that can seriously affect VoIP traffic quality.
Jitter can be defined as a variation in the delay of received data packets. To put it simply, VoIP sends information via the internet. As the voice data is divided and separated into individual packets, the information may not reach the recipient in the same order as it was spoken. It may be possible that certain data packets reach the recipient earlier than other packets. This happens mainly due to network congestion or interference issues. Since VoIP completely depends on the quality of the user’s internet connection, if the connection is poor, it can cause the issue of VoIP jitters or even loss of data.
Hence, the issue of jitters occurs when the certain packets of information are:
- Sent out of order
The result is jumbled or hard-to-understand conversation. Jitter is usually measured in milliseconds of delay. If the jitter takes place beyond 40 or 50ms delay, the call’s quality will be greatly reduced.
What causes jitter?
Let’s know about the key reasons behind the occurrence of VoIP jitters:
- Network congestion: The most common cause of jitter is network congestion. If you don’t have the correct bandwidth to support concurrent voice and data traffic, the chances are high that there will be a delay or drop of voice packets. Also, when too many devices are linked to the same network, it is overcrowded. If all the connected devices are being used simultaneously, the users will run out of bandwidth and may face the issue of a slow internet connection. It ultimately affects the quality of VoIP calls.
- Wireless networks (WiFi): Although a wire-free network allows mobility and prevents installing cables throughout the office, it may degrade network connection. A typical WiFi connection can handle up to 50 concurrent devices, each WiFi link sharing the access point’s bandwidth to the network. Even if a small number of users are connected to an access point via their WiFi devices, most will experience a degraded network connection, especially when it is a 100MB connection. A typical WiFi connection can handle up to 50 concurrent devices, each WiFi link sharing the access point’s bandwidth to the network. Thus, WiFi may work well for mobile devices, but it may not be powerful enough to assure superior quality phone calls without any disruption.
- Bad hardware: A typical internet network is made of a couple of different pieces of hardware, including a modem and a router. If a piece of equipment fails to support VoIP or gets damaged for some reason, VoIP call quality will suffer. For instance, an outdated modem, a misconfigured router, or a damaged Ethernet cable are considered bad hardware that can lead to poor VoIP call quality.
- Poor configuration: It is important to note that VoIP needs configuration at all levels from the Core to Access layers for efficient working. Also, at a switch port level to support the VoIP VPNs. Even the network needs careful design to support QoS. Any configuration errors may affect the quality of VoIP calls and result in poor performance.
Ways to reduce VoIP jitter
Here are some of the key ways to reduce VoIP jitters and improve VoIP call quality:
- Update hardware: An internal network usually consists of various physical hardware components like physical network cables and lines, physical firewalls, analogue to digital converters, modems, switches, session border controllers, etc. Using any outdated hardware can limit the performance of phone calls. Thus make sure to check whether all the connected equipment is working properly or not. They must also have up-to-date software to support the VoIP protocols. Also, the physical firewalls or session border controllers must be configured properly to avoid limiting the rate at which data flows.
- Check QoS and other settings: QoS or Quality of Service settings are usually included in routers and sometimes in firewalls and other network components. Using QoS prioritization, VoIP data packets can be given superior treatment within a network. Therefore, if using QoS, make sure to configure it appropriately based on the specific requirements of your business and use case. Also, beware of codecs. Some VoIP services use them to convert the data from and into voices. Some codecs may increase latency or place limitations on VoIP calls. If congestion happens, it will affect the other data before slowing down the voice packets.
- Use sufficient bandwidth: The key reason behind the occurrence of VoIP jitters can be insufficient bandwidth. Modern internet speeds are improving day by day with new protocols such as 5G. Without sufficient bandwidth and required upload and download speeds, a business may certainly run into issues. Therefore, make sure to have sufficient bandwidth with the capability to handle all the usual operations as well as potential peak operational loads.
VoIP Jitters can indeed lead to an unstable VoIP environment. However, if detected on time, these can be removed easily. Just make sure to plan and take proper precautions to avoid simple issues like jitters in VoIP.