Call Latency: How to Test and Fix It | VoIP Phone Systems

Samir Sampat

For all its advantages, VoIP also has occasional glitches and issues that need to be resolved. Latency is a part of communication—it’s the amount of time that it takes for the audio to travel from the source to the output device, but it’s usually a matter of milliseconds so that it goes unnoticed. In some cases, latency can increase to a noticeable amount because of various network or connectivity issues. This can impact your call quality and the professionalism that you convey, so you want to avoid it at all costs. 

One seemingly small issue can impact call quality, create a bad impression among your customers, and create a lot of miscommunications that can lead to problems down the road. The list goes on—it’s important to address issues right away with your VoIP system to ensure that you don’t lose business or damage your reputation. If you suspect that you’ve got an issue with call latency that isn’t the result of something like a service outage in your area or a known connectivity problem that is temporary, you need to know how to test it out and resolve the issue. In this guide, we’ll explain everything that you need to know. 

How VoIP works

In order to understand latency, you have to understand how a VoIP call is completed. When the phone application is accessed and dialed, packets of data are sent across the Internet lines, signaling the phone on the receiving end to ring. During the call, audio conversations are also transmitted as packets of data. On a solid network with strong bandwidth, these packets will arrive simultaneously so that there is no delay, no audio loss, or anything else that could affect call quality. 

It's when these packets arrive at different times, get lost, or simply get clogged in the data lines that problems arise. Unfortunately, because of bandwidth and connectivity issues, that happens a lot more frequently than some people realize. If it happens with too long of a duration, that’s when you need to be concerned. To help you find the right solution, let’s talk about figuring out the cause of your latency issues in the first place. 

What’s causing the delay?

Your VoIP provider might have its own testing tools that you can use to check your connectivity, network connection, and other elements. There are also third-party testing tools like the collection from DNS Stuff that you can use to check your network, and you can even do manual ping tests and IP tests to check things out if you’ve got the tech skills. 

If you don’t resolve latency issues, they can create choppy conversations, echoes on one or both ends, and more. It can even cause the two callers to accidentally interrupt or speak over each other without realizing it. There are several different issues that can happen when your calls have a longer delay between when you speak and when the caller hears your voice. 

Usually, most of the issues related to call latency on the VoIP network involve the connection of the hardware or the network connection itself. Therefore, your solutions will generally involve upgrading or improving these elements. 

How to fix (and prevent) call latency

Depending on the cause of latency on your VoIP calls, you’ll have a few different options for solutions. Potential fixes for your latency issues include:

  • Make sure that you have a quality ISP and sufficient bandwidth. If you need more bandwidth to manage your VoIP network, be sure to get it as soon as possible. Consider Business Class Internet if you’re going to be using VoIP systems for your business phones. Don’t cheap out on speeds, either, because that can make all the difference. 
  • Upgrade or replace any networking devices or software that may be outdated. In many cases, the reason that latency exists is that people are trying to get too much out of outdated equipment or just not up to the capabilities that they need. Make sure that you have the latest and most efficient equipment.
  • Re-route your network or make sure that your routing is as efficient as possible. If your routing has a lot of stops along the journey, data packets are more likely to be delayed, or even lost in transit entirely. Fortunately, you can change your routing to improve connectivity. If you’re not IT-savvy, call in the pros. It’ll be an investment well-made. 
  • Use online latency testing tools. These will allow you to replicate call flow, quantify latency, and then measure delays, identify the issues, and improve your calls all around. They’re free to use and you can find tons of them in addition to the one we linked above, offering free assistance to identify issues and their best solutions to help you improve latency. 

There are a lot of possible solutions here, which are based on all the potential issues that you could be facing. Fortunately, if you take the time to see what’s going on, you can usually figure it out pretty quickly. And, if you don’t want to deal with it at all, you could just call your ISP or VoIP provider and have them troubleshoot the issue for you. Got an IT team in-house? They’re useful for this kind of stuff, too. 

Experience fewer communication issues when you partner with Smith.ai 

There is one surefire way that you can reduce communication issues—let someone else handle the majority of the communication. When you partner with Smith.ai, you’ll get access to a 24/7 answering service that will always take the calls on your behalf, as well as assist with appointment scheduling, lead intake, and even your live website chat and other needs. 

If you’re still working on lead generation in the first place, ask how our outbound sales support and outreach campaigns can give you the assistance you need to grow your business in a whole new way. And, as always, we’ll do it all with a custom strategy to ensure that we handle all the details, no matter what those might be. 

To learn more, schedule a consultation to discuss what the 24/7 virtual receptionists at Smith.ai can do for your business communications. You can also reach us at hello@smith.ai or (650) 727-6484. 

Samir Sampat

Samir Sampat is a Marketing and Events Associate with Smith.ai. He has experience working with businesses of all sizes focusing on marketing, communications, and business development.

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