Packet Loss and How to Fix It | VoIP Phone Systems

Samir Sampat

Modern VoIP phone systems allow you to make phone calls over an Internet connection instead of a traditional telephone line. This is utilizing technology to offer better communication solutions, but there are still some bumps that you may encounter along the way. Monitoring and performance are critical to your business, especially when it comes to something like packet loss on your VoIP calls and video conferences. 

While packet loss during Internet browsing or using WiFi can be frustrating, nothing is worse than having data packets garbled, lost, or mis-delivered during a VoIP call. The loss of data packets or delayed arrival can result in things like:

To understand how packet loss happens and why it’s so detrimental to your communications, you first have to get a better idea of how VoIP and data packets work. 

What are packets? 

Packets refer to data packets or collections of information that are transmitted across the Internet lines and delivered as VoIP audio or video on the receiving end. Packets are also sent from the receiving end to the caller, creating a two-way connection. In an ideal world, packets would be delivered at the same time and there wouldn’t be issues with latency, packet loss, or irregular delivery. 

However, we don’t live in a perfect world. Even the much-improved VoIP phone system that offers a higher-quality solution than a standard business telephone still has its faults and struggles. Fortunately, when you know what you’re dealing with, you can figure out how to resolve it and even reduce the occurrences in the future. 

Such is the case with the loss of data packets during a VoIP audio or video call. Let’s talk more about what packet loss is and why it happens. 

What is packet loss?

Packet loss refers to whenever packets get lost in transit, or even when they are delayed in arrival, resulting in poor call quality issues on your VoIP software. There are many different causes of packet loss. Most of them are unplanned and unintentional. However, as a business owner, you have to be prepared for anything that could occur. 

  • Network congestion: This is the #1 cause of packet loss for VoIP calls, as well as all other data transfers. If you imagine the network like a freeway and the packets as vehicles, when traffic is high, congestion happens. Packets are slowed down, blocked into single lanes, and so forth. 
  • Network hardware: If your hardware is not up to par, you’ll also struggle with packet loss and connectivity. Firewalls, network switches, modems, routers, and computers (or tablets and smartphones) all need to be up to date and have the best VoIP capabilities to deliver premium call quality and reduce packet loss. 
  • Loss of bandwidth: If there is trouble with the network outside of congestion, you could also lose bandwidth. For example, if there is a storm and it causes a partial outage, more people could be competing for the use of fewer data lines. This could cause you to experience packet loss, latency, and other issues in your calls. 
  • Not enough speed: If you are running a modern VoIP system on older hardware or software platforms, you could be losing speed that could help improve packet delivery. Speed is critical to the success of VoIP calls and if you don’t have enough, you need to upgrade to an appropriate business-class Internet plan that will fit your needs. 

These are just a few of the most common issues that cause packet loss. You may also be facing software bugs or security threats, so be sure to run your system through all the paces and cover the bases to ensure that you’ve gotten to the exact root of the issue. 

How can you fix the problem?

Once you know what’s wrong, you will be able to proceed with finding the right solution. If you find that you’re lacking speed or bandwidth that causes ongoing congestion and packet loss issues, you may need to upgrade to a better Internet plan that has more bandwidth and speed. If your hardware is outdated, you may need to upgrade to ensure that you’re getting the fastest speeds possible and using devices that are compatible with your VoIP service.

What if you just have too many connections running through your VoIP network? It might be time to call in an IT professional and reduce the number of access points and touchpoints along the way. The shortest and most effective distance between two points in VoIP is a straight line, so the fewer twists, turns, routes, and address changes, the better. Ultimately, you should be able to figure out what’s going on so that you can reduce packet loss and latency. If you do it right, you’ll have a proactive solution in place so that there are fewer issues with packet loss in the future, too. It’s all about knowing how to make the most of your VoIP network. 

Skip the troubleshooting and let Smith.ai field the calls instead

If you’re tired of dealing with communication issues, maybe it’s time to hand them off to a team of professionals. When you partner with Smith.ai, you’ll have the assistance of a 24/7 answering service, as well as a team that can handle things like lead screening and intake, appointment scheduling, and even live website chat

Stuck on resources for generating leads in the first place? Ask how we can assist with outreach campaigns and what our outbound sales and support teams can do to help you grow your business for less than you’d spend on separate marketing services. Plus, we’ll do it all your way, keeping you informed and making sure that your business never misses a beat. 

To learn more, schedule a consultation to discuss what the 24/7 virtual receptionists at Smith.ai can do for your communications and other needs. You can also reach out to 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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