Troubleshooting the Most Common Small Business VoIP Issues (part 1)

VoIP phone service is a marvel of modern technology that allows small businesses to enjoy a wide scope of features and connectivity that only large companies could once afford. That said, VoIP is not a “perfect” technology (if there ever was such a thing), and sometimes things go wrong. Fortunately, most of these problems are fairly easy to troubleshoot and fix on your own. Let’s take a look at some of the most common VoIP issues faced by Orange County small businesses and discuss some steps to address them.

Choppy Voice

Choppy, stuttering audio (or audio that cuts in and out) is one of the most frequent complaints of VoIP users—and the vast majority of the time, it’s a bandwidth issue. Bandwidth is not about Internet speed, but about the amount of data transfer that your Internet service can support at one time. You only have so much bandwidth to go around, and if too many devices or applications are eating up bandwidth, there’s not enough left for your phone call—and thus, “choppy voice.”

Here’s what you can do to troubleshoot this problem. Any/all should improve your bandwidth:

  • Turn off other computers and devices that may be using the network to free up bandwidth.
  • Close any high-bandwidth applications you have running on the network, especially streaming services (e.g., Spotify, Netflix).
  • Check your router configuration, ensuring your Quality of Service (QoS) is set to prioritize VoIP traffic.
  • If none of the above fix the problem, test your bandwidth speed using a free service like Speakeasy. If the download and upload speeds are consistently below what your Internet service provider (ISP) promises, it may be time to give them a call.
  • To reduce incidents of voice chopping for the long term, consider increasing your bandwidth. Contact your ISP to discuss options.

Audio Echoes/Delays

This VoIP issue occurs when you hear your own voice or the other caller’s voice echoed in the audio, or when there is a noticeable delay between when the caller speaks and when you hear them (e.g., during a video call). These delays and echoes are commonly caused by some sort of interference (acoustic or electromagnetic), and sometimes by faulty audio devices like failing headsets.

Take these steps to troubleshoot this problem:

  • Try covering the phone’s mouthpiece to see if it stops the echo. If it does, it means your phone speaker is too loud and is feeding back into the mic (acoustic interference.) Turn down your phone/headset volume.
  • To reduce electromagnetic interference, try creating more space between your router, computer, power strip, and phone. If this doesn’t solve the problem, try disconnecting any separate splitters or caller ID devices, as these may also cause interference.
  • If you’re using a headset, try switching to the handset. If the echo disappears, the problem is the headset.
  • If none of these steps work, you may need to replace one or more pieces of older or outdated equipment. Contact your IT professional for help.

If you run into VoIP issues you can’t seem to solve, NetServ’s team of professionals can provide remote and on-site tech support to help provide long-term solutions. To learn more, call 1-877-NetServ.