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What is VoIP QoS and How to Set it Up?

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Are you noticing more dropped calls or jumbled audio during your business VoIP calls? While cloud phone services can be much superior to traditional phone services, they cannot guarantee high-quality phone service at all times. This is because many factors influence the quality of a VoIP call. Here we discuss the importance of VoIP QoS and how to set it up.

VoIP QoS: Definition, How it Works, Best Practices

VoIP Quality of Service (QoS) is the process of addressing and fixing voice quality issues so your employees can effectively communicate with business contacts. This process is crucial to understanding how your business phone system works and what you need to do to improve it. QoS is one such way to maintain good call quality.

What is VoIP Quality of Service (QoS)?

VoIP QoS prioritizes network traffic passing through a router to provide acceptable-to-good service to users. Quality of service, therefore, helps address voice quality issues within a virtual phone system.

In a VoIP phone system, voice protocols are converted into data packets and transferred between two or more users. However, in order to obtain high call quality, these data packets need to arrive at the destination together and in the right order. And that’s where VoIP QoS comes into play as it sorts out traffic by dedicating resources where needed.

Is QoS needed for VoIP?

VoIP calls can be prone to jitter, latency, and packet loss issues which lead to bad audio quality, network congestion, missed or jumbled audio, dropped calls, etc. And for any business, this is a major issue because it interferes with your teams’ ability to offer uninterrupted service. Important business communications revolve around:

  • Sales calls and demos
  • Client and lead generation
  • Customer success and customer support
  • Technical and IT support
  • Remote team management
  • Internal business meetings
  • Meetings with clients and business contacts
  • Employee interviews

Network congestion can easily affect the quality of these calls, which in turn, leads to misunderstandings, frustration, low brand trust, low productivity, and more. Without QoS, VoIP calls are not functioning optimally. And that must be addressed.

Troubleshooting VoIP Call Quality with QoS

So, what does QoS do for VoIP phone systems? Routers generally handle data packets via a ‘first in, first out’ order. And all traffic is given the same level of priority. This means that all traffic from every device (phones, computers, mobile phones, etc) on a network get the same level of priority.

When bandwidth usage is high — too many people using the internet — these data packets can end up in long queues. Call quality competes with other applications running on the network. This is true for employees working within an office or remotely.

So, naturally, this affects voice call quality and successful VoIP deployment.

VoIP Quality of Service helps balance out how much bandwidth is needed for a certain type of traffic or certain devices. In other words, it spreads out the available bandwidth across devices and applications to ensure the right traffic gets through hassle-free.

VoIP QoS Settings & Requirements

So, what does your business need to do to ensure high call quality? Here, we will go through QoS settings and requirements to be aware of and best practices your business can implement.

VoIP Standards for High Call Quality: QoS Requirement

In order to improve VoIP call quality, you will need to set up QoS accurately. For good VoIP call quality, Cisco suggests these VoIP standards:

VoIP Quality of Service Standards

Understanding QoS Settings

Your business needs to troubleshoot VoIP issues to ensure optimal service. Let’s take a closer look at what these recommendations and settings mean.

DSCP EF
DSCP is short for Differentiated Services Code Point and EF is short for Expedited Forwarding. This model is designed to provide resources to reduce latency (delay) in traffic. In other words, this value sorts through traffic to prioritize VoIP traffic, leading to better, less interrupted call quality.

Packet Loss
Packet loss is the number of packets that get lost during transmission. More than 3% packet loss means low audio quality. Faulty routers, loose cables, and wires, low bandwidth, or poor WiFi signals can lead to packet loss.

Latency
Latency is the delay between the time the speaker speaks and the receiver hears them. Fix latency to avoid users speaking over each other or missing important pieces of audio.

Jitter
Jitter refers to a data packet arriving after the rest of the packet. Data packets may take different paths to reach the destination. This way one or two packets may reach later than the others and this can cause missed calls or jumbled audio. Fix jitter to ensure all packets arrive accurately and voice quality is maintained.

Bandwidth
Bandwidth for VoIP refers to the rate at which data is transmitted or transferred through an internet connection. Lower bandwidth leads to slow speed and low VoIP call quality.

How to Set Up QoS for VoIP?

The first step to setting up VoIP QoS for your business phone system is to reach out to your internet provider and VoIP service provider. These sources can provide exact guides on how to prioritize voice traffic.

Next, implement those suggestions and other call quality best practices. Work with your IT team to make sure everything is set in place for optimal call quality. You may even educate your employees on using other services (streaming services) while working.

VoIP Call Quality Best Practices

Here are the top VoIP call quality best practices to ensure your phone system works efficiently and calls are not interrupted:

1. Check and upgrade your internet speed: Make sure your network has enough bandwidth to handle call traffic. Regularly test your internet speed.

2. Upgrade cable connections: Use wired Ethernet connections such as a Category 6 certified cable. These cables can offer low latency and can support high levels of phone communication and data transfer.

3. Check network and equipment configuration: Network and equipment that are not appropriately configured can lead to disruptions and low call quality.

4. Test network connections regularly: Check ping, jitter, latency, and bandwidth regularly for network congestion.

5. Upgrade your VoIP provider: If your service is still affected despite troubleshooting, then it may be time to find a new phone service provider. Research providers to understand what services they offer and how they can help with VoIP call quality issues.

Get VoIP for Business With United World Telecom

United World Telecom offers VoIP phone numbers and services to businesses around the world. Whether you are a small business looking to expand or are a remote company, we can help you create a robust phone system with high voice quality and reliability. Call us today to learn more about our solutions!

9 Ways to Minimize VoIP System Downtime

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One of the top benefits of using VoIP for business communication is that these systems are reliable. With proper redundancy, you can ensure that if your phone system incurs an issue in one location, calls can be routed to another location or line. This way, you can ensure business continuity and minimize VoIP system downtime.

Here we will look at the different ways you can minimize phone system downtime to ensure your business continues operating even during an internet outage or disaster.

How to Minimize VoIP Downtime During an Internet Outage?

VoIP phone systems have consistently proven to be more reliable than POTS lines. However, since VoIP systems work over the internet, they still run the risk of downtime if somehow your system loses connection to the internet.

Keeping Your VoIP Phone System Running Efficiently

With VoIP systems, you can set up backups so your business communication does not suffer during an outage. Service outages do not have to disrupt your business phone calls. You can either wait it out and hope it restores on its own, or you can prepare in advance to minimize downtime. Here are some ways to minimize and prevent phone system downtime:

To Prepare and Prevent Before an Outage

  • Choose the Right VoIP Provider
  • Set Up Automatic Call Forwarding and Routing
  • Invest in VoIP Monitoring Services
  • Route Incoming Calls to Other Locations
  • Have a Backup ISP

To Do After an Outage

  • Check and Confirm the Power Outage
  • Connect to a Backup Battery Power Supply
  • Use VoIP on Your Smartphone
  • Divert Calls to Voicemail or Other Locations

How to Prevent and Minimize Phone System Downtime

So, what can you do to minimize VoIP system downtime and keep your VoIP phone system running during an outage or disaster?

1. Choose the Right VoIP Provider

It is crucial that you choose a VoIP phone provider that meets your needs but also promises reliability. Research a provider’s record for reliability and the options they offer in case of an outage. Ask your provider what steps they have in place to prevent and minimize phone system downtime, especially during an outage or disaster. Ask about their security policies. You also want to check where your provider hosts your VoIP systems in safe locations.

2. Set Up Automatic Call Forwarding and Failover Routing

A popular way to minimize VoIP system downtime is to forward incoming calls to different locations or devices when your main VoIP phone system is unavailable. This way, during an outage or disaster, incoming calls automatically route to offices and employees in other locations or mobile devices.

With United World Telecom’s VoIP service, you can set up call forwarding with various failover rules for each number or line you have.

3. Invest in VoIP Monitoring Services

It is also a good idea to use a third-party VoIP monitoring service. This service keeps tabs on the status of your VoIP phone system. It will look for and identify potential network problems that may cause disruption. By monitoring your system and alerting users of issues, you can quickly troubleshoot any issues and get back to work.

How to minimize VoIP downtime.

4. Route Incoming Calls to Other Locations

When you use simultaneous ringing or sequential call forwarding features, you can forward calls to different locations when needed. With simultaneous ringing, you can ring multiple phones with one number. And with sequential forwarding, you can ring calls down a predetermined list of numbers — when the first line is busy, the call automatically moves to the next person in line. This way, when your main office or service center is not available, calls are routed and rung on other lines in different locations. This is another good technique to reduce VoIP system downtime.

5. Have a Backup ISP

To protect from internet outages, it is also recommended to have a backup WAN provider. Since VoIP services only need a low-latency connection, any broadband connection should work. You can find a high-speed wireless provider as a backup, or use 4G LTE technology from a cellular provider.

How to Minimize VoIP System Downtime After an Outage

While there are ways to prepare for an outage, and even prevent one, certain situations may be out of your control. So, what can you do to recover from an outage and get your communications up and running?

6. Check and Confirm the Power Outage

First, check to make sure you have a power or internet outage in all rooms and among all devices. Check the electric service panel, if you have a circuit trip, flip the circuit breaker to ON and everything should be working again. You may even check what the electric and internet situation is with neighbors and look for updates on local outages.

7. Connect to a Backup Battery Power Supply

Connecting to a backup battery source is a temporary solution but gives you enough time to identify the issue and resolve it. You can use an uninterruptible power supply (USP) and connect your WiFi system and phone system to it to restore connectivity and power. Note that this solution only works if your ISP is not affected by the power outage.

8. Divert Calls to Voicemail or Other Locations

Using your smartphone, access your VoIP provider’s control panel, and adjust call forwarding settings. You might choose to route calls to your voicemail box or to employees in other locations. You can add in multiple numbers and SIP devices that these calls will forward to. This way, callers trying to reach your business can still get the assistance they need. You may even choose to add a new greeting or pre-recorded message letting customers know that your phone system is down but they can leave a voicemail message, and your reps will get in touch with them as soon as possible.

9. Use VoIP on Your Smartphone

Lastly, if your power or internet outage does not affect the use of your smartphone, you can use your VoIP phone service through the smartphone as a temporary solution. For example, you can download our softphone app on your smartphone and make and receive business calls with your business phone number(s). With our softphone, you can:

  • Update customer and contact information
  • Transfer calls to other users
  • Make outbound calls with dynamic caller IDs
  • Access voicemails, and more

Do You Have a Backup Plan in Place?

The best way to minimize VoIP system downtime is to prepare for it. The above are some ways you prevent loss of data and usage by setting up backups in place. Want to learn more about how our VoIP phone service is a reliable solution? Call us today and chat with our representatives!

Top Business VoIP Trends to Know in 2021

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Technology continues to advance over time with new and improved options available to users of all kinds. And for businesses, this is always exciting because there are new ways to improve customer experience (CX) and scale vertically. One of these technologies that impact businesses the most is business VoIP.

Future of Cloud Communications: 2021 VoIP Trends

VoIP, a type of cloud communications, makes it easy for users to communicate through the internet securely and reliably. And VoIP providers are developing new ways to increase their offerings and provide businesses with a well-rounded phone system.

So, what’s new in VoIP? Quite a lot: from leveraging AI to UCaaS and CCaaS to 5G networks. If your business is trying to catch up, you may want to consider an upgrade to your phone system to help improve CX and customer satisfaction.

Here are the top 9 business VoIP trends in 2021.

1. Unified Communications as a Service

One of the top business VoIP trends in 2021 includes bringing all communication and collaboration needs into one platform. This becomes crucial for businesses with multiple offices and locations around the world and for those with remote workers. Unified communications (UC) and cloud communication tools improve a business’ ability to be flexible and mobile and scale as needed. With collaborative features and real-time updates, your teams can stay organized and productive, no matter the location.

2. Mobile Unified Communications

Besides working within your business phone system, UC services are also being extended to mobile. The rise of mobile UC means you can transform your mobile or smartphone into a business powerhouse. You can use this device then to conduct both personal and business interactions and give your business more mobility. Mobile VoIP systems give you access to smartphone and PC apps, which increase productivity on the go.

Related: UC Trends You Need to Know in 2021

3. Advanced Video Conferencing Services

Since the COVID-19 pandemic led to many businesses switching to work-from-home or remote work capabilities, video conferencing became crucial for the proper functioning of many businesses. Video conferencing tools were in high demand and that competition was troublesome for VoIP service providers. This led to one of the newest VoIP trends: video conferencing. VoIP providers are upping their game and now offering multi-channel communication services, including video conferencing. They do this through integrations and partnerships with video conferencing services. And while this is the current solution, evolving technology will open doors for advanced VoIP software with more conferencing and collaborative capabilities to make doing business over the cloud easier and more user-friendly.

4. Customizable Features

Each business is unique and follows specific processes and guidelines that work best for the business and its employees. The same goes for your business phone system. Cloud communication is known greatly for its customization capabilities. Need to upgrade your system, add new lines without interrupting service, or integrate with other services? Cloud communications and VoIP systems can help you create a business phone system that works best for your business needs. Customize your system for the number and type of users you have, where they are located, different departments, and so on.

VoIP trends to watch in 2021.

5. Seamless Integrations

VoIP integrations can help you expand your VoIP phone system’s capabilities. You can connect your office calendar, CRM, content management systems, lead generation platforms, video conferencing services, chatbot automation, and more. Most popular integrations that work well with cloud communication platforms include:

  • Salesforce
  • HubSpot
  • Azure
  • OneLogin
  • Zapier
  • Clio

6. Leveraging AI

As seen in recent years, the use of AI within business has increased. This goes for the business VoIP world too. From handling customers to automating responses and ticketing systems, AI has been used to improve customer experience and satisfaction. Most companies are using AI to automate their websites and communication platforms to streamline services and improve engagement. This VoIP trend will continue in the coming years as AI has exceptional potential. Common uses of AI for VoIP include:

7. Security Issues

For the longest time, users considering VoIP were concerned about internet security and cyberattacks. But VoIP and internet services have come a long way and can provide secure avenues for their services. Business communication involves customer and company data and privacy which needs to be kept safe from intruders and hackers. VoIP security ensures that your business can communicate safely with its customers and employees. Learn more about how VoIP tackles security concerns in our guide to VoIP security.

8. 5G

In our fast-paced world, we expect quick response times and processes. And businesses need to meet these expectations when dealing with customers. 5G networks — one of the most anticipated VoIP trends — are here to solve this very issue and to improve VoIP call quality. With 5G, your business can:

5G networks are built to improve customer satisfaction and CX by making your business more available and responsive.

9. VoIP in More Places

More and more businesses are switching to VoIP to improve their communication and customer outreach. From schools to small businesses to large enterprises, every type of business can benefit from VoIP services. This makes business VoIP more present in more places around the world.

Need a VoIP Upgrade?

Want to learn about United World Telecom’s VoIP number solutions and how we can help your business improve internal and external communication? Call us at 1 (877) 898 8646 or chat with our experts today!

What is SIP Calling?

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Communicating effectively with customers is crucial to the successful running of any business. It is through your customers that you can improve your product and increase sales. And so, if your business isn’t doing everything it can to make it easy for customers to connect with you, then you are falling behind. Learn what SIP calling is, how it works, and how businesses can benefit from using a SIP phone system for business communication.

SIP Calling: The What, How, & Why

To understand SIP calling (or SIP trunking), you must first be familiar with Session Initiation Protocol (SIP). SIP is a signaling protocol that initiates real-time voice calling between two or more parties. This IP is in charge of starting, maintaining, and terminating the call over an internet network. By doing so, SIP technology makes it possible for users to make and receive high-quality calls over a virtual network. Let’s look at how SIP calling works and how businesses can use SIP for improved communication.

What are SIP Calls?

SIP calls use Session Initiation Protocol to transmit voice calls over a SIP trunk or SIP channels. In other words, SIP calls are voice calls sent over an internet protocol or internet connection.

Often used interchangeably with voice over IP or VoIP calls, the two systems are different. VoIP makes SIP calls possible. This is because SIP uses VoIP technology to transfer calls from one end to another destination over a stable internet connection.

How Does a SIP Call Work?

Traditional phone systems consist of a PBX system and phone lines connecting to a PSTN.

SIP technology removes the need for a traditional, physical connection. With SIP, you do not need to be connected to a phone company or geographical location. And, you do not need multiple phone lines for different departments. You will get a SIP trunk, instead, to run your virtual phone system. You can then establish voice communications virtually via the internet.

And what’s the end result? You can get a virtual phone system with call management and call routing features (global call forwarding, outbound calling, etc.) without physical or multiple phone lines. This system can be used from any location, connecting multiple devices.

Why Does Your Business Need SIP Calling? 5 Benefits of SIP Calls

So, how can SIP calling benefit your business? From being a cost-effective alternative to creating a unified communications platform, SIP trunking can help businesses organize their internal and external communications to connect better and increase productivity and efficiency. Let’s look at the top benefits of SIP calling for business:

1. Save on Business Calling Costs
First and foremost, the cost of SIP calling is highly affordable for businesses needing multiple phone lines and with various departments. Not only can you make and receive high-quality voice calls inexpensively, but you can also bypass international calling rates when offering global customer support.

2. Scale Up or Down as Needed
SIP trunks are designed to support a business’ scalability needs. This means that if you need to scale up and add more direct inward or outward dial numbers, you can do so easily. And the same goes for scaling down; that is, removing lines or pausing certain services and features. And most of these actions can be done by you, reducing the number of times you will panic-call your SIP provider.

3. Improve Communications with Better User Experience
SIP trunks, and SIP technology generally, are easy to use. You do not need to employ new IT teams or conduct rigorous training or worry about setting up complicated software. You and your employees can simply manage everything from a user interface provided by your SIP provider. Use this interface or control panel to set up features and service, make changes or adjustments, add lines, and more.

4. Experience High-Quality Voice Calls
When using SIP, your business no longer relies on physical landlines. This means that your communication system does not easily fall apart due to power outages or weather conditions. SIP calling utilizes redundancy to automatically reroute calls from one location to another if the previous location’s user is unavailable or inactive. This is a reliable way to make and receive high-quality business calls.

5. Offer Excellent Customer Service
Never miss calls by routing them to different locations, in case the first is unavailable. Reduce the number of dropped calls or low-quality calls. All of these factors come together to help your business offer excellent and uninterrupted customer service to not only local but global customers as well.

Get SIP Calling with United World Telecom

With a SIP phone system in place, your business is gearing up to communicate with your customers conveniently and cost-effectively. Learn more about how SIP trunking can boost business communication by chatting with our experts or calling us at 1 (877) 898 8646.

What Is SIP ALG and Why VoIP Users Should Disable It

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In this post, we discuss what SIP ALG is and how it can affect the quality of your VoIP phone calls. Disable SIP ALG to improve VoIP call quality and ensure there are fewer interruptions.

What is SIP ALG?

Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) is an internet protocol with voice data packets that initiates, maintains, and terminates voice communication between two users. SIP is used for voice calling over LTE and VoIP phone systems.

Routers used to connect to the internet also segment the provider and your internal network through Network Address Translation (NAT). This is to add an additional layer of security through a firewall allowing only authorized systems access as they connect with a network’s computers and devices.

The main purpose of SIP ALG — Application Layer Gateway — is to prevent problems caused by a router’s firewall. ALG prevents these issues by keeping an eye on the VoIP traffic (voice data packets mentioned earlier) and modifying them, when necessary. ALG works as a proxy to rewrite the destination for these packets. By doing this, ALG can improve connectivity.

Why VoIP Users Should Disable SIP ALG

Many routers have the SIP ALG feature turned on by default. With this feature on, VoIP traffic (voice data packets) can get lost due to router firewalls when transferred between the phone and the VoIP provider.

And because of this, it can lead to multiple VoIP problems, including:

  • One-way audio
  • Phones not ringing on incoming calls
  • Calls sent directly to voicemail, especially when not set to do so
  • Dropped calls, even after connecting

This is why one of the best ways to improve VoIP call quality, among others, is to disable the SIP ALG feature.

How to Disable SIP ALG in your VoIP System

Disabling SIP ALG is quick and easy, and depends on the type of modem your business uses. For most routers, you will need to:

  • Log into your router’s control panel.
  • Navigate to Advanced or Security settings.
  • Locate SIP, ALG, or Firewall settings (depends on your router’s set-up).
  • Uncheck the SIP or ALG box.
  • Save and reboot/restart your router.

If your router’s settings are not as clear, you can always reach out to your provider and ask for specific instructions.

Protect and Maintain VoIP Call Quality

Disabling SIP ALG is a common way of troubleshooting VoIP issues. However, there are other VoIP call quality issues such as jitter, packet loss, and latency that can affect the way your business communicates with its customers. Most of these issues stem from low-quality internet or insufficient bandwidth. Speak with our representatives today to learn how your internet bandwidth can affect your VoIP phone system. Call us at 1 (877) 898 8646 or chat with us online today.

Troubleshooting the 7 Most Common VoIP Issues

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Having VoIP problems and don’t know how to solve them? Here we go over troubleshooting for the 7 most challenging VoIP issues.

7 Common VoIP Troubleshooting Problems

VoIP phone systems help businesses save about 50%-75% of communication-related costs. This is because such systems offer flexibility, mobility, and scalability which helps users connect from any location and communicate through advanced technology.

However, even VoIP phone systems — with their advanced features, high voice quality, and more — are not devoid of possible quality issues. Thankfully, most VoIP call quality can be improved without IT help so you can continue communicating effectively.

Here are the most common VoIP issues and a simple guide to troubleshooting them.

1. Inability to Make Calls from a Device

Struggling to make VoIP calls or outbound calls from your device? An inability to make calls can be due to a failure to connect, inadequate internet support, and more. For some businesses — like a call center — not being able to make outbound calls to customers and leads can essentially shut the business down until you find a solution.

Most likely, the cause of this problem is the SIP ALG feature is turned on, on your router. Session Initiation Protocol Application Layer Gateway (SIP ALG) is a common feature in commercial routers and is turned on by default. The main task of a SIP ALG is to reduce or prevent issues resulting from router firewalls. It does so by constantly inspecting your VoIP call traffic. However, SIP ALG may modify packets (voice signals) in unexpected ways, leading to problems such as incoming and outbound calls failing and phones not registering.

Solution: A simple solution for outbound VoIP calls failing would be to turn off the SIP ALG feature. If you still experience the issue, then try repositioning the VoIP devices onto a VLAN.

2. Dropped Calls

One of the most common VoIP problems is dropped calls. This causes a lot of frustration, especially during business calls. This is when the call suddenly ends mid-conversation without the speakers hanging up. Call centers or large enterprises with large call volumes face this issue the most.

Solution: First, ensure all devices, software, and hardware associated with your VoIP phone system are updated and running on the current version. If you are still experiencing the issue, disconnect all devices and turn them back on one at a time. This may be time-consuming but it will help you identify exactly which device is the root cause of the problem. Speak with your small business VoIP provider if you notice that calls get dropped after a certain amount of time. They may have an automatic disconnect feature to ensure calls are not left open by mistake.

3. Jitter

Jitter is one of the most common VoIP problems. Jitter directly affects voice quality and communication, leading to jumbled, muffled, or missing audio. As voice data packets travel from one destination to the next, some packets may arrive before the other. This leads to out-of-order or missing parts. If such voice quality occurs for more than 30 milliseconds then the overall call quality is impacted. As such, when finding a new provider, look for one that can keep the delay under 20 milliseconds.

Solution: Your internet may not have enough bandwidth for VoIP. Upgrade your internet connectivity by contacting your ISP.

4. Echo

This is a pretty straightforward VoIP concern. Telephone echo leads to voices being repeated at various points, leading to confusion and possible miscommunication. Often the recipient of the call hears the echo while the caller may or may not be aware of this VoIP problem. Echo can be a result of either feedback during the conversation or a VoIP phone system issue. As such, it can be troublesome when conducting important business calls such as conference, sales, and support calls.

Solution: First, if your phone is using the speaker option, take the call off the speakerphone. When using a speakerphone, the voice has to travel through multiple microphones and speakers leading to disruption in the audio for the recipient. Additionally, you may even need to test the phone headset you use and consider getting a high-quality replacement. Lastly, echo can be a result of a bad internet connection or inadequate bandwidth. Check your speed with an Internet speed test and also reevaluate your wall jacks, Ethernet cords, and other cables to ensure there are no damages.

5. Broken/Muffled Audio

Broken, muffled, or choppy audio refers to words and audio being dropped, interrupting calls when connected. This is one of the most common VoIP issues users face. Thankfully, it has a solution.

Solution: How you solve the problem of broken audio depends on who is experiencing it. If your business is experiencing the issue, it is most likely due to insufficient bandwidth that leads to packet loss as all voice packets are transferred successfully. A common VoIP troubleshooting solution for this problem is to turn off other applications that take up a lot of network space and are not needed for business. This includes streaming services like YouTube or Netflix and so on. Additionally, make sure your router’s Quality of Service (QOS) settings have the VoIP service on priority.

6. No Sound

Similar to broken audio, a voice call with no sound after connecting can lead to frustration and interruptions in communication. No sound in a voice call can be a one-way issue (where one party hears but others can’t) or a two-way issue (where both parties cannot hear).

Solution: One reason for a lack of sound during calls may be because of firewalls blocking RTP packets. Examining and possibly disabling your SIP ALG can solve this problem.

7. Phone Doesn’t Ring on Incoming Call

This VoIP issue is pretty straightforward: missing calls from important customers and clients because the phone doesn’t ring. Another version of this issue is if your calls are sent directly to voicemail instead of an employee.

Solution: Thankfully, this common VoIP problem has an easy solution. First, ensure your device is registered within your VoIP phone system and VoIP provider. Also, check to make sure your device is not on the Do Not Disturb setting and has the correct call forwarding settings and configurations.

Choosing a Reliable VoIP Provider

Need a new VoIP phone system that comes with high call quality and easy problem-resolution? Finding a reliable VoIP provider for your small business can be tough if you do not know what to look for. United World Telecom has been in the business for over 25 years and we offer top-quality communication services. Try our VoIP phone system solutions! Call us today at 1 (877) 898 8646 or chat with us online!

What is a RespOrg?

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A quick guide to what RespOrgs are, how they work, and how businesses can benefit from using a RespOrg service provider for their toll free numbers.

RespOrg: Definition

A Responsible Organization or RespOrg is a company (usually a telephone company) that is certified to have access to a centralized database of toll free numbers. This centralized database is known as the 800 Service Management System or SMS/800.

How do RespOrgs Work?

RespOrgs are in charge of managing toll free databases, assigning numbers, and keeping records. If you want a toll free number for your business, you will need to contact a RespOrg. For customers, RespOrgs come into play when porting a toll free number. To port a toll free number, a current user will have to change the RespOrg ownership from the old carrier to the new carrier. You will need a Letter of Authorization from your new carrier and your current RespOrg must authorize the release of the number to the new RespOrg or carrier.

A business that has high toll free traffic can take advantage of one of the below choices:

  • Become their own RespOrg
  • Use a single carrier for all of their call volume
  • Use a RespOrg service provider

Port your toll free number to United World Telecom.

How to Become a RespOrg?

RespOrgs can be large or small companies or even run by a solo business owner. Some toll free number carriers or business phone service carriers may also be RespOrgs. Currently, the US has about 400 RespOrgs. To become a RespOrg, a business goes through a certification process.

Technically, any company or organization that uses a toll free number can become a RespOrg. To become a RespOrg, your business will need to do the following:

  1. Complete and submit a ten-page service establishment form
  2. Pay a deposit (avg. $4000)
  3. Pass a certification exam to be certified

Should My Company Become a RespOrg?

While becoming a RespOrg is an easy process, there are a few factors to consider. For example, you will need to factor in the salary of the employee managing the toll free traffic. The cost of being a RespOrg for your business — as opposed to using a RespOrg provider — may entail increased expenses. Plus, if your employee leaves, you will need to train and certify a new employee, which will require additional costs.

Many businesses, therefore, choose to work with a RespOrg service provider to reduce costs. RespOrgs will work with your business and your specific needs to offer you the best pricing. Some benefits of using a RespOrg include:

  • Ability to route calls to different carriers
  • Routing calls at different times of the day
  • Taking advantage of low-cost carriers in different countries
  • Access to Disaster Recovery — in case your toll free carrier is shut down, traffic can be routed to a secondary carrier

A company with high toll free traffic will find it beneficial to utilize a RespOrg service provider instead of becoming their own RespOrg.

Get a Toll Free Number for Your Business Today!

United World Telecom offers toll free business numbers for more than 160 countries around the world. You can get a toll free number to enter new markets and extend sales and customer support services to more customers. We also offer number porting services for businesses that currently have a toll free number but are not satisfied with their service. Sign up on our website today or call us to learn more!

PRI Explained: What is a Primary Rate Interface?

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Choosing a business phone system for your company is a necessary part of creating the perfect communication system. With advancements in technology, there are many different systems available for businesses to choose from. Here we will discuss primary rate interface (PRI) and the advantages and disadvantages of this phone system.

What is PRI?

A primary rate interface or PRI is a communication system that is provider-free. This system allows businesses (users) to send and receive voice, data, and video files through a copper wire network. PRI systems or lines constitute two pairs of copper wires. This feature of primary rate interface networks provides secure data transmission. You can get two types of PRI systems:

  • Basic rate interface solutions (BRI) for personal and small business use
  • PRI for large enterprises and corporations.

Features of Primary Rate Interface

To understand how these communication systems work, it is first crucial to be aware of their features. Key features of a PRI system include:

  1. Lines are made of two pairs of copper wires connecting the provider and the user.
  2. You can have 23 B-channels on a single telephone line. And by doing so, it enables businesses to have multiple extensions and telephone numbers via one connection.
  3. Each channel has 64 kbps for data transmission.
  4. Can connect two private branch exchange or PBX systems together and can also work with an IP PBX system.

Advantages of a PRI Phone System

There are different ways a primary rate interface phone system benefits businesses. However, whether or not your business needs this system depends on what you hope to achieve through your business communication system. Let’s look at how PRI systems boost business communication:

1. Extensions and DID numbers:

Direct inward dialing refers to direct numbers assigned to individuals within a business. This means that callers from outside can dial this number and reach a contact directly. Extensions work in a similar way with an additional code attached to a number to let callers reach an individual or department directly.

With PRI, SIP trunking, or virtual phone systems, you do not need additional lines for each number or extension. For PRI, specifically, you can have up to 23 conversations happening simultaneously on one line. That means you can have up to 23 users using the system. And that is considering everyone uses it at the same time. If you need simultaneous communication, you can add more users to these existing lines and they can use it as and when needed.

2. Scalability and expansion:

As your business traffic grows and communication needs increase, you will want to scale and expand. And a primary rate interface will allow you to do that. If more users are needed, you can simply get another PRI line and add it to your existing system, giving 23 more users the ability to communicate.

PRI Drawbacks

While a primary rate interface system changed the way businesses communicated over the years, phones have come a long way since. Advancements in telecom technology have given rise to more modern and user-friendly systems.

The biggest drawback that PRI systems have is the ability to expand in bundles of 23. This means that if you have just one or two extra employees and all channels are used constantly, then you will need to buy 23 more channels for those extra employees. You will end up paying more than you need.

On the other hand, if you run a large corporation with 100-150+ employees, then you will need multiple PRI lines to work efficiently. Additionally, it gets more complicated if you need to add multiple locations or remote workers.

To combat these issues, you have a few alternatives to consider: Hosted VoIP and SIP trunking.

PRI vs Hosted VoIP vs SIP Trunking

Most businesses today have adopted a cloud VoIP or hosted VoIP solution. Hosted VoIP means that your service provider hosts your phone solution and takes care of all your software needs and maintenance. All you do is use the service. You do not have to worry about purchasing hardware and software, maintaining it with a professional IT team, and so on. This helps your business save on communication and IT-related costs.

SIP trunking is a session initiation protocol (SIP) feature that enables transmission of voice communication over a data network. SIP trunking works similarly to POTS except that the phone lines are virtual instead of standard copper lines. And your phone system connects to your provider via your internet connection. SIP trunking has often been used as an alternative to POTS and PRI systems.

PRI, unlike VoIP and SIP trunking, does not rely on internet bandwidth for transmission, and therefore does not suffer from jitter or packet loss. However, there are limitations in terms of scaling upwards, mobility, and features available.

Here’s a table to demonstrate the differences between these business phone systems:

PRI SIP trunking Hosted VoIP
1. Upfront costs Medium-High High Low
2. Maintenance costs Medium-High Medium-High Low-High
3. Connectivity Physical Virtual Virtual
4. Service quality Low; calls may experience muffled or distant quality, frequency range is limited High; good bandwidth required, low bandwidth can lead to jitter, packet loss High; good bandwidth required for VoIP, low bandwidth can lead to jitter, packet loss
5. Scalability Low High; very scalable High; scalable
6. Mobility None; no routing ability Medium; calls can be transferred to predetermined locations Very high; can be used anywhere and through any device

Choosing the Right Phone System for Your Business

The phone system that is ideal for your business purposes depends on what you want to accomplish with it and what your budget can include. Speak with our experts today to see if VoIP or SIP trunking is a good fit for you!

6 Ways to Fix VoIP Jitter

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When conducting business calls, interruptions, low call quality, or missing audio can lead to miscommunication. Part of running a professional business is ensuring that your business calls, whether for queries or support, occur smoothly without any distortion or jumbled audio. Interruptions during calls can lead to losing valuable clients. One important element that affects VoIP business calls is jitter. In this post, we explain what leads to jitter and how to fix VoIP jitter in 6 useful ways.

Why You Need to Fix VoIP Jitter

In order to fix VoIP jitter, one must understand VoIP jitter and how it affects a business’ VoIP phone system. During VoIP business calls, voice messages are transformed from analog to digital signals and stored in data packets. For VoIP calls to connect two end-points successfully, data packets need to be transmitted effectively without delay or disturbance.

While these data packets move from one end-point to the next, the packets travel through different paths and may not take the same path. However, due to a variety of reasons — such as low internet speed, a low-quality router, and so on — the data packets may not be delivered at the same time. Instead, they may arrive at irregular intervals affecting VoIP call quality. Additionally, this can lead to missing or jumbled audio. This is known as ‘VoIP jitter.’ Jitter within business calls can lead to miscommunication and frustration for users. Here are 6 reliable ways to fix VoIP jitter:

1. Invest in a Powerful Router

When purchasing a router for your VoIP phone system, do your research and find one that is powerful and can handle your VoIP needs, especially the bandwidth capacity. Carefully review the product and see if it matches your needs. Study customer reviews and testimonials and look for complaints and potential issues.

2. Utilize an Ethernet Cable

Use a high-quality ethernet cable to connect your VoIP system to your router. This way, you will have a better connection and no interference from sources out of your control that can lead to jitter, latency, packet loss, and more. Additionally, if you already have an ethernet cable but are still experiencing jitter, then perhaps it’s time to upgrade your ethernet.

3. Subscribe to High-Speed Internet

Next, as is widely known, low internet connection speeds can affect the quality of your VoIP phone system. Low internet speeds lead to jitter, latency, and more. Make sure that your business has high-speed internet connection to ensure smooth connectivity.

4. Conduct Bandwidth Tests

Besides securing a high-speed internet connection, you also want to ensure that your bandwidth is strong enough to carry the weight of your VoIP phone system. Ask your ISP to test your bandwidth and then resolve jitter issues. You may even connect with your VoIP phone service provider for help in resolving VoIP jitter issues.

5. Consider Getting a Jitter Buffer

Another way to fix VoIP jitter is by using a jitter buffer, a device that intentionally delays an incoming data packet. By delaying an incoming packet, the receiver of the call will hear the voice message clearly and with very little distortion. This is because the jitter buffer will re-group delayed data packets and then play them together, steadily. Your data packets will be stored in the right sequence and played accurately and clearly.

6. Reduce Unnecessary Bandwidth Usage

Lastly, make it a practice to reduce unnecessary bandwidth usage, especially during office hours. Teach your staff to not use large amounts of bandwidth for non-work-related activities. This includes streaming videos or content from Netflix, etc. These services use large amounts of bandwidth and can lead to jitter during VoIP calls.

Convert More Customers with VoIP for Business

A business VoIP phone system can greatly improve the way your business communicates with its customers. Additionally, getting this service from a reliable VoIP provider can help improve VoIP call quality issues such as jitter, latency, and so on. Ready to upgrade your business phone system and get VoIP? Speak with our representatives today!