VoIP Audio: Do You Hear What I Hear?

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This holiday season, we’re hearing a lot of familiar sounds: bells ringing, choirs singing, the clacking of hooves during winter carriage rides. For VoIP-based businesses, however, the question isn’t necessarily “Do you hear what I hear?” but rather, “What don’t I hear that I should be?”

Common VoIP audio issues like comfort noise, post dial delay, and one-way audio can plague VoIP businesses (perhaps including your own). With companies working to successfully wrap up Q4 amidst a busy holiday season, now is certainly not the time to encounter difficult VoIP audio issues. To make this truly the most wonderful time of the year for businesses, we spent some time digging into the above mentioned causes of poor VoIP audio quality: comfort noise, post dial delay, and one-way audio. Here’s what we found:

Do-you-hear-what-I-hear-compressor.pngComfort noise: Comfort noise—artificial background noise used in VoIP communications to fill periods of dead air—can help maintain quality of service, as well as minimize costs and bandwidth usage. At the same time, however, it can produce choppy or distorted audio. With research showing that the average conversation includes up to 50 percent silence, comfort noise can surely be advantageous. Perhaps not at the cost, however, of poor audio quality when the conversation strikes back up. Disabling this setting can make a noticeable difference in your VoIP audio quality.

Post-dial delay (PDD): If you’re part of the nearly 60 percent of businesses that use SIP trunking (as of 2015), chances are you’re familiar with PDD or have experienced it yourself. PDD—most commonly experienced when placing outbound calls on SIP trunks—is the delay experienced between the time you dial a number and when you receive an audible signal. When placing a call, PDD may distort or eliminate ringing altogether, cutting straight to the other party answering the call. You can check out this blog to learn about potential remedies to this issue.

One-way audio: We’ve all likely experienced this issue at some point; you call someone and only one of you can hear the other. This tends to happen when something is stopping either the outbound or inbound line from reaching its receiving party. To find out what exactly is blocking your connection, you’ll need to simplify it by eliminating the use of equipment and then making test calls. As we explain in the above-linked blog, you can use recording technology (like Windows Sound Recorder) to check the performance of your equipment as you make these test calls.

Staying on top of these three common VoIP audio issues will leave your business well-prepared for this final (and busiest) month of the year.