At Jiminny, we see all kinds of network and hardware conditions that influence the quality of calls and meetings. The real-time nature of conversations make VoIP difficult, and whilst the software technologies behind it make great strides to improve that, there are still some key areas you'll need to invest in to get flawless calls.
Sorting out and optimizing the network is a serious endeavor, but with informed planning and guidance, it only needs to be done once, and the benefits will be reaped immediately.
Just Avoid WiFi
We know it's super convenient and less hassle, but let us be clear that WiFi is not the right choice for your mission-critical calls. You’re more likely to experience VoIP issues.
WiFi coverage can be spotty, leading to inconsistent experiences around an office. This is because:
- Most expensive, professional-grade routers need to be expertly configured
- WiFi was never designed with real-time applications in mind
- There are likely many internet-connected devices using the WiFi network, competing for bandwidth.
Using WiFi for VoIP calls usually produces acceptable results, but an Ethernet connection will guarantee the highest quality connection.
Ethernet also helps bypass the problem of interference. Smartphones, microwaves, and even fluorescent lights near an audio input can cause popping, crackling, or humming noises during your call.
Speed isn't Quality
Even if your company has gigabit Internet, there is no guarantee this will result in solid performance. Your experience will also depend on the weakest link in the chain between your laptop and our data centers.
When you place a call or join a video meeting, the media “packets” will pass through access points, routers, and switches before they even leave your office. Every step is a potential bottleneck and source of frustration. If this hardware is not professional-grade or not configured correctly you'll likely have a poor experience.
Your IT team will need to run tests, evaluate, fine-tune configuration, and possibly upgrade the hardware along the way.
They may not seem like the problem, but at the "last mile" headsets are responsible for more issues than you might expect. We've seen:
- Some headsets will sleep or disconnect if the user stays silent for too long
- Operating systems refuse to recognize some models
- Sound distortion and one-way audio can occur when a headset microphone picks up incoming audio
- Bluetooth models suffer interference from WiFi networks, low batteries causing disconnection, or static noise if you wander too far from your desk!
We recommend a professional-grade, wired headset to avoid these issues.
Prioritize your Calls
When users on the network run multiple applications simultaneously, this uses bandwidth and clogs up your network, like a highway during rush hour.
With network prioritization, you can designate a few lanes (i.e. bandwidth) just for VoIP. This will make sure there’s plenty of space for conversations to manoeuvre. In the industry, this process is called Quality of Service (QoS). It ensures voice packets have higher bandwidth priority than other data packets.
We've got a few guides on this that your IT team can refer to.