Can I reduce the latency in my VoIP phone line?

What to do if you have latency issues

By Neil Zawacki
Updated: February 03, 2011

VoIP has been known to suffer from occasional latency issues. Phone calls may be choppy, break up on you, or have echoes from time to time. There are several potential ways to reduce the frequency of these problems.

Sufficient Bandwidth

The first is to make sure that you have sufficient bandwidth available. It is generally suggested to have a minimum of 90 kbps, so you may need to switch to a better internet connection if you’re not allocated that much. It’s also a good idea for your employees to close any applications and videos that might be open and taking up bandwidth when they make a phone call.

Quality of Service

You can also purchase a router that is Quality of Service-enabled. This will allow you to shape the internet traffic on your system and prioritize internet applications as needed when the bandwidth is in use. You’ll want to set the UPD traffic to the ports that range from 10,000 to 20,000.

Old Phone Adapters

Old phone adapters can sometimes cause latency problems, so you should consider upgrading to a new one. They will generally cost you between $50 to $80, and tend to come with advanced features you may find useful.

Distance from Service Provider

Your VoIP phone line may suffer from occasional latency issues if the service provider is located too far away from you. Determine their physical location and consider switching to a closer service provider if one is available.

Firewalls

Firewalls are another possible issue, since they can slow down and stop VoIP signals that are attempting to pass through the system. You’ll want to update the settings to allow VoIP access if you haven’t done so already.

Analog Adapter to Hub

You may also be experiencing latency problems if the computer system running the analog terminal adapter is connected to a hub, since they only have 10 Mb shared medium. This can be remedied by connecting to a LAN switch port on your network router instead.

Codecs

The U-law codec can occasionally help with VoIP latency issues. This is a specialized companding algorithm that reduces the overall quantization error in digital systems. You can download the U-law codec from numerous internet sites at no charge.

Headsets

VoIP sound issues may also occur if you are using a standard headset connected to the computer. Consider purchasing a USB headset, USB phone, or noise canceling microphone as a potential method to improve the quality of your phone calls.

Reset Router

Sometimes, all you need to do is switch your router off and on. You’ll want to unplug the router for fifteen seconds before powering it back on and wait another couple of minutes for the connections to cycle back around, but this may be enough to get rid of the latency issues you are experiencing.

Overall, you want your latency to be somewhere under 150m. If you can get it that low through one or more of these methods, the choppiness and echoes should disappear and the experience much improved.
 

Featured Research
  • 7 Ways the Wrong Phone System Can Haunt Your Business

    The wrong phone system could be haunting your business - and we’re talking about problems more serious than ghosts and ghouls. From increased costs to issues with scaling, we’ve identified seven important ways that a less than ideal phone system could be holding you back. You’ll be surprised at how much of a difference this can make to your bottom line too. more

  • Ditch Your Fax Servers

    An in-house fax server gives an IT department centralized management and monitoring over the entire enterprise's faxing. This can help your company track usage and better maintain records for auditing and record keeping. However, there are serious drawbacks that come with utilizing an in-house fax server solution and these range from security to cost-prohibitive pricing. more

  • The IT Manager's Survival Guide

    As an IT manager, maintaining physical fax servers and infrastructure is not a high priority. However, fax capability remains a business need simply because chances are your industry is dependent on its security. What if there was a way to reduce the amount of time spent handling fax complaints and maintaining physical servers? And this way took into account security, cost savings, and freed up your IT resources. Would you be interested? more

  • VoIP: Your New Secret Weapon for a Strong Year End

    As the end of 2017 nears, you may be feeling pressure to make sure you close the year out strong.If you’ve been sitting on the fence regarding VoIP, this may be the perfect time to switch. VoIP options had never been better or more full-featured than they are now, and it may be just the thing your business needs to see a productivity and profitability boost. more

  • Is Your Phone System Stealing Profits?

    Having the wrong phone system can dramatically cut into your profits. Despite this, many businesses just sign up for a plan or platform that seems ‘good enough’. If you haven’t carefully considered your options and the included features, there’s a very good chance that you are leaving money on the table in some way. more