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Audio Troubleshooting

It is rare, but from time to time, customers may experience audio issues.  These usually fall in to two categories


  1. One way audio:  In this scenario, only one party can hear the other.  This may only impact some calls.  This is almost always caused by:
    1. The firewall is blocking some ports:  Sometimes, IT or network managers will block some ports for added security.  They may not be aware that your phones will sometimes need one of the blocked ports to carry the part of the audio of a call.   Setting up Your Firewall
    2. Some routers have a feature called SIP ALG (application Layer Gateway).  This feature is intended to assist voip calls on the network, but often does the exact opposite.  The feature should be turned off.  How to turn off ALG
  2. Choppy or glitching audio:  This would be where parts of the call are distorted or missing, similar to a bad cellphone call.  In most cases, the VoIP phones use the same internet connection used for general web browsing and email.  Internet connections speeds have increase significantly since we started offering these services, and problems here are much rarer these days.  Our servers are connected to the public internet using gigabit connections to multiple high speed networks.  Internet problems  that impact voice quality for end users are almost always in the “last mile”.  This is the connection between the user and the public internet.  In most cases, this is either cable or DSL, but may also be wirless (4g or other) or fibre.  Some of the possible reasons for audio glitches related to internet are:
    1. Insufficient internet bandwidth:  We recommend at least 100kb in upload and download capacity for each voice call.  Lets say you have 10 phones.  For all the users to be on the phone at the same time, 10 x 100kb = 1mb upload and download should be available at all times. How to test your internet speed . Often upload speeds are lower than download speeds, so usually focus on the upload speed. If you find that your download or upload speeds are significantly less than expected, as a first step, reboot yourmodem and router.    Often this step clears whatever was causing the restrictions with the ISP.
    2. Poor Internet connection:  A good way to test the quality of your internet connection is to test your ping time
    3.  Other internet traffic using all of the bandwidth at times:  The voice calls usually share the internet connection with general business traffic.  In most cases this doesn’t present a problem.  However if there is very high load from non-voice, this can use up all of the available internet bandwidth impacting voice quality.  To generate sustained traffic that can saturate connections 30mb or faster requires exceptionally high use.  Watching a netflix HD movie uses around 5mb download, Youtube videos less.  Regular browsing and email uses some bandwidth. Companies that move around large design or video files may use high bandwidth from time to time, but to consistently use a high bandwidth is unusual.  This may be a backup of huge files (eg syncing to icloud or google drive or large amounts of data), or this can sometimes can be malware running on a PC that is being used for some nefarious purpose.  Here are some tips on how to identify if a device is using all of your internet bandwidth.