There’s no denying that VoIP is a great invention and a more and more popular one, from year to year. Both business owners and regular consumers switch to VoIP services, from a variety of reasons: cost, features, flexibility and others.
But there is one concern that seems to be unanimous, when people first think about switching to VoIP: is the quality offered by VoIP systems as good as that offered by regular phone services? The simple answer is no.
In order to compare VoIP with traditional landlines, you have to first understand how VoIP works.
Unlike traditional phone lines, which rely on copper wires and that whole complex infrastructure, VoIP systems rely on the Internet. The signal is first converted from analog to digital, divided into packets of digitized data and sent through the Internet and decoded once it reaches the recipient. Nowadays, landline phone services also digitize the signal and use fiber-optic cables to send it to the recipient, but copper wires are still used for direct phone lines.
Because VoIP works via Internet, the quality of the connection drastically affects the quality of the VoIP phone call. Internet connections can be good or bad, slow or fast and all these factors have a great impact of the overall quality of your phone call.
Generally speaking, traditional landlines are superior in sound quality to VoIP services. The sound is usually clearer, dropped calls are a very rare occurrence and landlines still work in case of power outages, which means they are more reliable in case of emergencies for instance.
How to improve sound quality in VoIP phone calls
Although traditional landlines win against VoIP when it comes to sound quality, that doesn’t mean that the quality of VoIP phone calls is bad or can’t be improved. Besides, there are plenty of other pros VoIP has over traditional landline, such as cost, more flexibility and portability, more complex features.
VoIP technologies keep improving from year to year and there are things you can do to increase the sound quality. One of the tips is to choose a good Internet provider and make sure you have a fast, reliable Internet connection.
Another thing you can do is to increase the bandwidth of your connection and yet another tip is to reduce your bandwidth use when you know you have to make a call using VoIP. Make sure you are not using online streaming services, that you’re not downloading anything, etc. As long as you keep your traffic low, you should see an improvement in phone quality.
If you know you have low-quality headsets/microphone/speakers, you should also improve your equipment.
Another thing you can do is to reduce the jitter by using a jitter buffer. The packets of digitized data arrive to their destination by many routes, and sometimes they arrive in the wrong order, too late or too soon, due to network interference or other factors. This leads to scrambled words, missing parts of the sentence and a poor sound quality. You can reduce jitter by using a jitter buffer, which ensures those packets are delivered in their correct order.