VoIP technology transmits data over a network using data packets. Sometimes, these packets can be degraded, lost, or sent out of order during calls or video streams. If this happens, it won’t be suitable for the quality of the phone connection. And interference during the conference call will be the least of your worries. In any case, your phone conversation won’t take place. But if there is a problem, there is a solution. The key is to have an ultimate guide on fixing packet loss. So you’re lucky to have it.
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What is Packet Loss, and How Does VoIP Work
If data packets stop successfully passing through the network from the sender to the receiver, then you have experienced packet loss. In VoIP, lost packages cause distortion, communication delays, and reordering parts of the conversation. According to Howly experts, 1-2% packet loss is acceptable for VoIP.
Speaking of data packets, technically, this is all the information you send over the network: email, voice, and video calls. When data is sent, it is automatically detected and transmitted via the most efficient path. But sometimes, it happens that the data doesn’t reach its destination. The farther the information travels, the higher the probability of transmission errors. That’s why you should know in advance how to solve this problem.
5 Easy Ways to Fix Packet Loss
Every case looks pretty complicated until you take the specific steps to improve it. Moreover, in most circumstances, you can fix packet loss yourself. So here are some of the easiest ways to solve the problem and follow them to help you succeed.
# 1 Examine the Physical Connections
The first thing you need to do is to check whether your Ethernet cable is physically connected to the router. Next, you should ensure that all visible cables are correctly and fully inserted into the appropriate ports. If this is okay, then perhaps the cause of the problem lies in the obsolete cables. It may be time to replace them with new ones to establish a more precise connection path. But before you run to the nearest electronics store, take some advice on buying Ethernet cables:
- Choose wires in the appropriate category. For example, if you’re a small business executive, Cat 5 will work for you. However, be prepared to need a higher category if your Internet connection speeds exceed the 1 Mbps mark.
- Check the jacket on the wire for durability, so it doesn’t abrade too quickly.
- Use a cable shield to prevent signal interference when running multiple cables together.
# 2 Check for Software Updates
Software often takes up bandwidth on a network. If it hasn’t been up to date for a long time, it can cause packet loss and many other performance problems. The best solution is always to update the software manually as soon as you receive a warning. Alternatively, you can enable automatic updates. Once the software is updated, restart the application and reboot the hardware.
You’ll likely need to wait for the developers to release a solution to the problem if there are known bugs. If an immediate fix is not yet available, you may want to consider an alternative software solution that does not cause packet loss.
# 3 Upgrade Your Hardware
Outdated hardware can also be a common cause of packet loss. Consequently, replacing your outdated hardware with new hardware is a good solution if this is your case. Or you can look for new versions of your current hardware. But how do you know if your equipment is starting to fail? Don’t worry; it will inform you with periodic error messages, sudden shutdowns, and suspension of regular operation.
To minimize the chance of packet loss, Howly experts recommend hiring a specialized IT team whose job will be to oversee your server and VoIP equipment. If you are used to taking things into your own hands and have an IT background, you can read more detailed information on how to fix packet loss prepared by Howly experts. Here you’ll find the solutions to the problem, what caused it, and what tools you can use to fix it.
# 4 Check Wi-Fi Connection
The first thing to note is that Wi-Fi is not ideal for VoIP connections. But in the absence of other available options, be prepared to face the packet loss problem. So what to do if the signal is missing or disappearing? First, reboot your router or device and see if the signal gets stronger. If your attempts are unsuccessful, use a Wi-Fi analyzer to check your settings. It may be the wrong settings that caused the packet loss. You can also set the device to access another Wi-Fi network or a wired connection.
# 5 Troubleshoot Bandwidth Congestion and Network Security Attacks
If your network can’t handle much current traffic, it’s called bandwidth congestion, which causes packet loss. But you can deal with it as well. First, check the performance of your network at different times of day to determine when congestion occurs. Then choose a less congested time, if possible. For VoIP communications, this can be a challenge. However, there is always a way out.
For example, you can schedule calls or conferences for non-peak times. After these simple manipulations, you should prioritize the traffic so that the most critical data is sent through the network first. This solution optimizes data flow and reduces congestion. If the problem persists, try increasing the network bandwidth. You can do it with the help of your Internet service provider, who offers you the available options.
Also, don’t rule out the possibility that you have been subjected to network attacks or hacks, which can cause more severe problems than packet loss. If you suspect a hack, you need to check your IP logs as quickly as possible to see if there are any unknown addresses or persistent traffic flooding the network.
Then, to stop the attack, you need to block those IP addresses. However, the best option in this situation is still to get help from a professional since your privacy and security are at stake here. A qualified expert doesn’t only fix the problem but also takes steps to prevent it in the future.
Call quality plays a vital role in the smooth running of your business. You can understand if you prefer VoIP for your calls because it significantly outperforms PSTN networks in some respects. Thus, you should observe thorough diagnostics, follow preventive measures, and invest in the right tools to minimize the risk of packet loss. If it does happen, it’s not so scary if you have a clear guide on what to do in such a situation.
Christine Tomas is a tech expert, consultant, and aspiring writer. She writes for different news portals and thematic blogs that helps her stay at the heart of the programming and technology news. Such work gives her the opportunity to write articles on the most relevant topics today.