Somebody Isn’t Pulling Their Weight – VoIP, Your Internet Connection & Voxbox

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More and more businesses are installing VoIP phone systems in a search for reliable and user-friendly phone systems. However, testing whether your internet connection can handle VoIP before you install the service could save you a lot of time and money – that’s where Voxbox comes in.

But, how to accurately assess whether your internet connection is of sufficient quality to reliably support voice? It’s intimidating; there are almost too many variables to determine if an internet connection is of enough quality to support voice. The good news is, everyone can test their internet speedIn theory, if the connection is fast enough, the speed can overcome a series of other issues, but this is not always the case.

The problem with most raw speed tests is that they measure total capacity but miss delay or latency. Our research has shown that voice will be affected if these factors are ignored, even for those with a high-speed connection.

Our Top 4 VoIP Network Connection Tests

At byphone, we prefer four main tests: JitterTime SeriesCall Quality and Long Call. By running all four for an extended period, they show us how voice will perform on a network. There is also a speed test included as part of the byphone Test Suite. However, we have found it of limited benefit if the connection speeds are slow.  We have tried our best to demystify the tests below, so get ready and buckle up!

1. Jitter Test

The Jitter test looks at the round trip time of a series of data packets going to the server and back again (think of a formula one car doing laps). We call this, ‘the packet’ latency. A single round trip (ping time) is too small a test to give a picture of the variability or stability of the connection. So by measuring a series of ping tests (laps), we get a picture of the variability of the connection. It’s a statistical measure of the delay of a series of data packets.

2. Time Series Jitter Test

This test can be run from a chrome browser and gives you a one-off picture 35 pings. A Voxbox can also be plugged into your network and allows you to schedule a series of tests over time. You schedule up to four inspections a day, as it uses a full download test which can interfere with networks.

With the Voxboxtests, the results are sent to our servers and then graphed to give you a real sense of how the network is performing.

3: Call Quality Test – Easy as Rasberry Pie

By far, the most fun test; it records your voice, sends it as a file from your network to an online server and back again. It then compares the original with the return file to measure the similarity of the two files. The software behind this test is interesting; it’s very similar to the music streaming service Shazam. You can even listen to the return file (what you would hear in a phone call) allowing you to decide for yourself if you are happy with the quality as well as giving you the tools to assess what the statistical call quality scores mean.

A significant benefit of the Call Quality tests is that they can be run directly from within your chrome browser with no need to install “add-ons” or plugins. The Voxbox apparatus can be plugged into a network and undertake a series of tests every fifteen minutes, or on the hour.

4. Long Call Test – Can Your Connection Handle The Pressure?

With the Long Call Test, you can easily see if your network is failing or help determine what could be improved. By using the Long Call test, a call plays over an hour and measures in real-time the latency, packet loss, and round trip time.

The best way to see if your network is up to the job is to see how it copes under pressure. For Example, using the byphone Long Call Test, you can easily see where your network is failing and what needs to be improved.  

So, how can you put pressure on your network?

It’s relatively simple. All you need to do is start by scheduling a speed test at the same time as the long call test. The network will be put under stress as it’s assessing how quickly a connection can work.  

By using the Long Call test, a call plays over an hour and measures in real-time the latencypacket loss and round trip time.  It is advantageous if you are diagnosing a network; it allows you to stress the network the call is going on to and to see the effect on call quality in real-time.

While these tests are running, the real-time round trip delay monitors the time the packets of data have taken to come full circle during the call, while a graph will show the average for the previous five seconds. This way, you should see when the network recovers from the stress test, as the call keeps going.

The lost packet test adds the lost packets over the hour. Voice calls can accept up to 1.5% loss packets evenly spread over time without noticeable deterioration of voice.

The jitter tests (latency) gives a real-time feed of jitter over the previous five seconds.

These tests are beneficial to network engineers as they tune a network, see how it’s performing in real-time and make a series of adjustments based on their real-time data.

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