How to accurately assess whether your internet connection is of sufficient quality to reliably support voice.
More and more businesses are installing VoIP phone systems in a search for reliable and user friendly phone systems. Bare in mind though, testing whether your internet connection can handle VoIP before you install the service could save you a lot of time and money.
It’s intimidating, there are almost too many variables to assess whether an internet connection is of sufficient quality to support voice. The good news is, everyone can test their internet speed. In 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 very fast connection.
Our Top 4 VoIP Network Connection Tests
At byphone, we prefer four main tests: Jitter, Time Series, Call Quality and Long Call. By running all four for an extended period of time, 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!
One: 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). This is called 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 (or 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.
Two: Time Series Jitter Test
This test can be run from a chrome browser it 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 tests a day, as it uses a full download test which can interfere with networks.
With the VOXBOX tests, 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
This test is cool, 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 really 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 actually mean.
EASY AS RASPBERRY PIE. A major benefit of the Call Quality tests, are 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. It can run tests every fifteen minutes, or on the hour.
4. Long Call Test
With the Long Call Test you can easily see if your network is failing or help determine what could to be improved. By using the Long Call test, a call plays over a period of an hour and measures in real time the latency, packet loss, and round trip time.
Can Your Connection Handle The Pressure?
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 you network is failing and what needs to be improved.
So, how can you put pressure on your network?
It’s fairly simple. All you need to do is start by scheduling a speed test at the same time as the long call test. This will stress your network as it’s assessing how quickly a connection can work.
What makes it tick?
By using the Long Call test, a call plays over a period of an hour and measures in real time the latency, packet loss, and round trip time. It is very useful if you are diagnosing a network as it allows you to stress the network as the call is going on to see the effect on call quality in real time.
While these test are running, the real time round trip delay monitors the “round trip” time of the packets of data during the call. 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 just adds the lost packets over the hour. Voice calls can accept upto 1.5% loss packets evenly spread over time without a noticeable deterioration in voice.
The jitter tests (latency) gives a real time feed of jitter over the previous five seconds.
These tests are very useful to network engineers. As they tune a network, they can see how it’s performing in real time and make a series of adjustments based on their real-time data.