Broadband is a post-dial-up term used to convey fast Internet connectivity speeds. Early in the Internet’s life, this would have meant a connection from around 512kbps and above. However, today, most countries around the world have average broadband speeds of well over 2Mbps, according to the Worldwide Speed League. However, even with super-fast broadband Internet speeds, a high-quality call is still not guaranteed.
This document aims to highlight potential pitfalls when performing voice calls on a device with seemingly good broadband connectivity.
Download vs. Upload
Broadband connections are bi-directional and, in-fact, most connections made to the internet send traffic in both directions. When browsing the Internet in a browser, most of the transported data will be downloaded to the end-users device, with minimal data being uploaded to the Internet, by way of control packets.
In enterprise environments, such as businesses, broadband connections will typically have equal download and upload bandwidth capabilities, but this is not typically true for home users. Since homes generally have higher download requirements than upload, Internet Service Providers usually offer home users an Internet connection with a reduced upload capability, often an order of magnitude smaller. This means that, if a home user has 80Mbps download, they may have only 20Mbps upload, while a user with 2Mbps download may only have as much as 512kbps upload.
This difference in speed is important since while 2Mbps may be sufficient to transport voice to the user from the Aircall servers, a 512kbps speed will certainly cause problems for outgoing audio, especially on networks with other traffic.
If you feel that your bandwidth may be over-encumbered, try switching off unnecessary devices on your network and closing unused programs on your device.
Wireless devices are a modern convenience, providing the freedom to move around without the restriction of nuisance cables. Today, almost all battery-operated technology can operate hands-free, including keyboards, mice, microphones, and earphones that are otherwise powered externally.
An issue with wireless technology, which most people are unaware of, is with regards to reliability. When browsing the web using Wi-Fi, for instance, most people are unable to notice increases in latency caused by wireless technology. As broadband speeds are normally very fast, this can usually mask any temporary interruptions in connectivity. An additional 200 milliseconds here and there are normally unnoticeable. However, during a voice call, where the appearance of latency is doubled due to the effects on both callers, these minor imperfections can become magnified and cause frustration.
Additionally, voice connectivity issues are not impacted simply by Wifi Internet connectivity, but by all wireless devices between callers. Wireless earphones and microphones also provide reduced quality, creating artefacts during calls. Even high-quality wireless tools, such as Apple’s Airpod's, will create problems.
In order to ensure voice calls with Aircall are of the best quality, ensure you use cabled connections for your Internet and all peripherals. Use a short, unbroken Cat 6 cable to connect your device to your router by Ethernet, and use high-quality ear or headphones and microphone. Our support team can provide a list of recommendations for hardware on request.
Flooded Internet connection
Even if your internet connection is providing sufficient bandwidth, you might still experience call quality issues due to the fact that other devices are consuming all the data, leaving too little spare capacity for voice data packets to be transmitted and received efficiently and effectively.
Contact your ISP and ask them if they are experiencing network issues and/or congestion. Some providers can prioritise your traffic over others and/or improve the contention ratio.
Ask them if they are shaping or throttling your connection in any way and specifically VoIP traffic. Ask them if they can prioritise VoIP traffic and/or offer a contract that is unshaped and unthrottled.
Have more questions? Submit a ticket to our quality team and we'll be happy to assist!