Did you know that VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) traces its roots back to the early 1970s. (see timeline). Just as Arpanet and the early Internet initiatives were designed to carry data, so too was the desire to carry real time voice over a digital medium. Today, almost 40 years later, VoIP has reached a level of abstraction where the users of the technology don’t even realize their communicating on a digital medium (nor do they really need to). But the providers of the technology are continuously focused on improving the quality of VoIP calls.
So today, we caught up with TelcoBridges’ Director of Marketing and Communications, Mathieu McCuaig, to discuss the Top-5 issues that service providers need to be aware of, when it comes to VoIP calls:
Issue #5: “There’s static on the call…”
“A buzzing sound, or static on the call is most likely the result of analog interference into the phone lines,” says Mathieu McCuaig. “Repetitive transcoding on call legs can introduce imperfections and accentuate background noises.”
To solve this problem, TelcoBridges’ Gateways support a wider variety of codecs than other gateways. This limits the need for multiple transcoding.
Issue #4: “I can hear an echo on my call…”
“The sound of your own voice repeated at a later interval creates an echo, and this can occur if the media gateway echo tail is too short, of if the gateway cannot support echo cancellation on all channels,” says McCuaig.
TelcoBridges’ Tmedia gateways support long echo tails (128ms) simultaneously on all channels – which is enough to eliminate most instances of echo on a call.
Issue #3: “My calls are choppy…”
“Choppy audio is usually caused by the lack of adequate bandwidth; the network dropping packets; or Internet congestion that slows down the connection (latency),” adds McCuaig. “Additionally, if the gateway cannot keep up with the call rate or the level of traffic, you’ll end up with calls that appear choppy.”
Tmedia VoIP Gateways have several features that help in this area:
- High compression codecs such as G.723.1 that allow for greater bandwidth efficiency over lower compression codec such as G.711.
- Advanced packet loss concealment capabilities minimize the impact of loss packets, including those potentially lost due to congestion and latency.
- Media processing is handled by dedicated resources within the Gateway predictably ensuring that all call will be processed adequately.
- TelcoBridges’ gateways feature adaptive jitter buffers that can pad up to 500 msec/ channel of network jitter should network degradation require such long jitter buffers.
- And most importantly – Tmedia Gateways simply deliver higher performance than other gateways!
Complaint #2: “I have Internet, but no dial tone, and I can’t make calls…”
This scenario occurs when call routing has been miss-configured.
“Our gateways have several features designed to help subscribers make their calls,” says McCuaig. “Tmedia features Unique Call Trace (UCT) capabilities that help to rapidly diagnose and address network issues. We provide specific validation configurations and off-line route testing tools to ensure that routes are properly setup and configured, and our gateways have a test calling feature that’s designed to rapidly diagnose and address routing issues. These features, and several more, are grouped together in our TB analytics suite. TB analytics, which we provide with all of our gateways, allows you to use our gateway as a network monitoring and diagnostic tool to help you easily locate and identify network issues.”
And the Number 1 complaint that service providers face is. . . .
“I’m not receiving my calls…”
“Calls drop for a number of reasons. The most common scenarios involve a softswitch’s CPU being overloaded by media processing obligations; the Gateway not being able to keep up with the call rate, or the gateway not being able to handle full channel capacity,” says McCuaig.
TelcoBridges Tmedia VoIP Gateways have several features to ensure that subscribers always get all of their calls:
- Media processing is done on dedicated high performance chips within the Tmedia Gateway, thus freeing the softswitch’s CPU from its media processing obligations.
- TelcoBridges Gateways provide higher performance call handling – with sustained performance of up to 90 successfully completed calls per second.
- And Tmedia gateways support full channel capacity.
- Additionally, should the dropped calls be a result of the unavailability of a call route, Tmedia’s Route Retry feature allows for alternatives routes that could bypass the issue.