Just like most technologies, VoIP (Voice Over the Internet Protocol) can sometimes spring surprises. But the good news is that you don’t need to read a bunch of long manuals to figure out what to do. Most VoIP problems have common root causes. So whenever you ask, “why is my VoIP not working?” you should look into these common culprits.

You can use some common steps to diagnose and solve most VoIP problems. No dabbling with tech mysticisms.

Here are some straightforward VoIP troubleshooting techniques you should always have at the back of your mind:

VoIP issue #1: Network and LAN issues

Your VoIP network and Local Area Network (LAN) refer to the internet connectivity of your devices.

If you run into networking and LAN issues after your VoIP system is set up, the first place you should look is your router or Wi-Fi devices. They’re either malfunctioning or incompatible with your cloud telephony.

To avoid these issues, you need to use a router designed primarily for internet-enabled calls, with support for a feature called Quality of Service (QoS). This feature enables the router to dedicate sufficient bandwidth to internet calls.

Now, how do you resolve networking and LAN issues?

  1. Reset your router.  Double-check your router’s wiring. If it’s all intact, unplug the power cords, wait for 30 seconds and then plug them back in.
  2. Check your QoS setting. If your router supports the VoIP QoS feature, check to make sure it’s active. If not, you can set up a dedicated bandwidth manually for your VoIP device.
  3. Disable SIP ALG or forward ports. SIP ALG is an automatic troubleshooting feature commonly used in many routers. However, it could do more harm than good and cause interruptions. Check your router’s manual for directions to disable your SIP ALG.
  4. Check for updates for your router. If the vendor no longer supports your router, then you might need to replace it.

VoIP issue #2: Phone and Voice Quality

If you’re wondering what causes dropped calls and voice quality issues, you just need to have a fair idea of how VoIP works to figure it out. VoIP converts voice inputs into packets of digital data, compresses them through a codec, and then transmits them via the internet.

Now, sometimes, some packets of voice data may be lost during transit. The call quality might be affected depending on the amount of packet loss. Packet data transmission may also be slower depending on your network’s latency – the general amount of time it takes to transmit units of data via a network.

Voice packets may also take different routes to reach their destination depending on the various factors. They may arrive out of order, causing stutters and choppy connections, and VoIP incoming calls not working.

Troubleshooting VoIP phone and voice quality issues is quite simple:

  1. Remove interferences. The vibration from your speakers might be interfering with your call quality. Your router’s performance might also run into interferences if placed too close to your computer, fans, power trips, or other electronics.
  2. Check your router connection. Make sure your router’s wiring is properly connected. Also, try connecting your router directly to your cloud telephony device.

VoIP issue #3: WAN and Internet Connectivity

WAN and Internet connectivity issues may be the culprit if you find yourself wondering what are some of the causes of choppy voice problems. WAN and internet connectivity problems are a little more complex compared to networking and LAN issues because they may extend beyond your connectivity hardware. They could originate from your internet service provider.

First, you need to ensure that your data plan supports VoIP calls – not every data bundle supports VoIP. So, how do you test VoIP data plans and connectivity?

  1. Test your bandwidth. Try running a speed test to see if your data bundle can handle your VoIP traffic
  2. Run a Ping Test. This helps you track packet losses
  3. Check your router. Make sure the wiring is done right and then reboot it
  4. Check your bandwidth usage. Reduce data consumption from idle computers, unnecessary apps, and unused browser tabs.

VoIP issue #4: Security

VoIP security enables you to hold conversations over the internet without exposing any sensitive information to hackers. But sometimes, this might result in inconveniences such as VoIP deregistration, firewall issues, and VoIP phones not working but the internet is.

To resolve these issues:

  1. Reset your password. Generally, VoIP service accounts are some of the most lucrative targets for hackers due to the amount and quality of information transmitted through VoIPs. As such, it’s always advisable to use a very strong password (free online password generators can help give you ideas) and to change your password regularly.
  2. Activate firewalls and other security features. Firewalls and other security features can help you detect and prevent fraudulent traffic or any suspicious activities that are usually signs of hacking attempts
  3. Set up VLAN tagging. This enables your LAN to prioritize the security and flow of your internet call traffic

VoIP issue #5: Faxing Issues and Other Devices

If you’re trying to combine an old technology like fax machines or printers with your cloud telephony, you’ll most likely run into some issues because they might be downright incompatible.

Here’s what you can do about issues with third-party devices linked to your cloud telephony

  1. Find compatible products. Linking components like a fax bridge can help you connect third-party devices with your VoIP device.
  2. Setup matching security components. Your VoIP’s security system can affect both your VoIP device and other third-party devices linked to it. Check with your VoIP service provider to make sure that your security components are compatible with your cloud telephony.

VoIP Troubleshooting FlowChart

VoIP Troubleshooting FlowChart

Final thoughts on VoIP Troubleshooting

Finally, you should always have your VoIP service provider’s contact or that of your ISP handy so you can reach out in case your VoIP problems go beyond these troubleshooting solutions. That’s why it’s always advisable to choose a VoIP service provider with excellent customer support.

However, these troubleshooting techniques work most of the time.