If you hear repeating voices and sounds while on a phone or video call, you’re experiencing phone echoing. Echoes confuse people and make it difficult to continue a discussion. Phone echoes are usually caused by faulty hardware and subpar connectivity. This article offers simple fixes, such as adjusting your device volume, checking your internet connection, and updating your hardware, to stop phone echoing.
In today’s world, communication plays a crucial role in business development, and constant phone echoes can adversely affect business deals and your company’s reputation. Here are the primary causes of echoing phone calls:
- Speakerphone reverb: When someone on a call is using a speakerphone, the microphone picks up their voice from the speaker and transmits it back as an echo on a phone call.
- Increased internet traffic or limited bandwidth: Phone calls using voice-over-internet protocol (VoIP) depend on the internet. Limited or inadequate internet bandwidth or high internet traffic decreases upload and download speed, causing echo-inducing lag.
- Interrupted Wi-Fi or cellular signal: Poor signal or being in a place with a spotty data connection results in phone echoing and suspended audio.
- Electromagnetic interference: Multiple devices near each other can cause an overlap or interruption of electromagnetic currents.
- Defective or outdated hardware: Faulty equipment, such as headsets and cables with loose connections, can cause poor audio quality and phone echoes.
- Jitter or packet loss: Jitter above 20ms and packet loss issues can lead to echoing.
1. Speakerphone Reverb
Speakerphone reverb is one of the leading causes of echo on the phone because the microphone picks up sounds from the speaker and transmits audio back through the phone as an echo. Speaker reverb can happen during phone and video calls, regardless of whether you use cell phones, tablets, or computers.
How to Fix It
Eliminate speakerphone reverb by turning down the volume of your audio device. If you’re using an external microphone, try adding more distance, at least eight inches, between the speaker and microphone. You can also opt to use headphones to increase the space, and a Bluetooth headset is an excellent alternative if you prefer to be hands-free or wire-free during meetings.
If your team needs high-quality audio because you are constantly on conference calls or virtual meetings, consider using noise-canceling equipment to minimize distractions. You can also filter your meeting room to absorb sounds. Use foam or add other furniture, such as carpets and curtains, to absorb sound waves.
2. Increased Internet Traffic or Limited Bandwidth
An overloaded internet connection causes network latency, and the delay in transmission of voice packets can cause echoes. VoIP calls require sufficient bandwidth, which is about 0.3Mbps per device. Even if you have a strong and stable connection, inadequate bandwidth will adversely affect the quality of your phone calls.
Your network’s bandwidth has a direct impact on audio quality. For example, if you have limited bandwidth and someone on your team hosts a large video conference, heavy network traffic could cause an echo on an unrelated call within your network. Your internet will be bogged down even further if people simultaneously use different unified communication (UC) tools, stream videos, upload and download files, and make high-definition (HD) calls using VoIP.
How to Fix It
To address this issue, coordinate with your service provider regarding your current bandwidth, and depending on your usage, consult if there’s a need to upgrade. Ideally, for a small team, you want at least 10Mbps of download and 1Mbps of upload speed per person. Check your internet speed by running our free network speed test. Speed tests determine whether your internet service can support your bandwidth requirements.
You may need to switch your VoIP phone system if internet speed, signal, and faulty equipment are not the problem. Evaluate your phone service based on your plan’s features, price, and call quality. When it comes to choosing a service provider, we recommend you give RingCentral a try. It topped our list of best VoIP for small business needs thanks to its feature-rich call management system. Read our detailed RingCentral review to learn more about this platform.
3. Interrupted Wi-Fi or Cellular Signal
Always check your cellular and Wi-Fi signals because they often lead to phone echoing, lag, and other call quality issues. Check signal strength and relocate to an office area closer to the VoIP router for a better connection. You can also experience these problems when mobile or using shared networks in coffee shops or restaurants. Weak and inconsistent signals happen for several reasons, like bad weather, infrastructure, or terrain interference.
How to Fix It
The first step to addressing an interrupted connection is to check your signal and device indicators to see if you’ve got a strong Wi-Fi signal or mobile data connectivity. Contact your service provider once you determine that internet connectivity is the issue. If your provider cannot support your needs, check out our lists of the best VoIP softphone providers, business cell phone plans, and VoIP services for home offices.
Are you interested in learning more about VoIP systems? If you’re ready to adopt a cloud-based business phone system, read through our guide on how to set up a VoIP system in seven steps.
4. Electromagnetic Interference
When VoIP devices are placed too close to other gadgets, it creates phone echoing. For example, placing a VoIP phone on top of a computer monitor, power strip, or cellphone can cause screen distortions, crackling sounds, and phone echo. Your phone’s signal picks up electromagnetic waves from other sources, such as cell phones, TVs, and appliances.
How to Fix It
Strategize your workstation setup and space out devices causing electromagnetic interference, particularly those placed too close to each other. Devices have a large electrical field, so it’s best to keep this in mind when deciding on the placement of your gadgets and where to set up your conference conferencing equipment, like speakers and microphones.
5. Defective or Outdated Hardware
Damaged equipment (like speakers and cable wires) or incompatible devices (such as phones and speakers) interfere with call quality and system performance. Faulty hardware causes visual and audio disruptions, including phone echoing.
How to Fix It
Begin by determining which device or equipment is causing the problem by isolating the different hardware and devices. You can try using a different cable or adapter, plugging in a different device, or resetting your internet connection. If the phone echo persists even after this type of troubleshooting, it’s likely an issue with your hardware. Depending on the situation, it can be as quick as untangling wires and swapping cables to upgrading your entire phone system.
Hardware problems affect how you coordinate with team members, partners, and clients. Your equipment should be compatible with your VoIP phone system, and providers like RingCentral and Nextiva publish lists of supported routers and phones for easy reference.
6. Jitter or Packet Loss
High jitter levels negatively impact your communication experience and result in phone echoing. Jitter refers to the delay in sending information data packets over your network connection, often due to network congestion, route changes, or timing drift.
Packet loss happens when data packets fail to arrive at a destination after being transmitted across a network. Sometimes, data packets take different routes, especially if the hardware isn’t performing optimally. Packets are dropped by congested network routers or disregarded as jitter buffers, which leads to call quality issues and a delayed echo.
How to Fix It
When experiencing high levels of network jitter, some strategies include using a jitter buffer, a shared data area that temporarily collects and stores audio data during a VoIP call before being sent to the recipient. It helps to improve the quality of voice calls by reducing jitter, which can cause audio delays and sound distortion. You can also get a more powerful router, upgrade your internet services plan, or use wired connections instead of Wi-Fi.
Tips on How to Prevent Phone Echoing
Phone echoing can be very frustrating, especially when discussing crucial business matters. Frustrated customers struggling to understand what you are saying can damage their perception of your company. Phone echoing can also increase operational costs—from misunderstandings about pricing and purchase orders to lengthy conversations due to communication delays. Thus, your team may be wasting valuable time and resources.
If this happens occasionally, the cost may seem small and negligible, but over time and as your business grows, those seconds and minutes, plus communication errors, add up. Minimize phone echo and consider the following preventative measures:
- Invest in quality equipment and hardware: Choose network equipment, phones, and communication gadgets like VoIP headsets, speakers, and microphones that are compatible with your phone system. Read customer and expert reviews to determine how well these items perform and their pros and cons.
- Optimize your network settings: Routinely check your network configurations and settings, including the quality of service protocols, to ensure optimal call quality.
- Regularly update software: Keep your network performance up by regularly updating your system. Updating your software with the latest bug fixes helps you address known issues that may be slowing down your system.
- Be aware of your surroundings: Be mindful of your location and immediate environment, as it can affect the quality of your conversations. When possible, use your phone in a quiet area with a strong signal to help reduce the chances of echo.
If you are new to VoIP technology, as you choose a service provider, pay close attention to compatible equipment, VoIP business features, app functionality, and customer feedback regarding call quality.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Not necessarily. Phone call echoes happen for many reasons, including unstable internet and faulty hardware. Data breaches are always possible in telecommunications, so choose a service provider with robust security and privacy features, including end-to-end encryption. Sometimes, recording echoes happen when a call is recorded. It happens when your sound driver is recording all the sounds around you.
If your phone is connected via Bluetooth to a speaker, it’s possible the mic in your car and the one on your phone are both active. Having two active microphones could be feedback and echoes. Reset the connection or simply disconnect your phone from the speaker. Lastly, ensure you have the latest software for your phone with the latest echo cancellation fixes.
Whether the other party experiences an echoing call depends on the cause. Sometimes the echoes are one-sided, especially if the issue is related to your connection or hardware. For example, if you have a faulty microphone, you could hear an echo because of your device, but the other party on your call can hear you perfectly.
Phone echoes adversely affect your business reputation and customer satisfaction levels. Echoes during phone calls make it difficult for people to understand each other. Follow this guide to discover potential causes of phone call echoing and learn how to stop echo on phone calls. Minimize the likelihood of recurring echoes by regularly checking your hardware and system configurations.