A VoIP phone service is only as good as the network supporting it. VoIP tests like speed, latency, and packet loss tests help you better understand your network performance, which plays a critical role in service reliability and call quality. These tests can also help you determine which VoIP service is best for your business.
One way to improve your VoIP performance is to partner with a best-in-class phone service. RingCentral is one of the most popular business VoIP providers on the market today, offering unlimited calls to anywhere in the U.S. and Canada with features like video conferencing and CRM integration. Click here to try RingCentral free for 15 days.
You can check your VoIP system’s health by performing the following tests:
VoIP Speed Test
Call quality and the number of phone lines supported by a VoIP service depend on the bandwidth of your internet connection. This is also known as your network speed. The faster your connection, the more VoIP lines you will be able to support. To test your network’s bandwidth, we’d suggest clicking below to use our free network VoIP speed test tool. The VoIP test results will give you an idea as to how many lines you can support.
The results of your speed test will provide two important numbers: download speed and upload speed. The lower of the two numbers (which will probably be your upload speed) is an accurate representation of your bandwidth.
Recommended Lines per Upload Speed
|Bandwidth (Upload Speed)|
If you tested at speeds slower than 1 Mbps, then you won’t be able to support more than one or two lines at full capacity. When I tested my own network, I had an upload speed of 5.9 Mbps. As such, I could support around 11 lines running at maximum quality and reliability, but I could run as many as 50 lines or even more if necessary. To read more about how to determine how many lines your network can support, read our VoIP speed test article.
Speeds will largely depend on your internet service provider (ISP). Your internet package should have a rated internet speed. Check with the speeds stated on your contract to make sure you are getting as much speed as you can from your ISP. You can learn more about choosing an internet service package in our guide on how to set up internet for your business.
If you are experiencing below-average network speeds, read on to see our list of what you can do to troubleshoot common VoIP network issues.
Latency is the amount of time it takes for data to travel from one point to another. When you make a call on a VoIP system, there is always going to be latency (or delay) between you and the person you’re speaking with. A suitable VoIP network will minimize the delay as much as possible. Latency is typically measured in “ping.”
You can use our speed test to measure your ping. You will find that number in the upper-left corner of the test results, denoted in red. The lower the ping, the better.
- Excellent connection (100ms ping or under): Connections under 100 ping are considered to be fine for VoIP networks.
- Good connection (100ms to 250ms ping): At this range, you will likely experience some delays when making calls. However, performance should still be acceptable for most VoIP use.
- Poor connection (250ms ping and over): A ping of 250ms or more is generally a sign of a very poor internet connection. In most cases, the delays will simply be too high to make VoIP phone calls feasible.
If you are experiencing high ping, refer to our troubleshooting section for information on how to fix common network problems.
Packet Loss Test
Packets are formatted units of data that are sent and received when making VoIP calls or any other kind of connection to the internet. Sometimes, the packets fail to reach their destination on the internet, and that results in slowdowns and connection losses. This is known as packet loss. On VoIP systems, this can result in sound distortion and dropped calls.
RingCentral offers a free VoIP test for connection quality on its website. It evaluates packet loss and network speed to measure overall call quality. In my own test, I had a 0% packet loss. This means that none (or a negligible amount) of the data going to RingCentral servers was lost during transmission.
Call quality generally starts to drop at 5% packet loss. Beyond that, you will notice a significant dip in call quality and reliability. If you are experiencing poor call quality, chances are other devices on your network are reducing your overall network speed. Take a look at our list of possible fixes.
Troubleshooting Common VoIP Network Problems
If you run a test and find that your VoIP network’s performance is lacking, there are a number of different things you can do to fix common problems. Many times, if you encounter issues with network speed, latency, or packet loss, try the following:
- Reboot network hardware: Sometimes, power cycling your router allows the device to re-establish a connection to your ISP. Shut down the router, unplug it, and wait 60 seconds. Plug it back in and wait for it to reboot. This alone fixes most network issues.
- Use wired connections: Hooking up your VoIP phone or desktop device via Ethernet cable provides a more stable connection than using Wi-Fi. Try using a wired connection for devices unless you have no other option.
- Disconnect unnecessary devices: Every device connected to your network is taking up bandwidth that could otherwise be used by your VoIP system. Unless it’s essential for business use, try to ban devices that aren’t necessary, like employees’ personal smartphones or tablets.
- Check your firewall: A firewall is a useful tool for keeping your network safe, but it can also block VoIP calls if it is not set up properly. Try temporarily disabling your firewall and see if VoIP performance improves. If it does, consult your firewall providers for help in reinstalling the software so it does not impede VoIP calling.
Why Testing Your Network Is Important
VoIP business phone systems are a substantial cost to your organization. Once you account for the monthly price of the service and hardware, your VoIP system will cost you thousands of dollars over time. If your system isn’t running at full efficiency, you are not getting your money’s worth. VoIP tests help you spot inefficiencies in your network so that you can solve the problem and get the most out of your phone system and your connected devices.
There are three factors that can give you a good idea of your VoIP system’s health. Network speed tells you your overall bandwidth. Latency will let you know of any possible delays when speaking over the phone. Testing for packet loss can help you identify where possible voice quality problems can arise.
Useful VoIP Resources
Check out the following links for more detailed information on VoIP systems:
- VoIP vs Landline: What’s the Best Small Business Phone System: Find out about the advantages and disadvantages of VoIP for your business with our comparison guide.
- Things to Consider When Setting Up VoIP Phone Service: Learn more about VoIP and everything you should consider when looking for the best VoIP phone service provider for your needs.
- Choosing the Best Business Internet Service Provider: Take a look at our comparison guide on the best business internet provider in each region of the U.S. based on price, speed, reliability, customer service, and contract terms.
- Small Business VoIP Services: Who Is the Best: Check out our comparison reviews of our favorite VoIP service providers, with information on pricing and features.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What do I do if my network isn’t fast enough for my business?
When you sign up for internet service, your ISP should offer different speed packages. If you find that your network cannot keep up with your company’s needs, then you may need to upgrade your internet service. Get in touch with your ISP for more information.
Are there products I can buy to improve my VoIP network?
Sometimes, the router provided by your ISP does not offer optimal network performance. Buying a third-party router can give you more bandwidth, faster performance, and even offer bonuses like multiple networks. Consider buying a router to improve network performance.
Can I still use my VoIP phone system if I lose power?
Since your VoIP phone system depends on an internet connection, you will lose access to your wired phones in your office if you suffer a power outage. However, many VoIP providers like RingCentral offer mobile apps that let you make calls on your personal smartphone. This means you’ll be able to use your work phone as long as mobile networks are up and running.
Bottom Line – VoIP Tests
Your VoIP phone system is an important part of your organization’s workflow. Testing its performance regularly can help you spot problems in your network and solve them before they become a disaster for your company.
RingCentral is one of the best VoIP services around. It comes with advanced call management features that let you route, block, and hold your calls with ease. It also comes with CRM integration and multilevel auto-attendant at an affordable price. Get started with RingCentral today.