Voice over IP (VoIP) is like a lot of technologies. It appears to be straightforward enough and most of the time it just works, which is exactly what you would want it to do of course. But that apparently simple, plug-in-and-go operation masks a lot of complexity. As with any technology things can and occasionally do, go wrong.
But what should you do when that happens with your home VoIP? What’s the best and fastest way to solve issues with VoIP technology and services? Below, we outline some of the things that can go awry and what you can do about them when they do.Back to top
Problems of VoIP at home
Problems that develop with a VoIP system may not be anyone’s fault but just a symptom or knock-on of something else that has happened. There may be a quirk as a result of the initial set-up or a small change to the configuration that causes an issue. It may be nothing to do with you or your VoIP service provider, in fact. But whatever the root of the problem, you’ll want to get it sorted quickly and get normal service resumed as soon as possible.
The kind of problem you have will be the first clue to what might be causing a problem with your home VoIP service. If there is a complete loss of service, for example, it might just be that the broadband is down (that’s easily checked and usually quickly resolved) or that there is a problem at the service-provider’s end. But there could be other reasons for a loss of service.
If it’s a quality issue, if calls suddenly drop-out, the connection is not made properly, or there is some other intermittent issue, there could be any number of causes. Whatever the problem, you will almost certainly need to through a quick process or elimination to determine the cause and address it. You may well need help from your service provider or trusted third party reseller.Back to top
VoIP problems and how to solve themBack to top
No service / dial tone
Check that your broadband line is not down, and your router is working properly. If the broadband is down, you won’t have any Internet either, so that is obvious. If this happens, check what’s happening with your service provider. Use your smartphone to check their website for reported outages and information, or call customer support. Broadband outages happen, but they are quite unusual and are often resolved in minutes.
If the broadband is working, it may be your router that has a problem. On most routers, there will be an indicator light to show that it is working normally – on BT routers it’s usually blue. Even if it looks OK, it may be worth rebooting the router. That might sort the problem out, it might not.
A third possibility here would be that your VoIP service provider has a problem and that its own systems have crashed or failed for some reason. If everything at your end looks OK, you need to contact customer support.Back to top
VoIP phone seems to be dead
VoIP handsets need power to run – only a small amount, but without it, they just won’t work. If you have a VoIP handset that plugs into a normal AC socket, check it’s in properly and the connector is OK at the handset end as well. If that’s OK and the power is definitely on, there may be a fault with the handset itself – and it may need to be replaced.
Where your phone is AC-powered it will normally use WiFi to connect to your broadband router. But other VoIP phones use PoE – Power over Ethernet – to both provide a wired connection to the router (which should give you a clearer call quality) and provide the small amount of electric power needed to keep charged-up. If you have a PoE handset, there could be a problem with the PoE power source, or with the Ethernet cable. The PoE source will usually be a small injector or switch. PoE may have been turned off for some reason (via a physical switch or more likely a software setting), or the PoE device may have developed a fault.Back to top
Handset appears to be on and working – but there is no sound
If you are using WiFi, this could mean that the WiFi is not working or has been turned off somehow on the router. If you have a wired connection between the handset and the router, it could just be plugged into the wrong socket. Or not plugged in properly. You just need to check the right cables are in the right ports.
Another issue could be that no IP address has been assigned to the handset. This might be solved by resetting the router. If you have added a new device, such as a Powerline adapter or a PoE injector, that could also be the cause. You may need to refer to the instructions given for installation or seek expert assistance.
It could just be that the connecting cable between the router and the handset is damaged. If that looks likely, try replacing it.Back to top
Problems with logging-on or calling
If your VoIP phone won’t log-on / register, or you have problems with making or taking of calls – for example, if the phone carries on ringing after the call is picked up or when you are on a call you can hear them – but they can’t hear you, there could be a specific problem with the router’s software – or application layer gateway (ALG). It may be that it is configured incorrectly or has been changed for some reason. if you have made any changes, try reversing them. Otherwise, re-setting the router may do the trick. If not, you need to contact your VoIP service provider or reseller.Back to top
Patchy call quality
If you are getting breaks in audio, or the caller at the other end is experiencing problems, or you have crackling or jittery reception, it’s almost certainly down to either the connection between tour handset and the router, or a fall-off in broadband bandwidth.
If you are using WiFi to connect the handset, try plugging it into the router directly. If that does not work, check the broadband itself is stable. If you are experiencing problems with the Internet, that’s a sure sign of broadband issues and you need to contact your Internet services provider (ISP).
If the broadband is OK, you need to go back to the WiFi or wired connection. If it’s not practical to connect using a direct link, you may need to change the router or get a signal booster or Powerline adapter. If there is still a problem using a wired connection, you need to contact your VoIP provider or reseller.Back to top