11 VoIP Troubleshooting Tips To Fix Everything Right Now


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VoIP calling is convenient because it’s easy to use, flexible, and affordable. It’s also subject to potential glitches and choppy sounds that may tempt you into using a landline instead.

Some of the most common issues affecting VoIP calls are:

  • Dropped calls
  • Mic echo
  • Delay
  • No audio or one-way audio

Fortunately, you can do something about these issues—and most aren’t going to require you to spend a dime. 

We’ve compiled a list of tips to help you fix your VoIP issues for good.

Since VoIP is available on many devices, our solutions are centered around use cases. Some of them will be more feasible if you’re using an app on a cell phone, whereas other alternatives will work if you’re having trouble with a desk phone. In every case, we’ll provide simple solutions to these frequent VoIP call problems.

1. Move Closer to the Router (Or Restart It)

This tip may sound too obvious, but it’s still strikingly effective.

When to use it? You’ll find this tip helpful if you’re taking calls from your laptop or cell phone, and you hear glitchy voices. Poor network connection can result in poor VoIP calling quality and cause some delay or packet loss. Signal strength could be the culprit.

Remember that a network’s signal strength, measured in dBm, is not the same as speed. Anything between -50 dBm and -70 dBm is considered excellent to good signal strength. The closer you are to the router, the stronger the Wi-Fi signal will be, and the less jitter you’ll have to deal with.

Why does it work? Wi-Fi signals are radio waves, and like all radio waves, they can be weakened by distance and obstacles. The weaker the Wi-Fi signal, the more likely it is that packets will be lost or altered. This can lead to poor call quality and choppy audio. If you try downloading a file with a poor Wi-Fi signal, you’ll notice how it’s considerably more difficult than when close to the router, even if you’re paying for an excellent download speed. Calls work the same way.

How to do it? It’s not just about getting closer. If possible, try to position your device within the line of sight of the router. The key is avoiding placing it behind obstacles, such as walls and furniture.

What if calls are dropping altogether? Will this work then? Moving closer to the router may help in some cases, but it is not a catch-all solution. An unstable internet connection, network congestion, a poor VoIP service provider, or a VoIP device that’s incompatible with the internet connection might be the cause of the inconvenience. So, before losing your temper, do this:

  • Check if your internet connection is stable enough.
  • If your network is congested, dial up your ISP’s Support number and let them know. (You may want to use a landline or non-VoIP service to do this.)
  • Make sure that your VoIP service provider is reliable and has a good reputation.

Finally, you can always restart your router or VoIP device to see if that works.

2. Close Unused Applications

If you’re using a softphone for VoIP calls, you might have several other apps running simultaneously, like Instagram, Google Maps, or a weather app. Close them! They could be the reason your calls drop.

When to use it? Try this fix when you are experiencing poor VoIP call quality on a Wi-Fi network, and you have also noticed that some other apps are running slowly.

Why does it work? When you have too many apps open at once, they start contending for bandwidth or RAM, which VoIP calls—and your softphone application—require.

How to do it? This depends on your operating system. Here are some tips for closing unused apps on computers:

  • On Windows, you can close unused applications by pressing Ctrl+Shift+Esc to open the Task Manager. Then, select the application you want to close and click End task.
  • On macOS, you can do it by pressing Command+Q or by clicking the red button in the top-left corner of the application window.

3. Try Using a Different Wi-Fi Band

When to use it? This fix is helpful when you’re on a device such as your laptop, but you’re still fairly stationary. The two most common Wi-Fi bands are 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz. You can opt for the 5 GHz band if you notice a poor connection on the other one.

Why does it work? The 2.4 GHz Wi-Fi band is usually more congested and has a longer range. The 5 GHz band has better speed. Despite it being able to provide a better performance because it is typically less clogged up, the 5 GHz band has a shorter range than the 2.4 GHz band. This means that you may need to be closer to the router to get a good signal on the 5 GHz band.

How to do it? You will just need to change the Wi-Fi band settings on your VoIP device. The specific steps to take will vary depending on the device you are using.

4. Update Your Router’s Firmware

When to use it? If you’ve already tried simple Wi-Fi solutions and your VoIP call is still experiencing packet loss and delay, the problem may have to do with your router’s outdated software. 

Why does it work? Firmware is software specifically designed for hardware devices like routers or handheld video game consoles. Just like your computer or smartphone needs updates to fix bugs and improve performance, routers also receive firmware updates to tweak up their functionality. When it comes to VoIP calls on a Wi-Fi network, updating the router’s firmware could help make sure the calls sound clear and don’t get all glitchy.

How to do it? Here are the steps you should follow:

  1. Find your router’s model: You can find this information on the manufacturer’s website or in your router’s documentation. Check the model and the latest firmware version available.
  2. Head to your router’s URL and log in: It’s usually If you don’t have the credentials to log in, request them from your ISP.
  3. Look for the firmware update section: It might be called Firmware Update, System Update, or something similar. 
  4. Download the latest firmware: Find it on the manufacturer’s website and save it on your device. Check is the correct version for your specific router.
  5. Upload the firmware to your router: You’re almost there! In the router’s web settings, find the firmware update section and choose the option to upload the firmware file you downloaded. Follow any instructions that pop up.
  6. Wait for the update to finish: Your router will restart during the update process. Be patient and let it complete the update.

Some ISPs don’t want you to meddle with their routers or modems. That’s why some firmware updates could stop running after you reset your router, which could happen accidentally if the power goes out in your neighborhood. So if you can’t update your firmware, call your ISP and ask them for a replacement.

5. Disable the SIP ALG Feature

We still haven’t finished with the router-related solutions. These tiny devices are more complex than they appear at first glance. And some features, such as the SIP ALG one, could work against your needs.

When to use it? Try this fix when you are still dealing with poor VoIP call quality, like one-way audio, dropped calls, or intermittent audio disruptions, you have tried every tip on the list, and you notice you have SIP ALG enabled on your router. 

Why does it work? SIP ALG is a router feature that should allegedly improve VoIP performance. However, it can occasionally have the opposite result—it can cause problems that negatively impact call quality. This is because not all VoIP services and devices communicate in the exact manner SIP ALG expects. Turning off SIP ALG can improve things by letting the VoIP calls work without the router getting in the way.

How to do it? Again, the steps to disable SIP ALG will vary depending on your router. However, most routers have a web interface that you can use to access the SIP ALG settings. Once you have found the setting, set it to Disabled or Off. If you can’t find this setting, you may want to contact your ISP.

6. Check Your Firewall Settings

Firewalls can sometimes block VoIP traffic because of port blocking, protocol inspection, or security policies. You could be left wondering why your softphone doesn’t have an internet connection, only to realize that it hasn’t been whitelisted in your OS’s firewall. But then again, a company could have a dedicated firewall protecting its network, so you should check on two instances.

When to use it? Give this a shot if your VoIP doesn’t work whatsoever and you’ve got a firewall set up. However, you may want to consult your IT department before messing with firewall settings, just to make sure everything remains secure.

Why does it work? Here are some common reasons why firewalls might block VoIP traffic:

  • Port blocking: Firewalls can sometimes block VoIP traffic because they don’t recognize the specific “ports” used for VoIP communication.
  • Protocol inspection: Some firewalls inspect the content of data packets. If they can’t identify the VoIP protocol, they might block it, thinking it’s potentially unsafe.
  • NAT issues: VoIP and firewalls often have trouble with Network Address Translation (NAT). If the firewall doesn’t handle it properly, VoIP traffic can be disrupted.
  • Stateful inspection: Firewalls keep track of connections. If they lose track of a VoIP call, they might block it accidentally.
  • Security policies: Sometimes, firewalls are set too strictly, unintentionally blocking legitimate VoIP traffic as part of a broader security strategy.

How to do it? If you want your VoIP calls to work smoothly through a firewall, you might have to set limits to its overprotective fence. This involves ensuring the firewall knows and approves the special “doors” (ports) and “languages” (protocols) that your VoIP service uses. Many modern firewalls have options that make this setup easier, like specific settings for VoIP or “VoIP pass-through” features.

7. Choose Your Codecs

How to do it? If you want your VoIP calls to work smoothly through a firewall, you might have to set limits to its overprotective fence. This involves ensuring the firewall knows and approves the special “doors” (ports) and “languages” (protocols) that your VoIP service uses. Many modern firewalls have options that make this setup easier, like specific settings for VoIP or “VoIP pass-through” features.

VoIP codecs compress and decompress audio data and allow calls to be sent through the internet. If they aren’t correctly configured or are incompatible with your network conditions, they can lead to typical VoIP call issues that could be solved just by picking a different one.

Screenshot of an article from the Nextiva blog about VoIP codecs and how they affect call sound quality.
Source: https://www.nextiva.com/blog/voip-codecs.html

VoIP codecs sound more abstract than what they are. Codecs are everywhere. JPG is a very famous one. FLAC and MP3 are two famous audio codecs and are usually pitted against each other. One prioritizes fidelity, while the other one is light and agile. Each has its advantages and drawbacks. Both are playable audio, but you’ll only get the FLAC files if you have a very solid bandwidth available, and you have an excellent audio setup. VoIP codecs work the same way.

When to use it? Codecs compress the data packages and should match your internet connection. If your VoIP calls aren’t clear, it could be because the way your voice is sent over using a codec doesn’t match your internet speed. For example, you could be using a “fast” codec on a slow internet connection. So, if you’ve ever experienced choppy, glitchy sounds over WhatsApp or a conference call, it could be because the codecs don’t match the connection.

Why does it work? There are plenty of codecs out there, and they have their strengths and weaknesses. Some are suitable for fast internet connections, while others work better with slower ones. Some prioritize voice quality, while others focus on conserving data. But you might be using the default options, while a bit of tweaking could improve things on your end.

By adjusting your VoIP codec, you can choose the one that’s best for your network speed and the quality you want. For instance, if your call quality isn’t great on a slow connection, consider switching to a codec designed for slower connections.

How to do it? Many VoIP apps and devices have a settings menu where you can pick the codec you prefer. The G.729, Opus, and G.711 are considered adequate options by industry experts.

To tweak your VoIP codecs, you’ll want to find out which codecs your VoIP service supports. Once you know which codecs you can use, you can try them out to see which one makes your calls sound the best, based on your network setup.

8. Use the QoS Feature

When to use it? If you’ve already tried adjusting codecs or checking the firewall settings and your VoIP calls are still full of mic echoes and packet losses, consider using a router’s QoS feature. This is a feature designed to prioritize certain types of traffic, and it can help to improve VoIP call quality by reducing jitter and latency.

Why does it work? QoS can put VoIP calls first in line. This means that when you’re talking on VoIP, your voice data gets sent and received faster than other data, like web pages or YouTube videos.

How to do it? To set up your router to give special attention to VoIP calls, you’ll need to go into your router’s settings. The way you do this can be a bit different depending on your router, but most of them have a web interface you can use.

Once you’re in the settings tab, look for QoS or Quality of Service. You’ll want to create a rule that tells your router to prioritize VoIP traffic. To complete this, you’ll typically need to specify a few things:

  • The type of traffic VoIP uses.
  • The port numbers that VoIP traffic uses, like 5060 or 5061.
  • And you’ll want to give VoIP traffic a high priority, so it gets through quickly.

After you’ve set up this rule, remember to save your changes and restart your router. This helps your router know that VoIP calls should get special treatment for smoother conversations.

9. Use a Wi-Fi Booster

When to use it? A Wi-Fi booster, also known as a repeater, is a device that amplifies the Wi-Fi signal, allowing it to reach further and provide stronger coverage. If you’re experiencing poor call quality, a Wi-Fi booster may help.

Why does it work? A Wi-Fi booster is like a helper for your Wi-Fi. It takes the signal from your router and boosts it up, making the Wi-Fi bars more powerful. After this boost, it spreads the signal further, ensuring your Wi-Fi works better in those places where your VoIP calls used to sound choppy.

How to do it? Using a Wi-Fi booster is pretty straightforward. First, plug it into an electrical outlet to power it up. It’s like turning on a helper for your Wi-Fi. Once it’s all powered up, it will start looking for networks all by itself. When it finds your network, just connect to it.

Once it’s linked to your Wi-Fi, it will do its magic and make the signal stronger. It could solve your VoIP headaches.

10. Wire Up: Use a VoIP Phone Adapter (ATA) or Ethernet Cable

When to use it? You don’t have to depend on wireless connections to use VoIP. You don’t even need a VoIP phone.

If your Wi-Fi calls aren’t sounding good because of issues with your VoIP service or your shabby VoIP phone gear, it’s a smart idea to consider switching to a trustworthy analog phone with a VoIP phone adapter, often called an ATA. This little gadget changes regular phone signals into digital ones.

Why does it work? ATAs are pretty versatile. They can work with lots of different VoIP service providers and phone gear. So, if you’re having a tough time getting your phone equipment to play nice with your VoIP service, or if your calls don’t sound good, using an ATA could be the fix you’re looking for.

How to do it? To use an ATA, you’ll need to connect it to two things: your router and your phone gear. How you do this might change depending on the brand and type of ATA you have, but usually, you’ll follow these steps:

  • Hook up the ATA to your router with an Ethernet cable.
  • Connect your phone gear to the ATA using a phone cable.
  • Set up the ATA, so it knows how to link to your VoIP service provider.

With the ATA, you can use your tried-and-true phone equipment to make and get calls just like usual. It’s like giving your old phone a new way to talk over the internet.

Or, if you have regular VoIP hardphones connected to your network via Wi-Fi, plug them in with an Ethernet cable. This may already be how you’re doing it since so many desk phones work on Power-over-Ethernet (POE), but we should mention it along the same lines as “restart your device.” It’s too obvious but too effective to bypass.

11. Using a Data Plan for VoIP? Don’t Move Too Much

When to use it? Our advice was focused on VoIP clients running in office environments, but VoIP allows you to take calls from anywhere, provided you have an internet connection. So, yes—you can take a company call from your cell phone while strolling through the park, provided you have a data plan, which you probably have. But you shouldn’t move too much. You can walk around, but not more than that.

Why does it work? 4G connections are decent enough to have an excellent end-to-end phone conversation, and you can take those on the move. Now, there’s a catch: when you’re moving around—especially in a car or train—and taking a VoIP call, your cell phone continually switches the cell tower from which it hooks a connection. When your phone changes cell towers, the link is handed off, and the call is interrupted. You’ll have noticed this slight freeze when talking over an app that uses the internet for calls, such as WhatsApp or FaceTime.

How to do it? Don’t move too much. Stay at a café, or park your car if you’re driving. 

Troubleshooting Will Fix Most Issues

VoIP is a widely used standard and many companies rely on it. That’s why you can be confident that if it’s not working all right, you’ll eventually get around it. If your trouble with VoIP persists, you might want to consider a different installation process or even a different VoIP service. You’ll find one for your specific needs.

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