When you have VoIP as your main means of telecommunications – as in many small- and medium-scale businesses – you would want to be able to constantly test and monitor your VoIP quality. The main purpose here is to plot expected quality fluctuations and perhaps plan crucial communications around these; or to assess VoIP service providers and switch providers when necessary.
For new individual users, especially those who use free VoIP accounts, testing VoIP quality can be a way to determine if VoIP is a good alternative to traditional and mobile telephony. It’s like dipping your toe in the water to see if you like how it feels.
Regardless of where you are in this spectrum of users, testing your VoIP quality is a good idea. You just need to keep in mind that the quality of your VoIP calls is not just about your VoIP service provider. It is also dependent on external factors, such as the quality of your network.
Here’s an array of testing and call quality monitoring tools to get you started:
1. Network Analyzer: This is also known as the packet analyzer or packet sniffer. The sniffer intercepts and logs traffic that passes through a network and analyzes this based on its RFC. For VoIP users, a network analyzer can be used to detect and analyze network problems. In VoIP, there is a minimum required consistency in network stability in order to conduct an audible conversation. Through analyzing your network, you can pinpoint where problems can arise. While this test is not strictly focused on VoIP, results can be indicative of whether or not VoIP works well on your network. End users can utilize this tool easily, with many offered as free downloads.
2. VoIP Analyzer: This is another testing tool that can be used by both end users, commercial users and service providers. It is similar to the Network Analyzer but goes a step further by decoding VoIP protocols and analyzing RTP streams. The VoIP Analyzer focuses on the packet loss, jitter and latency of network connections to determine its suitability for VoIP telecommunications. Several companies offer this service; albeit, with varying usability. Choose a service that can be used within seconds, and does not require complicated installations.
3. VoIP Probe: This VoIP testing tool is more suitable for service providers. Probes are implemented in key points of the network. Continuous testing and monitoring are done on call traffic to put together real-time call and stream audio quality metrics.
4. Voice Quality Tester: More a tool for service providers, the Voice Quality Tester is an intrusive testing tool that sends audio files through a network. It compares corrupted files against the original using either the P.862 or the P.OLQA