Why latency matters for business VoIP calls?

Could latency be costing your business losses in revenue? Read our latest blog post to find out more.
On Tuesday 21 May 2019 by Caroline Leonard

Why latency matters for business VoIP calls? 

Could latency be costing your business losses in revenue? 10 years ago, Amazon found that every 100ms of latency cost them 1% in sales. (Source: Gigaspaces.com)   

Latency is a well-known cause of poor quality VoIP calls. As VoIP calls are real-time, even the slightest delay is noticeable. Persistent high latency can slow down conversations and lead to the dreaded 'talk over’ effect where one speaker interrupts the other unknowingly. 

Latency can also cause echoes making it difficult for the listener to hear and understand what has been said. The situation can be especially frustrating if one or both of the callers have pronounced accents, which can be the case with international business calls.(Source: onsip.com


So, what exactly is latency? 

Latency is the time between when you speak, to when the other person hears your voice. If latency values are high, it can lead to great difficulty in conducting conversations and cause frustration. A long delay in audio being received (or a highly variable delay) can have a severe impact on a customer’s experience, especially in a conferencing scenario, where larger numbers of people are trying to speak at once. 

Latency can be measured in one or both directions and is quantified in terms of milliseconds (ms). Gregg Communication Systems notes that “while VoIP has several different elements that are important, one of the most overlooked is network latency.  A mere 150 milliseconds of latency and you’ll start to experience issues in the quality of your calls.” One-way latency is the time it takes for a data packet to travel in one direction only and it is generally used to diagnose network problems. Two-way latency measures the round trip time and this figure is used to calculate MOS (mean opinion scores). 


What is VoIP? 

VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) allows individuals to make calls over the internet. 

VoIP technology converts your voice into a digital signal, allowing you to make a call directly from a computer, a VoIP phone, or other data-driven devices. Instead of sending the data through copper telephone lines of traditional PSTN  (public switched telephone network) , with VoIP, when a user speaks into their phone, technology converts that sound information into packets of data. Everything sent over the internet is transmitted as a “packet” of information, or data.

The quality of your VoIP call will ultimately depend on three things:

  • the quality of your internet connection
  • the quality of the internet connection at the receiving end of your call
  • the quality of the internet connection along the path in between.


What can be done to reduce latency and improve VoIP calls? 

As VoIP calls are so reliant on internet connections, it is virtually impossible to completely eliminate disruptions caused by latency. There are however a number of measures you can take to reduce latency and improve your organisation’s VoIP calls:

  1. Upgrade or replace slow networking equipment and devices 

Prioritize your network traffic based on the applications that are most important. For example, prioritize voice or video traffic. Consider investing in a VOIP-priority router, as downloading a large file while you’re on a call can significantly impact call quality.

Keep your devices up-to-date as this will help to ensure that there are no defects in the operating system causing packet loss.

  1. Improve or change your routing

If your data packets have to take two or more unnecessary journeys to reach their destination, then it makes sense to look in to changing or improving your routing. The data generated from the Spearline tests allows you to make informed routing decisions which have a positive impact in reducing latency values.

  1. Invest in sufficient bandwidth and choose the right Internet Service Provider (ISP)

Ensure your internet connection has adequate bandwidth for your calls and level of network usage.The transportation of voice packets requires particular internet protocols that your internet service provider may not provide. For businesses that have up to 10 phones in use at any given time, cable high speed internet providers generally offer “business class” service that is configured for VOIP traffic. 

  1. Implement Spearline’s latency tests

Our latency tests replicate your customers' call flow allowing you to quantify the amount of latency your customers experience. The Spearline latency test allows you to proactively measure and benchmark any delay, and, with repeated testing, spot where there are variations over time.

To find out more about our latency tests and how to set them up in your organisation, please download our latency fact sheet.

Our latest whitepaper seeks to characterise the state of today’s global network latency and the dynamic interplay of multiple carrier networks in varying geographical situations.   Download your copy today!

Is voice latency impacting your business growth?

If you are new to Spearline and would like to find out more about how you can benefit from our worldwide network of servers and carriers to replicate your customers’ experience from start to finish, please drop us a line. 


About us

Spearline is the leading network intelligence company in the telecommunications industry. Our platform enables enterprises and telecommunications service providers to test connectivity and quality on global telecoms networks, testing automatically at volume. If you are interested in benefiting from our platform, please get in touch with us.