VoIP Jitter: Fundamentals of Network Jitter Explained

Network jitter and packet loss are the roots of the VoIP problem. Even for a trained IT professional, troubleshooting VoIP can be a daunting prospect. The good news is that the root causes of network congestion can usually be easily resolved. The high quality of your phone calls will soon be restored.

Have you ever experienced a VoIP call where the sound suddenly becomes choppy, the words become jumbled, or entire sentences disappear? One of VoIP’s many advantages is that it can function independently of the traditional PSTN (public switched telephone network) that relies on copper telephone lines. One of the reasons business VoIP is so effective and inexpensive is that it can use existing internet infrastructure.

However, VoIP’s main selling point and, in fact, the service’s entire backbone, its dependence on an internet connection, can also be a major downside. Jitter occurs whenever your internet connection is inadequate. Jitter can be a productivity killer for those who aren’t aware of its effects, but it’s often easy to identify and fix.

The Fundamentals Of Voice Over IP Call Quality

VoIP calls are made by sending data or voice packets over the internet rather than using a traditional phone line. In a voice-over-Internet Protocol (VoIP) call, your voice is converted from analog to digital and then sent in discrete data packets. At their destination, these digital packets are decoded back into analog sound. The entire process takes place in the blink of an eye, with each data packet containing only about 20 ms of audible information.

network jitter voip

Despite the apparent ease of this procedure, there are a few things that can degrade the sound quality of your call and force you to cut it short. The quality of your VoIP calls will improve if you take the following measures:

  • Jitter
  • Latency
  • Data Corruption Caused By Packet Loss

Let’s take a deeper dive into these problems and the solutions that have been proposed so far.

Instability In Voice-Over-IP Connections

Data packets must be sent from one user to another in order for a Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) or Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) call to go these bits of data to take various routes before arriving at their destination. For this reason, not all data packets will arrive at their destinations at the same time.

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VoIP jitter occurs when data packets arrive at their destination at different times rather than simultaneously. Essentially, the delivery order of the packets is not maintained. This can result in muddled or otherwise unusable audio on your VoIP calls.

voip jitter diagram

How Is The Network Jitter Resolved?

A jitter of 30 ms or less is considered acceptable in most situations. More than that, however, you may experience serious call quality issues that disrupt your calls and undermine your customer service efforts. As a result, if you’re experiencing jitter problems. The first step is to ensure that your network and internet connection is stable.

Jitter buffers are another option for addressing jitter in networks. Put simply, this is a repository for received and stored packets. After that, they are dispersed at regular intervals to guarantee sequential movement.

VoIP Latencies

Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) latency describes a delay in a conversation. To be more precise, it is the time lag between when a caller speaks and when the receiver hears the audio. The callers may end up talking over each other or hearing echoes due to the time lag.

Calls made internationally may be subject to longer delays than calls made within a country. Although it’s never ideal, users are more forgiving of delays in long-distance calls than in local ones.

Troubleshooting The Problem

The quality of a VoIP call may or may not be impacted by a delay in network connectivity. However, this results in a less-than-desirable caller experience, leading to misunderstandings and frustration.

what is voip jitter

As with jitter, network congestion is usually to blame for latency. One solution is to give VoIP traffic higher priority than other data when sending it over a network. This and other problems that may arise within a VoIP phone system can be mitigated with a high-quality VoIP router.

What Exactly Is Jitter?

We can now begin to dissect the jitter problem because we know how VoIP transmits data over the internet. Due to the fact that your voice data is being broken down into discrete packets, the information may not be transmitted in the same order as it was spoken.

It’s possible for certain packets to reach the recipient quicker than other packets, due to network interference or congestion. Jitter or even packet loss can occur in a VoIP call if the quality of the underlying internet connection is poor.

A jitter is when certain packets of information are dropped, or sent out of order, leading to a jumbled conversation. Simply put, jitter is when the information arrives at the recipient’s line out of order — they will not be received in the same order in which they are sent. This phenomenon will generally be measured in the milliseconds of delay, and if the jitter is beyond 40 or 50ms delay, your call quality will degrade massively.

Exactly What Is The Root Cause Of Jitter?

While the exact culprit can be a bit difficult to determine, there can be a few reasons for experiencing jitter in your phone calls. Since we are utilizing an internet connection to make phone calls and send voice data, call quality simply comes down to the quality of your internet connection. Anything that interferes with your internet connection will also interfere with your VoIP call quality.

network jitter voip

Network Congestion — Probably the most obvious and common cause of jitter is simply an overcrowded network. If you have too many devices hooked to the same network, all being used at the same time, you will slow down the connection. Insufficient bandwidth to handle a VoIP call will lead to packets being dropped or delivered out of order.

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Wireless Networks Despite the advantages of mobility and the elimination of cables in the workplace. Wireless connections typically suffer from interference and latency. WiFi works well enough for our mobile devices, but it isn’t always strong or reliable enough for our phone calls.

Inadequate Hardware — Most home and office internet networks consist of at least a modem, router, and occasionally switches. Problems with call quality can be caused by faulty hardware like old modem, broken Ethernet cable, or poorly configured router.

The Final Analysis

In comparison to traditional business phone service, VoIP can save a ton of money while providing superior functionality. Unfortunately, some of VoIP’s advantages can also lead to subpar connections. VoIP calls can be interrupted or delayed if your internet connection can’t handle the traffic.

Jitter is the most common and it’s responsible for many people giving up on VoIP in favor of telephone service. However, jitter is simple to identify and treat once it is recognized. In most cases, a faster internet connection is all that is required. If you spend some time and money on your network, your VoIP calls will be clear and problem-free.

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