Packet Loss

What is packet loss?

A VoIP call involves sending audio data across the Internet in digital packets. If any of these packets get “lost in the mail” and fail to transmit fully, you’re experiencing packet loss. 

It’s natural for VoIP calls to experience a packet loss of 2% or less, but when packet loss rises too high you may see significant problems like poor call quality, choppy or delayed audio, dropped calls, or distorted voices. 

Why should you care about packet loss? 

Packet loss directly impacts the calling experience, which can lead to a decrease in customer satisfaction. 

But what causes packet loss? Here are just a few of the most common causes: 

  • Bandwidth limitations: If bandwidth usage is too high and becomes congested, the network may leave behind some data packets. Some might arrive late or end up lost entirely. You can detect what applications are causing data usage to exceed network capabilities with the right monitoring tools. You can also speak with your ISP to increase your total bandwidth if your needs grow. 
  • Software problems: Misconfigured software settings, programming errors, and bugs can lead to unexpected behavior on VoIP networks. Monitor your system resource usage through tools like Windows Task Manager to check whether any applications are using too much bandwidth. Network monitoring, in general, can help dig out the cause of packet loss. 
  • Faulty hardware: Some causes of packet loss can be as simple as a faulty networking wire. Physically check your Ethernet cables for exterior damage and make sure you fully plug them in. A more subtle issue could be outdated or faulty network devices like Internet routers and firewalls. Inspect your hardware carefully, especially if you’ve recently expanded your network. 
  • Network connectivity: Since many devices connect via Wi-Fi now, weak connectivity is a common cause of packet loss. Wi-Fi connections may face interference if your device is too far away from the router. 

  • Digital security: Packet loss may signify a Denial of Service (DOS) attack on the company network. A DoS attack intentionally overloads a network, slowing it down, and messing with communications. Monitor your network traffic for unfamiliar or suspicious activity. 

It’s worth checking your software for new updates, as they often fix excessive Internet usage in specific applications. You sometimes need to update manually as well even with automatic updates enabled. 

How does Sinch work with packet loss? 

Whether your calls are experiencing packet loss or not — it’s important to partner with the right network provider to provide the best possible user experience. 

Sinch’s tier 1 network and voice APIs make it easy for you to connect to your customers wherever they are in the world. With powerful PSTN-connected voice solutions like Operator Connect and Direct Routing for Microsoft Teams, SIP Trunking, app-to-app calling, and more — you never have to worry about packet loss or call quality.