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Testing your VoIP

Posted by Michael Bloch in web marketing (Tuesday July 25, 2006 )

This is an interesting little online application. I use VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) extensively these days for marketing purposes or for calling colleagues and clients.

Overall, the system I use works very well, especially given that it only cost me around US $50 to set up, including the USA phone number. I just have a USB phone plugged into my computer and use Skype to make my calls – very economical.

I do find on rare occasions that the quality is such that I need to switch from VoIP to a normal landline or cell. Discovering this is fine when you’re not calling business associates, but can be a little embarassing if it’s the first time you’ve contacted a prospective partner or client.

These instances aren’t always the fault of Skype itself, more often than not it’s my ISP or elsewhere along the path to Skype’s servers. is a handy service for testing “line” quality from where you’re located to one of 7 countries before you make a call. It tests for latency, jitter and packet loss and results are presented as a simple comparative graph, or you can also select for an in-depth report.

Just to clarify a few terms:

Latency – the round trip delay of data. High latency can mean confusing conversations – dead silence for a while after having asked a question or you speaking over the other person accidentally – really confusing stuff.

Jitter – the variation of latency in a network. Too much jitter and really weird things can happen, such as packets of data containing your voice arriving at their destination in the wrong order, which then have to be put back into the correct order; causing a further delay in the person hearing your voice.

Packet Loss – losing packets of data can mean missing words, or entire sentences, can create some not so funny results at the other end! For example, I say:

“It’s really nice to speak with you about your products”

In a particularly bad packet loss scenario I guess it could wind up sounding like

“It’s really nice to speak with out or products”

So, before you make that all-important lengthy phone call via VoIP to seal a deal, you may want to give the application at a whirl – it’s free to use.


Learn more about VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol)


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