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Dropped Calls and Sound Quality Issues : Causes and Solutions

dropped callsIn my 30 + years in the telecommunication industry, one problem I have seen consistently are issues related to drop calls and voice quality.

So let’s take a look at the causes and some solutions.

In in the 2020’s by and large the most common cause of dropped calls that my company has seen are due to problems with older phone systems that still are using copper phone lines or similar. Such problems existed  in 1920’s and still do in  this decade of the 2020’s.  In recent years problems with calls originating to or coming from cell phones have increasingly been contributing to problems with dropped calls.
One of the ironies of the dramatic improvement in cell phone service quality is that since one can rarely tell when another party is on cell phone or a  landline or VOIP line resulting landline or VOIP carriers getting the  blame for dropped calls that are in fact caused by cell phones.  The slight upside to this is that folks these days are less likely to assume  an abrupt end to a call is a deliberate act on the part of the caller.

Other causes of dropped calls include:

a) electrical power problems.

b) internet carrier problems — related to carrier provide modems.

c) user error, in which case it becomes an “accidental or deliberate disconnect” and not a dropped call.

d) on older non VOIP systems component issues.

e) user issues often related to persons new to the phone system.

f) problems related to a firewall. router or cabling issues or other IT issues.

On  VOIP systems however.., these problems along with sound quality issues most times are not due to phone carrier carrier  or issues with the phone carrier equipment ( including phones) but  one of 3 things;

  1. Issues related the your internet service provider. These issues can usually be corrected pretty easily by contacting the customer or technical support department of your internet service provider. When contacting them, first get a ticket number. 2nd include asking them to make sure everything in your carrier provided modem is set to allow, give priority to and/or not bloc SIP signals. 3rd ask them to also make sure  SIP ALG is turned off in the modem. In the rare times we have seen such  internet carrier support calls not completely solve the problem, we have found that insisting the carrier replace their modem has solved the issue.
  2. Make sure your ethernet switch or ( if you have a private router) is upgraded to the latest gigabyte technology and speeds.
  3. Talk to an  IT professional about providing a thorough check of your IT system for viruses. Viruses can infect a computer and/or computer network at any time. Many virus can take up massive amounts of bandwidth on even the fastest of internet circuits they can play havoc with your IP phones! If your office has a firewall, have your IT person make sure the setting are in compliance with the setting recommended by your VOIP carrier and the firewall software is up to date.

The best way to avoid dropped calls and sound quality issues is through the use of the modern business telephone system.

On older phone systems, if a component is about to go bad  dropped calls would be one of the problems one could experience.  If it is not a problem with the systems components  things that will cause a call to drop on a modern “land-line” system include a loss of electrical power and carrier issues. Switching to a VOIP system improves greatly the chances of this not occurring – but does not eliminate completely the potential for this problem to occur

So, what to do when you experience a dropped call:

  • Immediately make a note of the phone number dropped, the time and date of the dropped call and whether the call came from a cell phone or business phone line. Some phone carriers may  request a list of 5 to 10 such calls. This helps them better guide you to what items in your IT or internet carrier infrastructure needs to be addressed.
  • Call the dropped party back, apologize for the interruption and inform them that the drop was a technical problem, not a deliberate act.
  • If you have internet based (VOIP) phone service contact your  local internet  service carrier and create a service ticket.  In most cases your Internet provider can help  especially if provided the above information. As noted in this article earlier  in some cases you may need to insist they replace your/their modem.

If over  a period of several months you continue to experience dropped calls on a regular basis, consider changing local phone or internet service carriers.  Most often  however today’s carriers are very good at identifying  and fixing these issues.  As bothersome as these things are be  patient with your phone or internet carrier since it may take several reported incidents before they can clearly identify  and get a handle why this is happening.

If  ongoing  issues with dropped call  is getting especially frustrating – hang in there!  A solution can almost always be found! In the meantime consider taking a break and firing up a Jimmy Buffett tune on your computer or smartphone  until things finally get resolved!

Problems with dropped calls have been around the since the days of Alexander Bell. As good as our modern communications infrastructure is, I don’t expect them to go away anytime soon.  Take the advice I’ve given you here, and you’ll find the problem to be less pervasive, and frustrating.