Troubleshooting VoIP Packet Loss


VoIP packet loss hits a business in many different ways and most typically has a slowly degrading impact on voice communications.

Monitoring and reporting quickly become the most important tools for systems administrators in times of crisis and emergencies; they tell admins where to focus their attention to get services back to acceptable operating levels.

When reports are not available as tools there are steps you can take to identify, minimize impact and ultimately solve VoIP packet loss.

Identifying and quantifying the types VoIP packet loss with monitoring and reporting is the proactive approach of healthy VoIP maintenance schedules.

There are two different types of packet loss that can occur in a VoIP system:

  • Receive Packet Loss - a packet is dropped somewhere in the network and is never delivered to the receiving system. In this case, you'll be looking for problems that cause packets to be discarded within the network.
  • Receive Packet Discard - a packet arrives at the receiver at a time when the packet cannot be used for audio playback. Receive packets discarded typically arrive late than too early, which can generally be stored into the playback buffer.

VoIP packet loss classified as Receive Packet Loss could be a bad link in the system which would effect every device connected to that network link. Network congestion during peak usage without proper quality of service monitoring could create overflow at routers and switches.

VoIP packet loss classified as Receive Packet Discard are typically found in networks lacking a quality of service configuration and may point to hardware assessments and potential upgrades.

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