How to Test Your VoIP Connection

Using PING to Test Clarity

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The quality of a VoIP call depends a lot on your internet connection. Too many lost packets indicate that your conversation won't be clear. You can determine the health of your internet connection and its ability to quickly carry packets to a destination machine using a method called PING (Packet Internet Groper). It sounds geeky, but it is easy to use, and you learn something useful.

Use PING to Test for VoIP Connection Quality

Follow these steps to test your internet connection:

  1. Try to find out the IP address of the gateway of your VoIP provider. You can call the company and ask. If the company won't release it, then try with any IP address or use this example IP address from Google: 64.233.161.83.
  2. Open your computer's command prompt. For Windows 7 and 10 users, click the Start button and in the search box that appears just above it, type cmd and press Enter. For Windows XP, click the Start button, click Run and type cmd in the text box and then press Enter. A window with a black background should open with white text inside and a blinking cursor, taking you back to the early days of computers.
  3. Type the PING command followed by an IP address—for example, ping 64.233.161.83—and press Enter. If you have your gateway’s address, use it instead of this example IP address.

After a few seconds or longer, four or more lines should appear, each saying something like:

  • Reply from 64.233.161.83: bytes=32 time=51ms TTL=54

    To keep things simple, you should be interested only in the time value on each of the four lines. The lower it is, the happier you should be. If it goes higher than 100 ms (that’s milliseconds), you should worry about your connection. You probably won't have a clean VoIP voice conversation.

    • When the process is complete, press Ctrl + C to summarize the results and show the number of packets sent, received and the percentage of packet loss. You should have reasonable quality with a loss of no more than 5 percent.
    • If instead of showing values, the PING test shows Request timed out, it means that no packet reached the destination and returned. You either have no connection or you have a wrong IP address or one that is unreachable.

    You can use PING tests for checking any connection. Each time you need to check your internet, do a PING test. You can also test your success when trying to connect to a router or hub on a network. Just PING the device’s IP address, which is often generically 192.168.1.1. You can test the TCP networking modules of your own machine by pinging your own machine, by always using 127.0.0.1, or by replacing that address by the word localhost.

    If PING doesn't give you the information you need, use online speed tests to test your internet connection and VoIP utilization. 

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