4 tips to improve your internet call quality when working from home

Nandhini Raghunathan profile image July 13, 2022 | 4 min read

When Alexander Graham Bell transmitted the first words ever spoken by telephone, it was a big deal. He said, “Mr. Watson, come here, I want you,” and Thomas Watson appeared from the next room.

This took place in 1876.

No doubt the sound quality of that historic call wasn’t quite as crisp and clear as what we expect from our phones today. But if you feel as though you’re still talking on a 19th century device, it’s time for an upgrade.

Working remotely requires exceptional sound quality, especially for a small business. Because your “Mr. Watson” isn’t in the next room, but across town, across the country—or even across the globe. Being able to do business successfully requires dependable call quality.

Here’s a smarter way to make business phone calls from home, with bells on.

Not just phoning it in

Today’s technology provides an ideal small business phone solution for maximizing call performance in your home office.

Digital phone calls can be made with an IP phone, an analog phone connected through an internal adapter, or softphones using mobile and desktop apps. Another term for this is VoIP, which stands for Voice over Internet Protocol.

Here’s how to get the best results on VoIP calls from home:

1. The need for speed.

Remember dial-up? Nobody could’ve had a VoIP conversation back then. In a petabyte world, however, internet speed is the name of the game. Make sure yours is consistent.

You can use a resource such as Ooma Office Speedtest to measure your internet connection speed. If you’re finding calls sometimes stutter or break up, try connecting your device through an Ethernet cable, which is usually faster than a wireless router.

If you need to rely on a wireless connection, you may want to relocate the router (for example: take it out of the closet) or re-evaluate where your phone is located in your office. Concrete walls, metal blinds, tinted glass and various other design elements can disrupt a Wi-Fi® signal.

2. Age matters.

Did we mention speed? In the early aughts, technology upgrades typically took place when you needed to add a phone line, or if you switched to a different phone service provider. Today, a wireless router that predates 2019 is considered a dinosaur. That’s because in 2019, the introduction of Wi-Fi 6 boosted speed and performance into the stratosphere. And it probably means your older router is no longer supported, so your networked wireless devices may be behaving like it’s 1999.

You can troubleshoot to see if the voice quality improves. If it doesn’t, upgrade your router’s firmware. You could contact your internet service provider for help. Or you can simply let Ooma manage your Wi-Fi while you focus on running your small business.

3. Becoming an audiophile.

You’ve scheduled a video chat with a promising new client. The call connects perfectly, but the audio has a 19th century echo. If Alexander were here today, he’d probably encourage you to test different microphones to improve sound quality.

Digital mics offer varying degrees of sensitivity. And the problem might be your headset. The sound quality that works well enough for short calls when you’re out running errands may be unacceptable for professional calls with clients and staff.

Before joining any videoconference meeting like Ooma Meetings, be sure to get the best audio by investing in a high-quality microphone.

If necessary, you can go slightly low-tech, by turning off the video portion of the call should you experience a freeze or some stuttering.

Keep in mind that audio problems could also originate on your customer’s end. You might suggest they explore an Ooma solution—after you’ve won their business, of course.

4. Hybrid: good for home and business.

A recent Accenture study found 83 percent of employees prefer a hybrid work model that combines remote and office work. This means having an IP phone at home is a great idea. An IP phone offers more versatility than a smartphone, making it easier to transfer calls, merge conversations, or anything else you need to maximize workplace efficiency and effectiveness.

However, as most of us have learned over the past few years, working from home can present a unique set of challenges. Some electronic devices can affect your wireless internet connection. According to Dell, devices such as two-way radios, baby monitors and microwaves can cause interference. And if there are others working (or playing) at home, there may simply be too many devices competing for the same internet connection.

If your home internet connection is too slow, try switching to your smartphone. You could make calls with your cell phone plan, or those with Ooma Office can use the free Ooma Office mobile app to make calls using their Ooma Office plan.

At the end of the day, small business digital phone service selection comes down to personal preference, and the type of business you have.

For instance, if you’re a real estate agent and on the go most of the time, you’ll want to be able to quickly switch from one VoIP device to another. You might use an IP desk phone at the office, then head to a showing and take a call via the Ooma Office mobile app on your iPhone or Android, and later make calls on your laptop while relaxing on the couch at home.

Key takeaway: Small businesses need the same versatility with phone service as with every other aspect of running a successful venture. VoIP is the 21st century answer to Bell’s brilliant invention: bringing your clients up close and personal, just as if they really are in the next room.

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