How can I get the latency/delay out of my phone calls?
September 12, 2011 11:22 AM Subscribe
How can I get the delay/latency out of my cell-via-network-extender calls or Skype calls or both? Verizon says it's Comcast and Comcast says everything's fine. Could it be my router? Is this just par for the course? I don't want to go back to landline but have to have a good phone line for my home business.
posted by Askr to Computers & Internet (8 answers total)
I use a Verizon network extender (a.k.a femtocell) to be able to get cell reception in my home. But when I make or receive calls, there is a delay/latency between when I start/finish speaking and when the other person hears that start/finish. Same thing in the other direction. So we trip over each other's sentences and it's easy to think the other person is interrupting you or that it's your turn to speak when it's not yet. The same thing happens when I try Skype as an alternative.
I route calls to my cell number via Google Voice, but the issue is the same if someone calls my Verizon cell number directly or if I call out from my cell, so that doesn't appear to be a contributing factor. It never created a delay back when I had it route to my T-Mobile cell (when I could get a signal).
I've recently started a home business, so I can't be playing around with this problem. I have to have a reliable phone connection. It's surprising how this small delay can mess up a call and give a bad impression but it really can. I really don't want to go back to landline after so long but it's looking like my only hope unless you Obi-Wans can help.
Is there anything I can do to the network extender, the router, or the internet signal to cut the latency down to acceptable levels?
Deeper detail/history below, but that's the gist of it.
Here's what I've tried so far:
Verizon: It's Comcast's Problem: I called Verizon for help. They ran me through tests on several different sites to measure not just connection speed but connection quality (measured several things like "jitter" and other readings). They said my connection is not consistent enough to properly support voice calls. They said sometimes it was good enough and sometimes not, based on those test results. I thought that didn't sound right because there's always latency in the calls, not just sometimes. They said talk to Comcast because it's a connection problem.
Comcast: Made Some Tweaks - Everything's Great: I called Comcast and told them what was up. They sent someone out. He did tests with his meter and found that there was in fact trouble - some kind of signal noise/interference. He found that my drop (the cable from the pole) had been worn through up by the pole due to rubbing against something in the wind and that the guts of the cable at that point were starting to corrode. Replaced it. Also replaced the various small cables and connectors in the little cable box outside (I live in a salty environment that corrodes everything quickly). Then he came back in and did his tests with his meter and it was fine. He ran me through some online tests too and I was great. Quick ping, few or zero dropped packets.
Problem Still There: So I tried some phone calls while he was still there and the problem was still there, cell and Skype. He said my service was running great and that was everything they could do on their end. He suggested connecting my computer to my router via ethernet instead of going wifi because it would be faster than my circa 2008 Linksys WRT54GL router could do via its Wireless G signal. I tested that and he's right that it's slightly faster, but there's still enough latency for some conversational stubbed toes. And that doesn't help me on incoming cell calls anyway.
Could It Be The Router? The 3G network extender is wired to the router via ethernet. The computer is connected to the router via wifi or ethernet. It would seem that the problem is upstream of both the computer and the network extender since both experience the same delay. Comcast says I'm good. So could it be the router? It doesn't have wireless N but it would seem the issue is in the wired connection if it's anywhere in the router, not so much the wireless since the problem is the same through the network extender, which is hard wired to the router. I'm pinching every penny as I try to keep my business afloat, but I'll buy a new router if that's the problem. I just don't want to buy it if it's probably not the problem.
What could the root of this problem be and how can I beat it?
Is this simply a fact of VOIP and VOIP-esque communications at this point? Do I have to get a landline? If so I'll route Google voice to ring both cell and home and just pick up the home phone when I'm home. But then I also have to call out with it, which gives people a third number for me after the Google Voice number on my business cards and the cell number they'll have if I've ever called them by cell. And plus I'll have to get separate voicemail or answering machine for the home line in case people call it directly. Do not want. Halp.