In this unit, you’ll learn how to improve call quality with the Fastcall softphone. You’ll learn the tools available in Fastcall to help you troubleshoot, and the three main areas to check: your Internet connection, your computer memory, and your phone hardware.

Tools

Your team

Admins – Listen to your users! If they say they’re having call quality issues, they probably are.
Users – Report problems to your admins! They can’t help you if they don’t know there’s a problem.

The call quality indicator

This can be turned on by your administrator under Fastcall Settings > Devices

It shows up as a small icon on the widget during calls and will change from green to amber to red depending on the connection quality.

The Twilio Diagnostics tool

Found in the Fastcall widget menu, this runs a set of connectivity tests on Twilio.

Troubleshooting the softphone

Your Internet connection

The softphone uses your Internet connection. A poor Internet connection will lead to poor call performance. This one is easy to check. To see if the problem lies here:

  1. Ask – Does the Internet connection perform poorly for other tasks?
  2. Check – Use the Twilio Diagnostics tool. Particularly, look for the results from:
    • The bandwidth test – “During this test, the connection could have supported an average of roughly 7 simultaneous Twilio Client connections, ranging from 7 to 7 throughout the test. Each connection consumes roughly 100kBits/sec of bandwidth.”. You ideally want a bandwidth that supports two to three times the number of users you actually have.
    • The test call – “Twilio Client disconnected. Overall quality was: Excellent (4.41).”

If the problem is with your Internet connection, try:

  1. Switching from a wireless to a wired network
  2. Turning off high-bandwidth applications on the same network, such as your colleagues watching Netflix!

Your computer’s doing too much

If your computer is doing a lot of things at once, it can start to run slowly and the call quality will suffer. This is more difficult to check, as it might depend on what the user is doing when they make a call. To diagnose:

  1. Ask – Is the computer running slowly in general or are the fans making a lot of noise?
  2. Check – Use the Task Manager or Activity Monitor to see what’s using up the memory or CPU time
  3. Check – Use the Twilio Diagnostics tool to see what impact this is having on call quality. You want to look at the result from the test call – “Twilio Client disconnected. Overall quality was: Excellent (4.41)”
  4. Check – Can I use other similar call or video chat services on this computer successfully?

If the problem is that your computer is too busy, try:

  1. Closing the programs that are making it busy
  2. Closing web browser tabs
  3. Turning it off and on again (no, seriously – this can often fix problems caused by crashed programs)

Your phone hardware

Computer audio hardware isn’t very good, especially on laptops. Poor quality speakers and microphones can make your life hard. Fortunately, this is both easy to check and fix. To check:

  1. Place a test call from your computer to anything else and listen from both sides! You don’t even have to use Fastcall for this…

To fix this:

  1. Get a headset. You don’t need to spend a lot of money – even just using a hands-free kit that comes with a mobile phone is better than most laptop microphones. However, you’ll notice huge improvements with high-quality, noise canceling headsets.