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Using with a Smartphone

posted Dec 16, 2013, 2:53 PM by EZvoip Co   [ updated Sep 10, 2015, 9:07 AM ]
Many, if not most of our customers are using our service with a smartphone. Though we welcome this development, use with a smartphone presents a unique set of challenges. In particular, making IP-calls across 3G and WLAN does not work well if you are moving around or have a weak signal, and this is not a limitation of our service, but rather a limitation of the technology; such calls don't usually work well with your cell phone provider either.

First, you probably want to install and use a SIP client for VoIP. Linphone Zoiper is our recommended client for virtually all mobile platforms, including Android, iTunes, Blackberry and Windows Phone. You may find additional clients as follows: 

In particular, the Internet connection will always be wireless and as such inferior to a wired connection. Though it is possible to have a flawless conversation over WiFi, for certain setups, that is more the exception rather than the rule. If you are using a "Data / 3G / 4G" connection - i.e., the Internet you get from your cell phone provider - your connection might be intentionally degraded or limited by your provider, but it is often times possible to use it. Incoming calls may be harder to set up.

One simple way to increase the quality of your connection is to use wired headphones and keep the phone away from you, in a position where it gets the strongest WiFi signal. This will also save your brain from being "microwaved" even though VoIP over WiFi or even the Data / 3G / 4G connection is not as bad as most mobile voice connections. As always, it also helps if the Internet connection is not saturated (overused) and the router is configured for QoS. An old router may also cause the connection to suffer. Finally, quit and remove from the memory of your phone all programs you are not using, so that the SIP / VOIP program you use to make phone calls has all the resources it needs.

You may also be able to achieve a marked improvement in connection quality by finding the best codec for your situation. (A "codec" is the compression scheme used to "pack" voice data for transmission over the Internet.) We are offering currently G.711U, G.729A and gsm - various softphones may use slightly different names for them: for instance, G.711U may sometimes be called "u-law", "mu-law" or "μ-law". G.729A is usually expensive and not implemented in free applications, and while it manages to compress voice data very well, the quality may be unacceptable to some. GSM compresses data even more to the point where there is a noticeable decrease in quality. G.711U offers perhaps the best and most natural voice quality and we recommend it, if you have the bandwidth. If you are not happy with voice quality, we recommend you force the use of G.711U or u-law and disable GSM.

If you find yourself often using our services somewhere where a wired connection is possible - for instance, at home or at the office, consider setting it up on a desktop computer, laptop or tablet. Better yet, using a dedicated fixed device such as an ATA, connected to your router, with a corded or cordless phone is perhaps the most relaxed and comfortable use of VoIP - it's as reliable as a landline phone, but without the expense and with better voice quality. Ask us about it, we might be able to provide it for free.