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How to improve Lync Skype audio call quality with client

How to improve Lync / Skype audio call quality using client? 

While performing Lync / Skype for Business Admin role you may receive complain from users that they are getting audio disturbance, call voice quality is poor / bad, unable to hear other party, unable to receive call, etc.

These are all complaint comes under voice / audio poor quality issues.  

If you are seeing poor call quality issues organization wide then you may have check your Lync / Skype server performance, you may use Key Health Indicator (KHI) report to know front end and backend performance issues or resource constraints, you may need to check with your network team for packet loss or bandwidth related problems, may be you implement QoS (Quality of Services) etc. this all issues are out of scope from this article.  

In this article we are manly talk about client side issue which may contribute audio call quality. 

If you already corrected server side, network side issues and still receives poor call quality complaint then this article may help you.

I have seen most of the time users receive bad audio due to his third party audio device, drives, laptop, operating system etc.  

Here are the best practice to correct client side issues. 

What things need to keep in mind while setting up an IP phone?

It is important that your IP phone is connected correctly. Check the following:

·        Power cord:   Make sure the power cord is plugged into a power outlet, and the other end of the power cord is securely connected to the phone.

·        Network cable:  Make sure one end of the network cable is plugged in to the network jack marked LAN, typically on the back of the phone, and the other end of the network cable is plugged in to a network jack on the wall.

·        USB cable:   Make sure the Type A (larger, rectangular) end of the USB cable is plugged in to the computer, and the Type B (smaller, square) end of the USB cable is plugged in to the back of the phone.

How to improve audio quality using device?

You may try the following to improve audio quality:

·        Use a device optimized for Lync. For a list of devices that are optimized for Lync, see “Phones and Devices Qualified for Microsoft Lync”. Unapproved audio USB device potentially causing audio quality issues.

·        Uninstall any third-party, value-add audio drivers or software. I have most of time user install different audio drives to improve audio quality however that will degrade Lync / Skype audio quality.

·        Replace any defective or damaged devices.

·        Use a headset to avoid echo. [This is another important point where users use Laptop inbuilt audio Mic and speaker and this will downgrade the audio quality]

·        If using a noise-canceling microphone, make sure it is positioned approximately two centimeters (slightly less than one inch) away from your mouth. This filters out unwanted background noise.

·        Use an IP phone, if you:

o   Are doing CPU-intensive work.

o   Need uninterrupted phone access. Your USB phone, for example, does not work when your computer is in sleep mode.

o   Have enough bandwidth. Using an IP phone may reduce the bandwidth available to other programs and services.

·        If you hear a buzzing noise when using a headset connected to an IP phone, make a test call, and then adjust the volume setting on the headset until the buzzing noise is gone.

·        If using two separate devices for rendering and capturing audio (such as computer speakers and webcam), try to place them at an appropriate distance from each other to minimize echo.

·        When using the speaker on your phone and callers complain about background noise, make sure that the phone is placed on a flat surface. Also, make sure that there is no obstruction between the phone and your mouth.

·        If your device is plugged into a docking station, unplug it, and then plug it directly into your laptop.

·        Check for Windows updates: Click Start, click All Programs, and then click Windows Update.

·        Reinstall correct device drivers. 

Poor network connectivity can affect the audio quality of your calls. Do the following to improve network quality:

·        If you are making a long distance call, try switching to a landline.

·        Microsoft recommend that you do not make calls over a wireless Internet connection (Wi-Fi), virtual private network (VPN), or remote access service (RAS) connection.

·        If you can, stop unnecessary audio or video.

·        Check whether other computers on the network are using a lot of resources or performing heavy downloads or uploads, and see if they can be delayed or halted. 

How to troubleshoot single user audio quality issues?

You may try below:

1.    Example: If you receiving poor audio call issues from user ‘A’. You may need to check if this User ‘A’ sees poor audio call with every other users or only specific user. If only specific user then check:

a.     Does users account correctly configured for Lync / Skype?

b.    Does user using any third party device? If yes then disconnect device and then try audio call.

c.     Check user’s computer performance. If CPU / Memory utilization very high etc.

d.    Check if user using VPN, Wi-Fi connections etc.  

Thank you.


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