All web-based software can experience performance issues relating to the connections and its operational environment. Existing systems or connection issues may not be as noticeable during normal usage of Outreach functionalities, but can become more outstanding when using Outreach voice, which contains more strict bandwidth requirements.
Outreach uses Twilio as an underlying VOIP provider. Due to the nature of VOIP services overall, call quality can highly depend on the network speed, number of concurrent calls, the specific client device, etc. To help our customers optimize the quality of Outreach voice, we have compiled a list of best practices for both end users and org IT administrators (network engineers) when setting up Outreach Voice.
Please review the information below, and if you have any question, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Best Practices for End Users
OS, Browser & Hardware
The device hardware requirements are dependent on a combination of multiple factors, but generally we recommend:
1.Use the most recent version of Google Chrome:
- The three latest versions of the the Chrome browser provide the best performance when using Outreach Voice
- If Chrome browser is not available, user can also use the recent versions of Firefox
- Note: Outreach Voice is only compatible with webRTC (Web Real-Time Communication) supported browsers, therefore Safari is not supported. For more detail on whether your browser is supported, please visit: http://clientsupport.twilio.com/
2. Have 8GB of memory
3. Close any CPU/network intense webpages such as video/audio streaming service
4. Use an ethernet cable if available to reduce the latency caused by WIFI.
In the unlikely scenario that Outreach calls drop, intermittent issues in Outreach VOIP can be resolved by clearing the browser cache. You can clear the cache on your chrome browser via the following steps
- Open the Chrome history page: Ctrl-Shift-Delete (Windows) or Command-Shift-Delete (Mac)
- In the dropdown select "the beginning of time"
- Select the "Cached images and files", "Cookies..." & "Hosted app data" checkboxes
- Click "Clear browsing data"
Headsets can improve audio quality by minimizing echo challenges. We recommend using a headset on Outreach VOIP calls to provide acoustic isolation between the speaker and microphone, and to minimize echo.
Headset for lower-end PC hardware: For lower-end PC hardware, we recommend USB Headsets, rather than 3.5mm jack headsets, which bypass the native sound board. For computers with a higher-end integrated sound board the 3.5mm connection is fine.
When selecting bluetooth hardware: Bluetooth headsets can present unique challenges, as each headset operates differently. If your headset came with a USB bluetooth adapter, we recommend you use the USB adapter, rather than bluetooth, to avoid bluetooth interoperability issues.
Note that a ‘static’ noise issue with your client audio is often due to a misbehaving or misconfigured headset. If you are experiencing static, try with different headset hardware or no headset hardware to narrow down potential sources.
Unsure whether your existing headset would work? Check our how to test your speaker/mic in Outreach based on our best practice.
Best Practice for IT Admin/Network Engineers
Outreach VOIP uses webRTC, making performance largely dependent on the connection established between your network and Twilio servers. This section contains some network optimization that can improve the performance of Outreach Voice.
- Minimum bandwidth: Twilio suggests minimal 100 kbps symmetrical connection for each concurrent call. You can use this link to test your existing network bandwidth.
- Recommended bandwidth: Typically we see reps engaging with other network activities while on the call (such as updating CRM record, navigating between different websites for research, etc.). If you engage in these network activities while calling prospects, we recommend 300-500kbps bandwidth for each concurrent calls.
Your firewall should allow outgoing UDP to the the public internet from the browsers that will be using Outreach voice, and allow return traffic in response. This article includes a list of server/client ports used by WebRTC, which is the underlying protocol used by Outreach.
You can find a fixed range of IP addresses to whitelist in this documentation.
Reducing Jitter and packet loss
Jitter, latency and packet loss are the biggest contributors to voice quality issues in any VOIP network.
- Jitter: When packets arrive in a different order compared to when they were sent. The main symptom is ‘choppy audio quality’
- Packet loss: Certain networks such as WIFI are prone to packet loss (also referred as a robotic sounding)
Outreach recommend the following best practice to avoid Jitter and Packet loss:
- Equip your reps with ethernet when possible.
- Reduce packet conflicts on WiFi by reducing the number of devices operating on the same channel. Avoid large data file transfers going over the same WiFi environment concurrently with voice.
- Configure your router with QoS rule to prioritize the traffic on the following UDP ports for webRTC, specifically port 443 and 10000-20000 mentioned in the document
- Configure your router with QoS rule to prioritize the traffic based on the IP ranges mentioned in this document.
- Avoid bufferbloat. Bufferbloat builds up large queues that causes noticeable latency and bursts of jitter in a VOIP call.
- We recommend ensuring your router is configured with a low buffer size. The perceived buffer size should be around 100ms or less.
Typical symptoms of latency are call delays or people talking on top of each other. Callers typically start to notice the effect of latency once it breaches 250ms for a “mouth to ear” trip, and above ~600ms the experience is unusable.
Note that there will always be some latency – the codec algorithmic time, the jitter buffer and the traversal time between Twilio server to your network will always introduce some level of latency. The object is to minimize it and keep the total trip time below 300-400ms for VOIP calls.
Strategies to minimize Latency:
- Some lower bandwidth fixed internet connections can often have a higher latency. If possible, upgrade your internet connectivity.
- LTE (mobile 4G Data) can often have high latency.
If your router includes SIP Application Level Gateway (ALG) function or Stateful Packet Inspection (SPI), disable both these functions.