Voice Over Internet Protocol (VoIP) Packet Loss

What Does Voice Over Internet Protocol (VoIP) Packet Loss Mean?

Voice Over Internet Protocol (VoIP) packet loss occurs when heavy network traffic creates dropped packets, causing portions of conversations to be lost.


Techopedia Explains Voice Over Internet Protocol (VoIP) Packet Loss

VoIP network packets may use different data exchange routes prior to arriving at the destination. However, packets frequently experience delays or do not arrive at receiving terminals because fully buffered servers do not have sufficient packet capacity.

Most VoIP phone services guarantee a one-half percent packet loss or lower. A one percent packet loss equals one voice clip every three minutes. A one-quarter percent packet loss equals one error every 53 minutes.

Packet loss concealment (PLC) methods are essential because traditional error-control methods, such as automatic repeat requests (ARQ), are ineffective. PLC uses different techniques to mask lost packets, including zero insertion (replacing lost data with zeros) and waveform substitution (replacing lost data with previously received data).


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Margaret Rouse is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical, business audience. Over the past twenty years her explanations have appeared on TechTarget websites and she's been cited as an authority in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine and Discovery Magazine.Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages. If you have a suggestion for a new definition or how to improve a technical explanation, please email Margaret or contact her…