Google Voice quality?

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paulsiu
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Google Voice quality?

Post by paulsiu » Thu Jan 17, 2013 1:15 am

Recently, I decided to use Talkatone app in an android tablet to use google voice to call a land line and a cell phone. The way Talkatone works is that it hooks up chat to google voice account. When someone calls your google number, it also rings the chat service.

The experiment wasn't that much of a success. The setup worked pretty well. I could use Talkatone to call out and someone can call the google number and ring the tablet running Talkatone. On the downside, the sound quality was pretty bad. The voices sound metallic and hard to listen to. It was in fact probably worse than even cellular calls.

Is google voice typically this terrible or is there some issue with the setup. I checked, the network, according to speedtest, has a 2.5 Mbs download and .6 Mbs upload. Would a different carrier like Anevo or Callcentric work better?

Paul
Last edited by paulsiu on Thu Jan 17, 2013 2:15 pm, edited 1 time in total.

thomase
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Re: Google Voice quality?

Post by thomase » Thu Jan 17, 2013 3:41 am

I frequently use Google voice, just today I used it for over 3 hours for work related conference calls. The sound quality is excellent, better than any land-line or cell phone. I talk through a Logitech USB headset, plugged into a laptop, over wifi to my router and then DSL. I am accessing google voice/gmail through the firefox browser.

paulsiu
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Re: Google Voice quality?

Post by paulsiu » Thu Jan 17, 2013 10:20 am

Out of curiosity, how good is your DSL on latency, download and upload speed? Is your quality consistent or vary from day to day?

Paul

robebibb
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Re: Google Voice quality?

Post by robebibb » Thu Jan 17, 2013 10:52 am

I use google voice with the OBi100 and voice quality is excellent. Wife has an Android (smartphone) but we've never tried using google voice to make calls with it.

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g$$
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Re: Google Voice quality?

Post by g$$ » Thu Jan 17, 2013 11:04 am

I use google voice for my home phone and sometimes for work related calls. the quality has never been an issue.

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HueyLD
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Re: Google Voice quality?

Post by HueyLD » Thu Jan 17, 2013 11:12 am

I have a google voice number and that's the number I give out to unfamiliar sources. All calls to that Google voice number are automatically forwarded to my home phone (and cell phones if I choose to) so that I don't have to be on the computer to answer the calls. It also allows me to block unwanted phone calls from Google voice and the unwanted callers get "the number you called has been disconnected" message.

O.k., the quality may not be the best all the time, but it's better than my cell phone calls.

armeliusc
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Re: Google Voice quality?

Post by armeliusc » Thu Jan 17, 2013 11:17 am

I've been using Google Voice since it was first available via invite only to make both domestic and international call and the quality has always been good. In fact, it's pretty much my primary number as all my calls are 'routed' through it.

On Talkatone, I've never used it but I used something similar called "Groove IP" on my android tablet and so far the call quality has been good. Otherwise I've been using Google Voice through gmail (at home) and my office phone (at work) and only when I don't have access to either with my cell phone. It's a great way to reduce the minutes usage of my pre-paid cellphone.

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Re: Google Voice quality?

Post by WendyW » Thu Jan 17, 2013 11:20 am

paulsiu wrote:I checked, the network, according to speedtest, has a 2.5 Mbs upload and .6 Mbs download.
This is your problem. Peasants in rural India and China have faster download speeds than this.

The average internet download speed in the US today is 7Mbs. Speeds of 20Mbps and 30Mbps are common in most places.

paulsiu
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Re: Google Voice quality?

Post by paulsiu » Thu Jan 17, 2013 11:35 am

WendyW wrote: This is your problem. Peasants in rural India and China have faster download speeds than this.

The average internet download speed in the US today is 7Mbs. Speeds of 20Mbps and 30Mbps are common in most places.
I doubt bandwidth is the issue, it does not take 3 Mps to transmit voice and latency is typically less of an issue than gaming. It may be the upload speed though.

The average speed in the US is 7 Mbs, but not everyone live in "average" areas. Many places in the US can't get decent broadband at all. My wife's former advisor live in a "rural" area of New Jersey and can't get cable or DSL. He has to make do with Satellite with high latency.

Paul

armeliusc
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Re: Google Voice quality?

Post by armeliusc » Thu Jan 17, 2013 11:39 am

WendyW wrote:
paulsiu wrote:I checked, the network, according to speedtest, has a 2.5 Mbs upload and .6 Mbs download.
This is your problem. Peasants in rural India and China have faster download speeds than this.

The average internet download speed in the US today is 7Mbs. Speeds of 20Mbps and 30Mbps are common in most places.
Sorry, I disagree. That kind of network speed should have no effect on voice quality. It's speech voice we're talking about; not video, not even music. Speech voice can be compressed to only require minimal bandwidth. For comparison, when modem uses POTS, the bandwidth is around 44 kbps. If anything, latency would have more effect (either latency in the connection or in the app itself).

paulsiu
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Re: Google Voice quality?

Post by paulsiu » Thu Jan 17, 2013 11:43 am

armeliusc wrote:
WendyW wrote:
paulsiu wrote:
Sorry, I disagree. That kind of network speed should have no effect on voice quality. It's speech voice we're talking about; not video, not even music. Speech voice can be compressed to only require minimal bandwidth. For comparison, when modem uses POTS, the bandwidth is around 44 kbps. If anything, latency would have more effect (either latency in the connection or in the app itself).
My latency is around 35 - 45 ms. This seemed ok to me.
I may want to look into QOS to favor voice.

Paul

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Re: Google Voice quality?

Post by Sunny Sarkar » Thu Jan 17, 2013 11:46 am

thomase wrote:I frequently use Google voice, just today I used it for over 3 hours for work related conference calls. The sound quality is excellent, better than any land-line or cell phone. I talk through a Logitech USB headset, plugged into a laptop, over wifi to my router and then DSL. I am accessing google voice/gmail through the firefox browser.
I've also used Google Voice via Google Talk plugin for Gmail running on Google Chrome browser continuously for 8 hours a day for 5 days during a week long live virtual training class. No drops. Crystal clear. I was talking & listening simply through my laptop's mic & speakers. When my voice's clarity was important, I'd plug-in a $5 earphone microphone combo (the kind used for smartphones) - and this is just to get around my laptop's mic, nothing to do with Google Voice/Talk. The laptop is connected over wifi to a wireless N router which connects to 25mbps download/1mbps upload speed cable broadband internet.

Since passing that stress test, I now regularly use the above setup for call-in meetings and such without any problems. I have also installed Google Voice on my Blackberry work phone - and can make talks using my mobile connection or wifi (when available).

To top it all, I got a phone number that spells/maps to my name.
Last edited by Sunny Sarkar on Thu Jan 17, 2013 11:58 am, edited 1 time in total.
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WendyW
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Re: Google Voice quality?

Post by WendyW » Thu Jan 17, 2013 11:47 am

paulsiu wrote:I doubt bandwidth is the issue, it does not take 3 Mps to transmit voice
I doubt that google voice is the problem. You're trying to blame google voice for a problem that's almost certainly caused by your super-slow internet connection.

I make internet phone calls (Skype, google voice) all the time and the quality is crystal-clear. Though my internet connection runs at a more "average" speed than yours.

armeliusc
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Re: Google Voice quality?

Post by armeliusc » Thu Jan 17, 2013 11:53 am

paulsiu wrote:
armeliusc wrote:
WendyW wrote:
paulsiu wrote:
Sorry, I disagree. That kind of network speed should have no effect on voice quality. It's speech voice we're talking about; not video, not even music. Speech voice can be compressed to only require minimal bandwidth. For comparison, when modem uses POTS, the bandwidth is around 44 kbps. If anything, latency would have more effect (either latency in the connection or in the app itself).
My latency is around 35 - 45 ms. This seemed ok to me.
I may want to look into QOS to favor voice.

Paul
Paul, IMO your network should be OK. I've used network slower than that and it was OK. I'd try it with browser and gmail chat plugin for voice and if that's seems to work fine then maybe try a different app. Is my understanding correct that you've only tried this with that one app ? Above I suggested "Groove IP".

Best,
AC

paulsiu
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Re: Google Voice quality?

Post by paulsiu » Thu Jan 17, 2013 12:22 pm

WendyW wrote: I doubt that google voice is the problem. You're trying to blame google voice for a problem that's almost certainly caused by your super-slow internet connection.

I make internet phone calls (Skype, google voice) all the time and the quality is crystal-clear. Though my internet connection runs at a more "average" speed than yours.
I am not blaming anything but working out the cause by process of elimination. How do you know it's too slow for VOIP? Have you tried it on a slower network? 3 Mbs is not super slow and an improvement over the previous 768K I used to use. I was able to use Skype without issue over 768K. Google voice is probably not going to be any worse. VOIP isn't all that much of a bandwidth hog, isn't it like around 64kps each direction? Not everyone is fortunate enough to live in area where you get 7 Mps INTERNET.
armeliusc wrote: Paul, IMO your network should be OK. I've used network slower than that and it was OK. I'd try it with browser and gmail chat plugin for voice and if that's seems to work fine then maybe try a different app. Is my understanding correct that you've only tried this with that one app ? Above I suggested "Groove IP".
I am going to try an alternate software. I tried running talkatone on two different android device and both had really crappy voice quality. If I try a different software and the quality improves, I think we can attributed to talkatone. It could be the wireless network, but since I can stream netflix over the wireless, it should be enough bandwidth for voice.

Paul

sdrone
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Re: Google Voice quality?

Post by sdrone » Thu Jan 17, 2013 1:10 pm

The problem with wireless and voice is not bandwidth. the problem is completely unpredictable latency and packet retries/drops.

It's often useful to look at all the points of failure. If you're using wireless, you've got....

Google voice
DSL (slower than cable, but perfectly acceptable)\
wireless
Gchat
Whatever app you're using

Try to eliminate some of the points of failure here. Start with wireless - it's horrible for VOIP, especially home wireless. Yes, 20 people will chime in and say "it works great for me!" but then 50 people will call our helpdesk with complaints because their VOIP call on the home wireless network sounds horrible.

Google voice over DSL is a given - it'll work fine, in spite of the fact that many/most ISPs don't care about your voice packet markings and the internet provider they connect to care will just drop the markings . After all, Google Voice is just performing call routing. Start with that, and work your way to the solution you want.

thomasbayarea
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Re: Google Voice quality?

Post by thomasbayarea » Thu Jan 17, 2013 1:41 pm

Google Voice +
Obi110 +
Comcast 18MBps =
Free phone with low international rates.

Never had any quality issues.

DSInvestor
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Re: Google Voice quality?

Post by DSInvestor » Thu Jan 17, 2013 2:12 pm

paulsiu wrote:I checked, the network, according to speedtest, has a 2.5 Mbs upload and .6 Mbs download.
It is unusual to have download speeds that are slower than upload speeds in residential internet service. Do you have something else running that is using up download bandwidth (windows update, streaming video)? At our home, we I see 8-20Mbps download and 0.5M bps upload.
Last edited by DSInvestor on Thu Jan 17, 2013 2:14 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Google Voice quality?

Post by Mel Lindauer » Thu Jan 17, 2013 2:13 pm

No problems using Talkatone and google voice over my wifi connection.
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paulsiu
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Re: Google Voice quality?

Post by paulsiu » Thu Jan 17, 2013 2:16 pm

DSInvestor wrote:It is unusual to have download speeds that are slower than upload speeds in residential internet service. Do you have something else running that is using up download bandwidth (windows update, streaming video)? At our home, we I see 8-20Mbps download and 0.5M bps upload.
My bad, it's just a typo. It's really 2.5 down and .6 up.

Paul

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FNK
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Re: Google Voice quality?

Post by FNK » Thu Jan 17, 2013 2:32 pm

I'd stare at that talkatone thing with serious suspicion.

WendyW
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Re: Google Voice quality?

Post by WendyW » Thu Jan 17, 2013 3:48 pm

paulsiu wrote:My bad, it's just a typo. It's really 2.5 down
Well, that's a different situation.
0.6 MBps down is slow-but-usable internet by third-world standards.
2.5 MBps down is slow-but-usable internet by developed nation standards.
Last edited by WendyW on Thu Jan 17, 2013 6:52 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Google Voice quality?

Post by Epsilon Delta » Thu Jan 17, 2013 3:59 pm

sdrone wrote:The problem with wireless and voice is not bandwidth. the problem is completely unpredictable latency and packet retries/drops.

It's often useful to look at all the points of failure. If you're using wireless, you've got....

Google voice
DSL (slower than cable, but perfectly acceptable)\
wireless
Gchat
Whatever app you're using
Don't forget every other application on your computer and every application on every other computer on your network. These can all hog available bandwidth, delaying your voice packets and causing jitter (variation in the latency) which manifests as poor call quality. If your investigating it might be worth shutting down as much as possible to see if that helps.

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Re: Google Voice quality?

Post by rustymutt » Thu Jan 17, 2013 4:08 pm

The problem isn't with Google voice quality, as much as it's your bandwidth, and is your equipment Quality Of Service Ready. Your network makes the big difference with any voice over IP vendor.
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curiouskitty
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Re: Google Voice quality?

Post by curiouskitty » Thu Jan 17, 2013 4:39 pm

I've had text messages sent to a friend's Google Voice number take 6-12 hours before showing up on his always connected Android phone with LTE. Something to be aware of! (it has ruined our plans to meet several times..)

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telemark
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Re: Google Voice quality?

Post by telemark » Thu Jan 17, 2013 6:37 pm

If there's somewhere you can go that has good, free wifi, take your tablet there and try it.

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Re: Google Voice quality?

Post by garg33 » Thu Jan 17, 2013 7:20 pm

Talkatone degrades GV quality. They route your calls through their own servers as a proxy between you and Google, transcoding the audio to a lower bitrate in the process.

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Re: Google Voice quality?

Post by sdrone » Thu Jan 17, 2013 8:20 pm

curiouskitty wrote:I've had text messages sent to a friend's Google Voice number take 6-12 hours before showing up on his always connected Android phone with LTE. Something to be aware of! (it has ruined our plans to meet several times..)
In theory, Google addressed that a few years ago. I used to have that issue a lot, but I haven't seen it in a couple of years.

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Re: Google Voice quality?

Post by sdrone » Thu Jan 17, 2013 8:26 pm

rustymutt wrote:The problem isn't with Google voice quality, as much as it's your bandwidth, and is your equipment Quality Of Service Ready. Your network makes the big difference with any voice over IP vendor.
VOIP does not need dedicated bandwidth, by definition. That said, a good VOIP connection needs anywhere from 32k to 100k of bandwidth depending on the software. You can have any size connection you want as long as you aren't filling it up.

Your home equipment has almost zero effect on VOIP quality. Most modern equipment "respects" QoS packet marking, but all that means is it won't strip the markings if they are there. Your software (softphone, etc.) or hardware (Ooma, etc.) may or may not mark the packets as VOIP.

Once it leaves your house, it's a free for all. Your internet provider may or may not respect your voice packet markers. At best, they won't strip the marks. But they certainly won't give it priority unless you are paying them to do so (for instance, you have voice service from Comcast).

Once your provider dumps the packets onto the actual internet, your QoS markings are gone. Their routers have bigger issues to deal with.

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Re: Google Voice quality?

Post by investor1 » Thu Jan 17, 2013 9:32 pm

Were you using 3G (or 4G) or WiFi? 3/4G are generally too slow for VoIP. WiFi will work, but Android cuts the power down on WiFi when the screen goes off (at least the phone version does. i'm not 100% sure about the tab version). There is an app to fix that. I dont recall the name. There are also apps to config wifi juice during a call.

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Re: Google Voice quality?

Post by curiouskitty » Thu Jan 17, 2013 9:40 pm

sdrone wrote:
curiouskitty wrote:I've had text messages sent to a friend's Google Voice number take 6-12 hours before showing up on his always connected Android phone with LTE. Something to be aware of! (it has ruined our plans to meet several times..)
In theory, Google addressed that a few years ago. I used to have that issue a lot, but I haven't seen it in a couple of years.
This happened to me six days ago :(

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Re: Google Voice quality?

Post by sdrone » Fri Jan 18, 2013 12:08 am

investor1 wrote:Were you using 3G (or 4G) or WiFi? 3/4G are generally too slow for VoIP. WiFi will work, but Android cuts the power down on WiFi when the screen goes off (at least the phone version does. i'm not 100% sure about the tab version). There is an app to fix that. I dont recall the name. There are also apps to config wifi juice during a call.
3G/4G have enough bandwidth for calls equivalent to cellular quality. There are many people who use the Google Voice app for all calls on their cell phone. It's an interesting experiment, and will tell you where you have good data throughput and where you don't.

Perhaps the specific phone you have or the specific version of Android from your cell vendor cuts wifi power; Android does not generally do that. On most phones you can start a Google Voice call, set the phone down and talk on your bluetooth headset on either wifi or cellular data until the battery is dead. Some Tmobile android phones will allow you to do all your calls on wifi.

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Re: Google Voice quality?

Post by investor1 » Fri Jan 18, 2013 1:13 am

sdrone wrote:
investor1 wrote:Were you using 3G (or 4G) or WiFi? 3/4G are generally too slow for VoIP. WiFi will work, but Android cuts the power down on WiFi when the screen goes off (at least the phone version does. i'm not 100% sure about the tab version). There is an app to fix that. I dont recall the name. There are also apps to config wifi juice during a call.
3G/4G have enough bandwidth for calls equivalent to cellular quality. There are many people who use the Google Voice app for all calls on their cell phone. It's an interesting experiment, and will tell you where you have good data throughput and where you don't.

Perhaps the specific phone you have or the specific version of Android from your cell vendor cuts wifi power; Android does not generally do that. On most phones you can start a Google Voice call, set the phone down and talk on your bluetooth headset on either wifi or cellular data until the battery is dead. Some Tmobile android phones will allow you to do all your calls on wifi.
No, 3G is awful for VoIP. 4G isn't awful, but not great and not as good as WiFi (check the speeds).

Android does generally cut WiFi power when the screen is off (Google it and you will find the bug reports). I have the Nexus phone running the latest version of Android. It does it.

The GV app doesn't make calls. It manages voicemail and text messages (I use it regularly).

I have T-Mobile. They are VoIP friendly, but that has nothing to do with GV. If you want to use your GV number for VoIP on Android, you need a PBX solution which GV does not provide. Google Talk handles it in GMail, and there are a number of other solutions for various other things including Android.

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Re: Google Voice quality?

Post by sdrone » Fri Jan 18, 2013 8:59 am

Google tells me the wifi problem is mostly with the Nexus. And yes, if you don't use wifi for a while, it will cut off to save power.

Yes, the Google Voice app will make calls. You can configure it to ask you for either international calls or all calls.

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Re: Google Voice quality?

Post by dandan14 » Fri Jan 18, 2013 9:19 am

I use google voice through a Obihai device. The "aha!" moment came when I increased the priority (aka Qualities of Service) of the google voice packets. That took it from unusable to nearly perfect.

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Re: Google Voice quality?

Post by runnergirl » Fri Jan 18, 2013 9:20 am

I use Talkatone on my iPad Mini and it works very well. At home, I have FIOS 15/5 (which actually gets around 5 down/7 up). On the road I have AT&T 4G LTE. Both work well on either speaker phone or with earPods. I have a basic phone with prepaid minutes as a back-up, but I greatly minimize my cell phone bill by using Talkatone on the iPad. Quality seems to be as good as cell phone with the occasional fussiness.

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