How to solve Microsoft™ OCS™/Lync™ Audio Issues
When it comes audio issues there are several remedies depending on the root cause of the problem. Outside of bandwidth issues which can impact overall user experience and audio quality this article will focus on audio issues that can be remedied by the usage of appropriate combination of headsets, sound enhancers and audio configuration on the PC.
Global Teck provides both hardware and services to various organizations to help address the audio problems related to usage of softphones (i.e. Microsoft Lync, Avaya IP agent, Cisco Communicator, Skype, etc). Below I will outline both a DYI solution as well as a comprehensive solution encompassing both hardware and services.
Background: To fundamentally understand why many organizations are plagued with audio problems when converting to softphones from a traditional telephone you first must understand the primary functions of both devices. A telephone’s primary function AND design is to deliver/receive audio. A PC is a multi-function device whose primary function is NOT to deliver/receive audio. The PC was not solely designed for telephony like a telephone and is still primarily designed to be used as a data “machine” for spreadsheets, calculations, automation, etc. There are very good softphones in the market place but they can change the fundamentals of how a PC, MAC or tablet provides audio to its user.
Low audio or user can not hear well
-Short DIY response:
Add a USB sound enhancer with a quality headset. The sound enhancer will significantly boost incoming sound heard by the user. A quality commercial-grade USB headset by Plantronics or Jabra will help enhance the sound heard by user. If you have tried to solve your audio problem with this type recommendation and still experience low audio or poor audio see the following suggestion.
-Long nerdy response:
If you have already increased audio receive levels in both the control panel and your softphone’s audio settings then you’ll want to reevaluate the headset you are using. One of the downsides when you increase audio levels to PC Audio Settings and application’s settings is the increased likely hood of echo (which we will address in a different section).
If you purchased a low-priced cheapo headset you may want to consider investing in a high quality USB headset. Cheapo headsets deliver inferior sound. In the headset industry the low-priced headsets sold in big-box retail stores and through many online e-tailers are typically consumer-grade. The commercial-grade USB headsets manufactured by leading manufacturers such as Plantronics, Jabra and VXi are designed for enterprise users who want to optimized. Each have different softphone headsets/devices for different environments and user requirements. In most cases this will solve your audio issues. If not keep reading.
If you are still reading this article and saying to yourself “well…@*#!, I already tried that and it didn’t work”. At this point we need to take a look at how to optimize the sound without creating horrible echoes to the user and deliver sufficient volume so that the user can more comfortably continuing to use Lync. The next step is a custom solution that Global Teck has deployed to enterprises including call centers, help desks, offices and trading floors. We work with customers individually in these situations as it may require a combination of customized hardware and headset accessories to accomplish the desired goal. This usually involves a 10 minute over-the-phone analysis to pinpoint the correct solution for your situation.
American with Disabilities Act (ADA) considerations
In situations where the user has a hearing challenge or accommodations request (partial deafness, hearing-aids, hearing loss or disability) the legal implications of not correctly addressing and remedying the situation can have negative consequences for an employer. Over the last few years the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission - EEOC has handed out large fines to organizations that have not properly accommodated workers with hearing or visual impairments.
We work with organizations of all sizes addressing accommodation, hearing and headset issues. Contact us (1-703-766-6363) to discuss the available solutions for your specific situation.
Popular Wireless USB - PC Headsets
If you have questions about MS Lync compatibility feel free to start a chat session or call us 703-766-6363. Global Teck Worldwide also provides a ProSetup Service that assists you through the configuration, troubleshoot and installation of any headset on our website. All items mentioned in this article are available online for purchasing.