Hangouts conference phone calls - bad quality

I am not sure if this topic has been ever discussed before. I was searching through but can’t find anything.

The problem I am having is specifically when I join with my VoIP phones to Google Meet/Hangouts conferences. We use Google Meet for all of our video/audio calls in our meetings, and most of the time we use our computers to join the conference calls. There is a significant percentage of people though that join from their desk phones.

The quality of these conference calls from the desk phones it’s just horrible. The audio is very choppy to the point where the call becomes very difficult to understand. I do wanna point out that generally with other calls, we do not experience this low quality call issue. The quality problems are almost exclusive to Google Hangouts.

I just wanted to see if someone else from the freepbx community has experienced this in the past. Or if it’s my network, what are the best practices to troubleshoot?

Here is my setup and steps that I’ve followed so far to troubleshoot:

  1. My PBX instance is on the cloud, only ~10ms from our location.
  2. I am using and advertising on the PBX and on the phones g711u (no other codecs are enabled).
  3. I am using a Mikrotik router to connect the phones to the cloudPBX.
  4. I have disabled SIP-ALG.
  5. We have a dedicated ISP for the VoIP traffic (we also use this ISP as a fail-over when the primary ISP goes down, but that has never been the case).
  6. We do have Queue Tree rules to support our VoIP traffic, but since there is nothing else going on this ISP, I don’t believe these rules are actually helping much, so I have disabled them for now for troubleshooting purposes.
  7. We use a mix of Polycoom 8500 Trio, Cisco SPA504g and Grandstream GXV3240 (with android OS).
  8. I have followed the RTP stream and there are no obvious packages that are out of sync.
  9. I’ve opened a ticket with google support (since we use gsuite) but I don’t have a lot of confidence that I am going to get anywhere with that.

Just trying to see if there are other people here that might have experienced the same issue, or might have some insights. Thanks.


From a practical perspective, you need to keep in mind that the calls to and from your Hangouts are coming from your PBX, not your desk phones. The phones call your PBX, and the PBX calls Google.

Choppiness is almost always a problem with network latency, so you’re going to have to do some tests between your phones and your PBX to make sure you aren’t suffering from network congestion, and from the PBX to Google to check for the same thing. might be a good place to start.

Thanks, Dave!

This is a pretty handy wiki. Would you recommend anything I would need to watch out for in this specific scenario? Would anything else in addition to rtp debug help?

I am guessing that this is a networking issue, or perhaps if video from many GXVs is being routed through the PBX, running out of CPU on the PBX. Also, if the ‘VoIP ISP’ has slow upload e.g. DSL and the GXVs are in video mode, the line could be saturated.

Is the trouble outbound (non-deskphone users hear choppy audio from deskphone users), inbound (deskphone users hear choppy audio from non-deskphone users), or both?

When you are having trouble, do calls from a deskphone to a non-Hangouts number have a quality issue in either direction? If so, do calls between two deskphones (passing through the cloud PBX but not the trunking provider) have poor quality?

When you are not having trouble (no meeting in progress), do calls between two deskphones via Hangouts (a meeting with just two participants) have poor quality?

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I am going to double check everything but so far from what I’ve tried and from what other people have reported to me the quality problems arise when a desk phone enters the hangouts conf room, and the quality problems is on both directions.

When calling deskphone to deskphone everything is fine. Also when calling to cell phones and other numbers everything is fine. I have a few recruiters on the same VLAN that pretty much call other people all day long and they never report these kinds of problems.

The CPU usage seems normal to me. And the internet line where the VoIP phones are is 500Mbps/500Mbps. Our trunking provider is flowroute, if that matters at all.

But yeah I also do think it must be a networking problem. The struggle is understanding why are the calls suffering through hangouts only.

Even when the Hangouts meeting is in progress and other deskphone users are having quality issues?

If that’s the case, this is starting to sound like a Google issue (bad coupling between the PSTN and the rest of the bridge).

During the problematic meetings, do deskphone users have trouble hearing each other?

Please do a test meeting with just two users, both on deskphones. If quality is good, add a third participant on a computer and report who has trouble hearing whom.

I believe so. I will double check though, your method of testing makes good sense. Thanks again for your input.

Just yesterday I was in a hangout call with our computers muted and joined the hangout conference call with our polycomm conference phone and a few more people who joined the call from remote.

The call went for 90min and there was no single problem with the call. Not an even one second choppy or wired noises. I am starting to think it might be related to the desk phone. Or just a bad moment with our ISP? This is pretty wired.

You are calling a PSTN number to access Google Hangouts ? And GH does not charge for this service ?

That’s a huge variable. Those “free” conference call services are even more overloaded right now with so many people being asked to work from home.

I think one single call from PBX -> PSTN -> GH might get you better quality more consistently. One option is for the leader to initiate that call, then transfer it to a local conference bridge on your PBX. (I developed Always Be Conferencing for this and other reasons – placing one call to remote end while simultaneously ringing a bunch of local phones into this same conference, no extra Transfer button presses required.)

I am calling GH number that is listed when we create the calendar event. I am not sure if we’re calling a PSTN number in this case? I don’t think so, but I am not an expert. As far as cost goes, I don’t think google is charging anything on top of what our SIP provider is. The expensive would be insignificant anyways so I don’t see that being a problem.

And great to know about your script, I might check it out for other uses.

Thanks for your input.

In general, I have found calling into a GH meeting to have poor audio. We had one project manager at a client that insisted on it, and it was horrible. Made him switch to a Zoom meeting after a feww weeks and no more problems.

Is Zoom open source ? Based on FreePBX or Asterisk ?

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