How to check your webRTC (browser phone) setup

What is webRTC? It stands for Web Real-time Communication. And to cut a long story short, for our purposes here it means the technology that allows you to make calls directly through your browser, without using an additional deskphone or native softphone app.

In this context here we are talking about browser calls using the Chrome browser and babelforce web applications which include a browser phone option.

It is relatively common to have to tweak various things to ensure that browser-only telephone calls will work reliably for you and your team members. Just like any phone both the signalling and the media traffic has to reliably and quickly find its way through the internet and your network to your computer. A browser phone has the added complexity of having to deal with browser-specific dependencies.

So here are some useful things to check

WebRTC Troubleshooting Self Test

If you are troubleshooting some connection issues, it can be useful to run a self diagnosis like this one:

https://test.webrtc.org/

Note that even if your browser passes all the tests it could still be that some other specific setting, or intermittent network or device or software issue on your machine could cause problems. But the the tests above can at least give you a baseline idea at one point in time.

Common issues and how to fix them

  • You do not hear the phone ringing even though you see that a call comes through and you can also not pick up the call
  • Your babelConnect is trying to put a call through but always jumps to "unreachable"

Both issues are usually related to the same problems. Often, this is an issue with registration. Browser phones keep their registration only for a certain amount of time and if you are away from your desk it is very likely that this registration expired. What we suggest:

  • Whenever you come back to babelConnect after a while, refresh the page before you start taking calls. Every refresh forces the browser phone to register again, giving you a fresh connection.

Also, make sure you are using Google Chrome browser. This is the only by babelforce-supported environment and the browser phone will only work there.

If neither of these suggestions solve your problem, make sure you do not have babelConnect open in multiple tabs.

  • The Browser phone only functions properly if it is opened in one tab. Please make sure not to have multiple tabs with babelConnect open, otherwise the browser does not know to which phone it should register.

If you still have problems getting your browser phone to work, please get in touch with our team.

Some further settings

Autoplay Flag in Chrome

In general, you do not need to worry about this. But it is worth being aware that there are certain background settings in Chrome that do indeed directly impact how communications and media will work in different contexts.

In most circumstances the babelforce implementation will attempt to deal with these things for you. However it can be difficult to foresee all situations especially since Chrome itself will be accessing devices built into your computers or connected to them: the microphone(s), the speakers, etc.

So it can under some circumstances be necessary to change the flags set in chrome. In particular, if you have issues with one-way audio or no audio channel being established between callers, one thing to check is the value of the following flag:

chrome://flags/#autoplay-policy

Screen_Shot_2018-05-31_at_12.16.57.png

From the browser's point of view, the audio in a call is the same as any media played out from a website or webapp. In Chrome this flag is set to value "Default", which means that autoplaying media is off. This can be sensible for video, etc. but for calls it is generally expected that the audio will start immediately without the user needing to click something else. 

The setting "No user gesture is required" means exactly that and will make it more likely that the call audio will start immediately and that the audio channel will be established correctly.

 

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