Network & Systems Management Solutions Providers

Voice/Video Assessments

Ensuring VoIP & Video Quality

Planning a voice or video roll out to a new site or existing premises can be a challenging project for IT, there are quite a few unknown factors only discovered and understood once the procurement of voice equipment is made and testing begins. Traditionally voice and data networks have been kept separate so transitioning to a single platform requires proper practices and procedures, the most obvious is that of a carrying out a network assessment which I will cover in brief below.

Where video conferencing is concerned occurrences of jitter, latency and packet loss have a clear detrimental effect on quality:

  • Excessive latency threatens to de-synchronise the audio and video portions of the conference. Where round-trip latency between endpoints exceeds 200-300 milliseconds, participants start to notice delays between the movement of speakers’ lips and the corresponding audio.
  • Packet loss greater than 0.1% to 2% causes the video presentation to be “blocky” or jerky, and causes the audio to drop out.
  • Jitter exceeding 15-30 milliseconds can give the video a frozen or stuttering appearance.

WAN Bandwidth Utilisation

Knowing your available and utilised bandwidth is vital to assuring network and application performance, the vast majority of WAN traffic does not demand massive bandwidth, it is often a few voracious applications that suddenly demand all of the network’s capacity. Many bandwidth-intensive applications will take whatever capacity they can appropriate, even by robbing it from other running applications such as they key ones to your company’s productivity, i.e. voice & video.

 PathView Screenshot

Network Readiness Assessments

Assessing the infrastructure’s ability to maintain VoIP and Video is vital, where possible assessments should be done before any hardware purchase is made including some form of voice/video traffic simulation to get a handle on network performance once deployed. Within the assessment you should also be able to test for concurrent calling and be aware of when MOS scoring falls below an acceptable ratio.

 

(PathView Screenshot)

It’s also important  to ensure that correct QoS tagging is in use as your traffic traverses third party networks , checking to see that  your service provider is marking your priority traffic accordingly and no changes are mistakenly being made that will affect the quality of the calls.

Following the six point plan below is a guide to the natural steps an assessment should include:

  1. Measure the call load capability of the network
  2. Identify the faults and shortcomings of the network
  3. Provide a holistic view of the network’s ability to handle data and voice/video traffic
  4. Lower the project’s cost estimates
  5. Verify service level agreements (SLAs)
  6. Eliminate the network as a gating factor in the VoIP project

 

PathView is a network assessment/monitoring solution we use at Prosperon for customers that are undergoing a future VoIP or Video roll out. We have also put together a network readiness assessment checklist that expands further on the steps above so feel free to download it.

A short overview on the PathView solution can be seen here:.

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