While last month’s system-wide failure that halted the popular Skype VoIP service for more than 24 hours is still fresh on everyone’s minds, we thought it would be prudent to review some key strategies for troubleshooting VoIP networks as well as best practices for keeping your VoIP network healthy in 2011.
1. Understand your network’s behavior.
Before VoIP is installed, there are certain things you need to understand about your network’s behavior, including of course its general health. The best way to assess this is to establish baselines of the existing infrastructure. This assessment must be carried out across the enterprise network to ensure that all bases are covered. If you know how the network behaves on a regular basis, you will be more prepared to deal with any issues VoIP brings to the equation.
2. Beware of the three VoIP killers.
Jitter, latency, and packet loss are even more lethal on a converged VoIP network. In the end, network visibility and monitoring tools will alert you to performance problems and enable you to manage VoIP proactively by changing configurations or adding capacity.
3. Monitor constantly.
After deployment, proper VoIP monitoring includes a combination of metrics for general network performance and specific voice end-user quality of experience. Constant monitoring will validate QoS operations, reveal network traffic patterns that affect VoIP, and provide alerts when performance declines.
4. Continue to tweak the network as appropriate.
Application traffic will change over time, so you will need to tweak the network to maintain the same level of performance. There are several VoIP management tools that monitor and report on network changes to aid in identifying sites with degraded performance, changes in call volume distribution, and new sites and applications that stress network capacity.