Unified Communications Featured Article

Simple Guidelines Can Prevent Common UC Problems

October 05, 2016

Despite all of the technology advances in the unified communications and collaboration (UC&C) realm and widespread adoption of VoIP and video in the enterprise, there remain a few common quality issues that can spell disaster for any organization. And overburdened IT departments generally lack the time and resources to troubleshoot granular issues with voice and video quality – which can spell major trouble for a company relying on UC for customer, partner and internal communications.

NetScout, a company that helps enterprises simplify management of their UC environments by offering real-time visibility into the performance of voice and video, has pinpointed some of the most common problems enterprises face when dealing with UC – and how to combat them. While many IT departments would be stumped when faced with these issues, having a checklist of potential culprits can go a long way toward troubleshooting and even preventing issues in the first place.

One of the biggest complaints about VoIP is poor call quality. And if callers are positioned properly, with the correct acoustics in place, the next likely cause is bandwidth. Not having enough bandwidth allocated to a call or having the QoS settings misconfigured is one of main reasons for poor quality in a VoIP call. By checking their networks to ensure other applications or devices aren’t stealing bandwidth that should be allocated to UC solutions, IT departments can prevent or correct call quality issues.

Another common UC issue is having calls drop off completely in the middle of an important conference or call. According to NetScout, the SBC may be the culprit behind this issue and IT staff should ensure it is configured correctly. If the problem doesn’t occur at the originating end of the call, there may be a WAN issue at the terminating end and that should be investigated as well. The same rules apply when there is an issue with being able to dial out, and if endpoints are operating properly, the SBC may once again be the culprit. The call server may also have difficulty communicating externally with firewalls, permissions and configuration settings, and these should be checked as well.

Poor video conferencing quality is another common issue with UC solutions, and NetScout suggests network misconfiguration issues are the main cause. The conference bridge itself could also be causing problems, due to interoperability problems or codec selection issues. And finally, silence at the receiving end of a UC call is another common problem. Once again, the network is the most likely cause of this problem and firewall and router settings should be checked, along with any edge devices that may be blocking traffic.

Maintaining a high quality UC solution doesn’t have to be a headache for IT departments. By following some simple guidelines and ensuring networks are configured properly for voice and video traffic, organizations can ensure their UC solutions are operating at peak quality.

Edited by Maurice Nagle

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