The rise of technology has affected every aspect of our personal and professional lives, from the way we order groceries, learn, and even talk. Broadband and high-speed internet have enabled us to revolutionize how we talk by migrating our telephones and our conversations onto the internet.
Voice over Internet Protocol is a technology that makes it possible to make telephone calls over the internet and do so with lower costs, better accessibility, and improved ease of use. A combination that has made VoIP a favorite for companies and enterprises. Business can now build their entire telephone network and even large-scale call-centers over the internet and do so affordably and effectively.
How Does VoIP Work
In VoIP, your conversations get converted into data packets, and with the help of ethernet or a strong wifi connection will get transferred to your desired destination. These data packets can travel around the globe and through various networks in less than a second. Sometimes these transfers accrue in a direct and peer-to-peer manner, and sometimes they use a switchboard before reaching their final destination. Once there, these data packets get decoded and converted for the other involved party.
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However, Due to their instantaneous nature, VoIPs are prone to real-time disturbances that can happen in different steps of the process. Faulty devices, problematic networks, and overworked internet connections can all lead to problems during live conversations. Issues that might include but are not limited to voice quality drops, delays, or distributions.
The mentioned problems are caused by three main factors:
- Problems from IP Networks: including packet loss, audio delays, etc.
- Problems from Equipment: Issues in device configurations and/or connectivity problems
- Problems from Time-Division Multiplexing: signal level issues or echo
These problems are usually forecasted and taken care of by network managers and system architects during the planning and deployment stages of VoIP implementation, which will ensure the call quality and performance of the network. However, any of these issues can resurface at any time and place after deployment.
If not resolved, problems can create a less optimal experience for end-users and lead to productivity drops or even dissatisfaction amongst customers. That is where Voice Quality Monitoring comes into play.
Voice Quality Monitoring
Voice Quality Monitoring (VQM) is an active advanced analytical system that is continuously scanning a given network to make sure the required quality of service is met and to prevent any
mishaps from taking place by reporting any issues before it becomes a severe issue.
VQM does this through 2 different strategies:
- Active Test: In this method, small data packets are transferred between the server and the end-user, and they are used as sample models to scan and monitor the quality of service and to stop any discrepancies before it is reported by the user
- Passive Analysis: through passive analysis, VQM can instantly monitor any conversation happening through VoIP through the server and have access to all packets sent and received to fix incoming issues in time.
Usually, the problems over VoIP are short-lived in their nature. The problems could be caused by a sudden increase in internet traffic due to another user uploading or downloading a large file or any other inconveniences along the network path. Still, because of VoIP’s sensitive nature, VQMs are an essential part of any enterprise system that deploys Voice over Internet Protocol for their internal or external services. By continually analyzing the network and creating specific measurements about various metrics of the network and VoIP (such as MOS and ICPIF), they can detect and measure network impairments in time and give the support team enough time to react and to make sure that the customer and the users receive an adequate quality of service.
Complexities of VQM
As mentioned before, VoIP problems are spontaneous and unpredictable in their nature and because of that, spotting these issues tends to be complicated, and even if a problem is noticed, finding the root cause of the issue can be time-consuming and intricate.
One solution is by deploying monitoring probes and analyzer tools within different network stops and inside every device in the enterprise to be able to locate the root cause of any incurring problem; however, this method can end up costing a lot and even impossible for more extensive and more complicated businesses.
By deploying a VQM system on the network, the hassle of spotting the problems and troubleshooting is taken away from the end-user and delegated to the monitoring system. VQMs can use their own metrics to measure the effectiveness and quality of the service and, in times of trouble, can take advantage of their obtained telemetry metrics, which are deployed on-premise to provide instant and actionable data to diagnose and fix the causing problem.
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