Saturday, June 7, 2014

VoIP Quality of Service Test: What and How

One of the first things that you need to do for yourself or your business after switching to VoIP is to set up a consistent and continuous VoIP quality of service test, or a VoIP monitoring system that runs 24/7/365. This is the guarantee that your VoIP service delivers the good and reliable service it's supposed to. Otherwise, switching to VoIP is a moot move. If you can't get consistent service, you risk lost opportunities and connections.

What a VoIP Quality of Service Test Monitors
Regular VoIP quality of service test, through VoIP monitoring, involves mapping the performance of key VoIP quality indicators: MOS (Mean Opinion Score), Latency and Packet Loss.

Mean Opinion Score has its roots in traditional telephony, wherein testers scored voice quality while listening for impairment in a quiet room. In VoIP, the scoring system is more objective, wherein service impairment is assessed according to network performance.

Latency pertains to delays in the transport of data/ voice packets, which can originate from the sender, recipient or network. Latency can be rooted to packetization, jitter buffer or propagation. Whatever the cause, high latency rates affect your VoIP quality.

Packet loss pertains to dropped data packets that are usually caused by network congestion and faulty equipment. Even a small fraction of packet loss is unacceptable in business VoIP.

So how do you test for VoIP quality of service? Get the services of a reliable VoIP monitoring company, such as VoIP Spear.

How: Your VoIP Monitoring Options
There are different kinds of VoIP monitoring services to consider.

For big businesses with wide operations and big pockets, Appneta provides a good option. Its PathView network and server monitoring offers monitoring beyond what's required in VoIP monitoring because it also monitors applications. This is really more for the big boys with heavy monitoring needs. Plus, you need big pockets for this too. A device costs $5,000 each and you need one per server that you want to monitor.

Another option is the low-zero cost monitoring systems that you use whenever you want to test your VoIP network. An example here is Visualware's MySpeed testing service, which tests your VoIP only when you want it to.

While this is comparatively very cheap, it is also useless. Remember that in true VoIP testing, you need to test 24/7/365. This gives you a true profile of your VoIP quality. One-time testing only shows you your VoIP network performance  that one second when you sent test packets. It doesn't show you how your system performs 99.99% of the time -- when your clients and partners might actually be trying to get in touch with you.

The better option, especially for small- and medium-sized business, is VoIP Spear's no-installation 24/7/265 global VoIP monitoring service. VoIP Spear tests your VoIP endpoints from our strategically-located servers worldwide. The system tests your MOS, and other VoIP quality performance parameters, such as jitter, latency and packet loss.

One of the best things here is that you don't need an extra hand to manage and assess your VoIP testing results. Once you sign up, you can access your account, and configure your control panel. It's only a matter of plugging in your VoIP endpoints and selecting your testing server. Reports are easy to understand. And there's an online guide to help you out, just in case. 

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