Well-managed networks perform reliably, delivering a great user experience. The right performance monitoring tool is the difference between a UC network that delivers poor quality calls, and one in which problems are detected and resolved quickly, often before the user is impacted. Since problems on voice networks are usually caused by an event in the IT infrastructure outside the communications solution, it might seem as if an off-the-shelf network monitoring tool is sufficient. However, to achieve a higher standard of performance monitoring, you need more than a surface-level tool.
The “All in One” Approach Explained
Most network monitoring software options provide Simple Network Management Protocol (SNMP)-based, end-to-end IT infrastructure monitoring, delivering detailed performance metrics on everything from servers to switches and VMWare. Taking this “all in one” approach to network management has its benefits: monitoring from a single dashboard certainly improves efficiency.
These suites typically specialize in the performance of the IT infrastructure, staying on top of router misconfigurations, for example, or CPU and memory utilization metrics for servers and switches. This is critical to the ongoing health of your VoIP network – after all, most voice quality problems stem from an issue within this infrastructure.
However, to efficiently troubleshoot and resolve user-reported voice quality problems on your VoIP network, you need deeper visibility into what’s happening on each call – jitter, packet loss, delay, codec. That’s where the “all in one" option can fall short – and leave you without the insight you need to solve a problem on your network.
Mitel Networks Need Mitel Monitoring
Voice traffic creates different demands on a network than data, so it’s important to look at how "all in one" tools compare to specialized Mitel UC management software when it comes to troubleshooting. Typically, "all in one" packages will give you access to industry-standard test tools like ping, traceroute, and DNS. However, since they do not monitor the Mitel solutions on your network, they can’t tell you what’s happening on these platforms, run IP traceroute directly from the MiVoice Business handset, or take advantage of real voice traffic to test a network’s fitness for VoIP expansion or deployment.
Capacity planning is another component of UC network management that can only be realized with monitoring of your assets. Deeper insight into usage and trunk traffic can demonstrate the demand on trunks, so you’ll know when utilization levels are maximized, and can predict when upgrades or new licenses are needed.
So, to manage your VoIP performance metrics more effectively, you need a solution that monitors not only your IT infrastructure, but your entire UC network. Mitel offers this to its customers with Mitel Performance Analytics (MPA), the UC performance management software included in its Premium Software Assurance subscription. In Part III of our blog series, we’ll offer two approaches to achieving stellar Mitel UC network performance from a single dashboard.