Everything degrades eventually, and VoIP networks are no exception.
No matter how well conceived, advanced, or fast the network may be, you’ll eventually run into problems—echoes, garbled voices, dropped calls, etc. When users come to you with complaints like these, you might think that troubleshooting your VoIP network should be easy. However, you might be relying on misinformation from these five myths:
1. Running a network diagnostic before deploying the network means everything will work fine.
Sadly, this isn’t true. Running a network diagnostic only tells you how well the network was running at the moment of the diagnostic. Perhaps a problem arises intermittently, or maybe an issue has developed since the diagnostic was last run. The only way to ensure users of the VoIP network have consistently good quality is to constantly monitor the network.
2. Having high bandwidth can ensure VoIP quality.
No matter how much bandwidth a VoIP network has, there are other factors that may diminish the call quality. The biggest of these is packet loss. Packet loss can occur for a variety of reasons, and low bandwidth is only one of them. A 10Gig fiber optic cable can lose packets because it’s too tightly curved, and that can diminish call quality just as much as a duplex-mismatch would on a 10Meg connection.
3. Not having any remote sites with WAN links prevents problems.
It is necessary to always know what is happening on all the devices on the network, not just those with WAN links or other potential problems. LAN switches that are improperly configured and resource limits on LAN routers or gateways can create just as much packet loss. A stable VoIP environment requires looking for all kinds of problems, not just WAN links.
4. There are no problems with the network now, so there won’t be anything to worry about in the future.
The one constant in the universe is change, and technology evolves incredibly quickly. Networks and applications adapt, break down, and are rebuilt at an almost alarming rate. Just because the network is stable today doesn’t mean it will be tomorrow. Staying informed of what’s happening on the network is essential: if a problem occurs, it needs to be solved quickly and prevented from reoccurring.
5. A sniffer can solve any problems on the network.
Sniffers are useful tools, but they can’t solve problems on their own. They can confirm that there is a problem, maybe help diagnose it, but fixing the problem requires other tools and more work.