1 Delivering Hosted & Managed Vo Services Introduction Enterprises are recognizing the benefits of hosted and managed Vo services, which simplify their communication and IT infrastructures and offer lower rates through the provider s large-scale and peering infrastructure. However, quality and reliability concerns are slowing Vo adoption; business-telephony is considered missioncritical, and often won t be replaced solely for financial reasons. To address these concerns and win enterprise business, Vo providers often back their offering with service level agreements (SL s) that guarantee quality of service (QoS), assuring acceptable call quality, connection time, and system availability. To the operator, maintaining service quality and responding quickly when issues arise, are fundamental to meeting SL requirements. To do so, providers need to develop best-in-class remote troubleshooting and preventative monitoring strategies. White Paper
2 White Paper: Delivering Hosted & Managed Vo Services Setup Hosted and managed Vo providers have control over data/voice operations centers. However, access to enduser enterprise locations may be limited with hosted solutions (Figure 1 & 2). While passive testing provides excellent visibility into call signaling performance, active testing offers several ways to measure end-to-end, user-perceived speech, fax, and service quality. Because active testing is not limited to networks, it can be used to test service quality over the hybrid routes used in Vo. For example, a test call can originate from the PSTN, pass through a Vo peering network, and terminate as a cellular call. ctive testing is also used for provisioning and pre-deployment audits, where test calls are placed alongside existing or simulated network traffic. In monitoring, trending, and service level fault management applications, active test calls are grouped into test plans scheduled to execute at regular intervals. If a service quality issue is identified, on-demand testing provides detailed measurements to support remote troubleshooting efforts. Provider s Data / Voice Operations Center Customer Data / Voice Operations Center NOC NOC PSTN PSTN Vo Network Vo Network Enterprise sites Enterprise sites Figure 1 Hosted Vo Network Provider Figure 2 Managed Vo Service Network 2
3 White Paper: Delivering Hosted & Managed Vo Services and Signalling Routes Unlike public-switched telephony where signaling and media follow a single, end-to-end route, Vo signaling and media (speech, video and fax) packets follow different network paths (Figure 3). From a service assurance perspective, signaling messages can be easily accessed from the softswitch, but mediatraffic is more elusive and difficult to capture OSS and fault-management systems. Resolving Quality Issues Because active and passive testing each offer distinct capabilities hosted and managed Vo providers often use a combination of methods for service-quality monitoring, troubleshooting, provisioning and fault management. Management NOC Vo Stress Testing Similar to the way Bit Error Rate Testing (BERT) is used to validate the integrity of PSTN voice services, Vo stresstesting helps operators detect long-term and transient speech-quality degradation. Vo quality sometimes suffers several minutes into a call as jitter buffers in telephone adapters, session border controllers and media gateways fill to capacity and begin dropping voice packets. In addition, excessive network traffic can cause short-term Vo quality problems when frequent routing changes result in delayed, lost, and out-of-order packets. Stress-testing is conducted by placing a test call with a pre-specified duration up to several hours long. During the call, service quality results are reported at frequent, regular intervals (e.g. every 15 seconds). EMS Data Center / Voice Ops Network ISP / VLN / Private Peering Network Network ISP / VLN / Private Signaling Small Enterprise Site Figure 3 Vo Signaling and Traffic Paths 3
4 White Paper: Delivering Hosted & Managed Vo Services Interactive Vo Quality Testing Interactive Voice Response (IVR) guided testing is the most recent active test technology; the test probe hosts an interactive test agent that uses natural speech to guide technicians or subscribers through a series of simple steps leading to detailed speech quality, DTMF, echo and noise tests without any far-end test probe or responder. Designed to reduce installation, troubleshooting and trouble-ticket resolution time, interactive testing is ideally integrated into customer support systems to provide immediate test data when customers call with service issues. Test results can be used by customer support to guide the caller through corrective actions, by operations staff to remotely correct the problem or to dispatch a field technician if field repair is required. On-Net Mesh-Testing Vo speech and fax quality from site-to-site is one of the most important aspects to monitor, as it is normally subject to strict SLs. ctive testing is enabled by lowcost probes installed in large enterprise sites. The test server controls the probes to place calls from site-to-site in a mesh configuration. For smaller sites, where the cost of a probe is not justified, low-cost analog test responders can be connected to the session border controller () serving the site. lternatively, if the supports loopback testing (the capability to reflect test calls back to the originating probe) tests can be conducted directly to these appliances without requiring an on-site responder. Management NOC EMS Data Center / Voice Ops Test Server/OSS Test Control Network ISP / VLN / Private Peering Network Network ISP / VLN / Private PSTN Enterprise Probe Enterprise Probe Small Enterprise Site nalog 2w Responder Figure 4 Test Call Paths for Multi-site Mesh-Testing 4
5 White Paper: Delivering Hosted & Managed Vo Services Site to NOC / PSTN Testing from the Network (& Voice) Operations Center (NOC) to enterprise sites allows Vo providers to isolate and quantify per-site service quality, while optionally including the effects the media gateway has on calls placed to the PSTN. Test calls validating Vo, fax, and fax-over- service can be placed to site-installed test probes, responders, or to s featuring loop-back functionality. NOC-to-site tests placed on-demand are highly-effective in troubleshooting service issues, whereas automated tests provide site-specific monitoring, provisioning, and benchmarking. Single-Ended Off-Net Testing Customers often report service-quality issues that an endto-end test cannot confirm. This frequently happens when a subscriber is placing a call outside the hosted/managed Vo network, i.e. off-net (for example, a long-distance call overseas). To ensure that PSTN partner-carriers and Vopeering networks are providing service levels defined by their SLs, Vo operators can use single-ended testing to verify call and fax quality to off-net destinations. Single-ended testing measures voice, signaling, fax, Internet and modem service quality without requiring far-end probes or responders. Instead, public fax machines, interactive voice response (IVR) systems, modems, video conferencing terminals or servers are used as test destinations. database of suitable public terminations, coded by country, region, area code and city allows the test system to conduct troubleshooting and automated monitoring calls to any location worldwide. Test calls can be placed from enterprise probes or from the NOC/gateway, allowing operations to validate the end-user experience as well as partner carrier performance independently. their hosted and managed offerings. The small installfootprint and high return on investment (ROI) of service quality test systems permits Tier-2 and smaller Vo operators to take advantage of this same service assurance strategy. The best-practice approach relies on tactical pre-and-post deployment testing to proactively identify service quality issues before end-users are noticeably affected. combination of active and passive test methods are used to monitor service level quality. Table 1 provides a step-by-step summary of this bestpractice approach to Vo test and monitoring. Faster Pre-deployment testing to validate network capacity and call performance Provisioning tests to confirm install/config. Establish quality baselines after install Monitor to proactively detect quality degradation P Provide interactive Vo tests for IT staff to troubleshoot their own problems, log/quantify service quality issues. Test Legend P ctive Passive Schedule test calls off-hours (e.g. every day at 6M) Perform site-to-site (mesh testing), site to off-net, voice-ops/noc/pstn to site. Voice and Fax. Monitor signaling with passive system, real time. Stress test managed network with 24 hour / long duration Vo test calls. Table 1 Best-Practice Procedure to Deliver Business-Grade Vo Call Connectivity Speech Quality Better Best Practices from Install to Monitoring To consistently deliver business-grade service quality, Tier-1 Vo providers have established a series of bestpractices for provisioning, monitoring and troubleshooting PDD (sec) Figure 5 Vo vs. PSTN & GSM Service Quality MOS 5
6 White Paper: Delivering Hosted & Managed Vo Services Conclusions Recent call-quality studies have shown that managed Vo connects faster, and sounds better than the PSTN service it is designed to replace. Successful service providers focus on service quality at all steps of the Vo deployment lifecycle, from pre-deployment through long-term customer care. Using a combination of passive and automated active testing, call connectivity, speech quality, fax and business services can be proactively managed and maintained, allowing providers to offer SLs that assure the quality and reliability businesses require. bout Tektronix: Tektronix has more than 60 years of experience in providing network operators and equipment manufacturers a comprehensive and unparalleled suite of network diagnostics and management solutions for fixed, mobile, and converged multi-service networks. These solutions support such architectures and applications as fixed mobile convergence, IMS, broadband wireless access, WiMX, Vo and triple play, including TV. For Further Information: Tektronix maintains a comprehensive, constantly expanding collection of application notes, technical briefs and other resources to help engineers working on the cutting edge of technology. Please visit Contact Tektronix: Please visit Phone: option Locate your nearest Tektronix representative at Copyright Tektronix. ll rights reserved. Tektronix products are covered by U.S. and foreign patents, issued and pending. Information in this publication supersedes that in all previously published material. Specification and price change privileges reserved. TEKTRONIX and TEK are registered trademarks of Tektronix, Inc. ll other trade names referenced are the service marks, trademarks or registered trademarks of their respective companies. 01/08 CW
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