Segment Spotlight: VoIP Quality Control – Edge or Core?

Author: Rosa Lear, Director of Marketing at Edgewater

Edgewater NetworksToday’s VoIP solutions have matured to a point where the technology is significantly more robust and reliable than ever before. Service provider SLAs are tighter and we see far less integration issues and protocol miscues than we had in the past. But that does not mean an enterprise should take performance and quality for granted. Relying on service providers to ensure consistent voice and video communications within your organization is far too shortsighted to become a standard operating procedure.

It is definitely true that service providers do everything in their power to guarantee Quality of Service (QoS) SLAs for their customers. They use a series of Session Border Controllers (SBCs) in their core to partition, control and prioritize traffic flows as determined by individual contract obligations. While this configuration does mitigate the majority of network-based issues at the service provider level, it is not a 100% guarantee for the enterprise.

First, there is always a chance that a physical disruption such as a cut line or server failure will affect the Provider-Enterprise connection. While a total failure is easy to spot, sporadic switching breakdowns and intermittent degradations are harder to pinpoint. We touched on this subject in a blog post a few weeks back, where we covered several sources of call quality issues. They included:

  • Traffic not properly prioritized
  • Codec incompatibility
  • Variations in carrier service
  • LAN/WAN connectivity problems
  • Call routing inconsistencies

However, the greatest risk to VoIP performance lies on the enterprise side of the connection. When traffic is improperly prioritized for the QoS levels that real-time communications require, voice and video quality will suffer. It exposes communication systems to “bandwidth theft” where resources are taken from VoIP applications and given to other enterprise systems.

To combat these issues, companies need a dedicated enterprise SBC (ESBC) on their end to ensure QoS once SIP traffic hits their network. Without it, organizations will be plagued by dropped calls, echo on the line and pixilation during video conferences. And, that’s with a perfect transmission from the service provider.

Erratic communications and constant user complaints are typical in companys’ whose systems rely on a third party to guarantee their performance – especially when that third party is a service provider with no control over resource allocation once that traffic leaves their core. Only by directly managing the SIP handoff can companies hope to ensure each and every phone call, conference bridge and video chat lives up to user expectations.

For more information on what it takes to deliver high quality VoIP solutions to the masses, be sure to download our latest case study.

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