How does your VoIP performance measure up? Are your customers having a good experience? Below are key metrics you should track consistently to understand your VoIP system performance.
Latency is the time calculated for data to travel from point to point. You’ve probably experienced hearing your ‘echo’ on a call before. That’s latency and when it reaches the 250ms threshold it begins causing pauses and attendees to starting speaking over each other.
Sometimes latency can be out of your control. A benchmark of 150ms or less should be your target number. The problem typically results from packet handling and transferring delays. Think of a traffic jam on the highway once a lane is closed. The network may not be optimized for VoIP traffic or lack of bandwidth.
Jitter is a supplanting of signal pulses in a digital signal. Within VoIP networks, jitter is the variance in latency on packet flow between two systems and occurs when some data packets take a longer journey from one system to the other. It’s an issue for real-time communications and hosted desktops. Increased jitter rates combined with lack of adjustment results in audio degradation and poor user experience.
It’s important to prioritize VoIP/UC packets on the network and configure traffic properly in order to combat jitter. A benchmark of fewer than 100ms is a good start for optimal internal network jitter. Test and adjust as more users are added on a VoIP network.
Packet loss calculates the percentage of packets that never reach the endpoint. Packet loss is a result of jitter and latency issues stemming from a sub-optimal network or outdated hardware not capable of keeping up with demands of the communications system. VoIP is susceptible to packet loss because of the final destination of the call. An inbound call could be answered on a sub-optimal network even if the outbound call is made on an optimized network. The sub-optimal network will result in packet loss.
Packet loss is no joke. Even a one percent loss will impact communications. Lack of attention to fixing packet loss issues causes caller frustration because of poor performance and inefficient communication.
The MOS or Mean Opinion Score places an actual value on the quality of a voice call. It’s a popular metric derived from measuring network attributes that impact data flow. These metrics include latency, jitter, packet loss, propagation and packetization.
Propagation delay is the time required for the signal to travel across the network. Greater distance equals greater delay. Plus, the data might have to go through ancillary devices and hardware, like routers and switches. Packetization delay is the time required to digitize the signal for the codec to send the data over the Internet and decode on the other end. A more compressed codec results in higher packetization delay than an uncompressed codec.
The MOS metric has baseline numbers that measure the changes and degradation of voice calls so that problems can addressed. MOS scores range from 1 (poor) to 5 (excellent). Strive for a MOS benchmark score of 4 or higher. Scores of 3.5 or less are likely to result in many customers dissatisfied with their service and experience.
If you’re not tracking the performance of your VOIP system, you’re wasting money and providing a poor experience for your users which could lead to business inefficiencies. If you’re in the process of upgrading or looking for a new VoIP solutions provider, contact us today and let’s see how we can help close the door on your communications concerns.