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Troubleshooting a “Join Audio & Video” Delay with UCaaS using NETSCOUT Smart Edge Monitoring

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l USE CASE l E N T E R P R I S E Issue Like many enterprises, this company was using Cisco Webex for conference meetings (audio, video, collaboration) and over time, IT started to receive reports of slow audio connections for users joining meetings from locations in the Western United States. Normally, invitees to a meeting would log into the Webex session from an email invitation. Users could successfully access the session, however, when they clicked the "Join Meeting" button, the time in which the audio and video began was delayed by between 30 seconds and few minutes. Additionally, some users were also experiencing poor-quality sessions overall. It was no surprise IT began receiving complaints. Impact Not only were the affected attendees to the meetings frustrated with the delay, so too were the hosts and other invitees who had to wait for all participants to join and be able to contribute in order to start the meeting. This was extremely unproductive for all and was embarrassing for the company when customers and partners were also participating. The impact on IT was multifaceted. For a paid UCaaS solution, they knew they were protected by service level agreements for quality delivery of service. However, the UCaaS vendor was not the only technology involved. The problem could be anywhere in the communications path, from the end users/client side through to the UCaaS hosting locations. There were gaps in visibility throughout the path and the delay could be in one of those areas, or with a protocol or application dependency. IT needed a way to improve their time to knowledge (MTTK), reduce time lost to finger-pointing among the various third-party vendors, while also isolating the true cause of the audio problem. Troubleshooting Using their Smart Edge Monitoring solution for visibility, the IT team first deployed software nGenius ® PULSE 3000 Series Virtual nPoints on several of the laptops used by affected employees. The IT team configured a series of business transaction tests (BTT) for the nPoint to perform against the Webex service. As the WFH users were all using full VPN services that ran through the corporate network, their activity was also being monitored by the NETSCOUT ® InfiniStreamNG ® (ISNG) appliances in the data center for real-time analysis and views in the nGeniusONE ® Service Assurance platform. Once the BTTs were scheduled for regular, consistent analysis, the nPoints were able to orchestrate the steps a user would take throughout a Webex meeting lifecycle. It would navigate to a meeting, start the audio, start the video, attend the meeting and leave (log-out of) the meeting. The nPoint would send the smart data collected for each test to the nGeniusONE server with Edge Adaptor so the details for each step could be tracked and trended over time (as exhibited in Figure 1). Should delays be detected, such as a 30-second "join audio" time, the nPoint could be configured to send an alert to nGeniusONE. Troubleshooting a "Join Audio & Video" Delay with UCaaS using NETSCOUT Smart Edge Monitoring Unified Communications-as-a-Service (UCaaS) adoption surged during the COVID-19 pandemic. Cisco Webex, Microsoft Teams, and Zoom all became household names and a standard practice in many business continuity plans for meetings and corporate communications during that period. As work from home (WFH) will be a part of future business models, use of these UCaaS technologies will continue, thus the importance of ensuring high-quality user experience to maintain employee and business productivity.

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