Prioritize for best quality
Here's a nice tip for getting better service from your VoIP installation. Set a priority on it so other apps won't steal processor cycles.
Do you have a VoIP tip? Why not send it in?
Although Quality of Service on the network is certainly critical to the success of Voice over IP, it shouldn't monopolize your attention. The network is important, but so are the clients and servers. This is particularly true in an IP Telephony environment, where you might have soft phones on the desktops and an IP Telephony gateway or other application, such as IVR or voice mail, running on a Windows NT or Windows 2000 server that may also be running web, proxy, email and even file and print services. On such computers, other applications contend with your voice applications for processor resources just like your VoIP packets contend with the packets of other applications for network bandwidth. Thus, it is possible for some application, such as a web browser or screen saver, briefly to consume enough CPU resources to affect your call, even when the network is behaving itself.
One solution is to adjust the priority of your applications by right clicking on the process in Task Manager. Microsoft's operating systems have had this capability for many generations, but numerous, ominous warnings caused enough apprehension to prevent almost everyone from touching that knob.
However, there is a generally safe way to accomplish this: start your voice application using the "start" command, which can be run from a command prompt, from the Run dialog box or from a shortcut. In any case, it supports a number of options including:
While most applications run at "Normal", some such as screen savers are run "BelowNormal" as default. You can set your voice application to run at AboveNormal by typing "START <application-name> /ABOVENORMAL" at the command prompt. (It's probably easiest to navigate to the directory where the program resides, to avoid eight.three problems; from the Start dialog box, browse to the program you want.) This will help prevent less important applications from using more than their share of processor cycles.
There are a few caveats though:
You generally don't want to set any program to run REALTIME.
You shouldn't set more than one program to run HIGH.
Make sure you test your voice application with the new priority before putting it into production.
Thomas Alexander Lancaster IV is a consultant and author with over ten years experience in the networking industry, focused on Internet infrastructure.
Did you like this tip? Why not let us know? Send an email and sound off.
Voice & Data Internetworking
Author : Gilbert Held
Publisher : Osborne
Published : May 2001
Networking expert Gil Held shows network managers techniques that can be used to transport real-time voice conversations over networks designed for data transmission.
This was first published in August 2001