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VoIP testing

Tips for testing to assure in-use quality.


VoIP testing
Tom Lancaster

After you come up with a plan for implementing VOIP on your network, one of the first things you'll want to do is test it. This tip lists several Dos and Don'ts to keep in mind:

Test during the peak hour.
Many organizations are leery about testing a network during the middle of the day. You may be asked to test late at night when no one is using it, but that's a recipe for disaster because just about any VOIP configuration will sound great when it's the only thing on the wire. Contention with other traffic is what kills you.

Test multiple calls.
Don't just make one call and declare your system a success. Make sure your network can handle multiple calls at once. How many calls you can handle simultaneously depends on a lot of factors like the number of outside lines and Erlangs and busy hours, but whatever that number is, make sure you can establish that many calls during your peak data traffic hour. Also, try making MORE calls than your max to verify that you call admission control prevents the extra calls from being established.

Play some music.
When you're setting up a lot of calls, you many not have enough people physically to carry on conversations at once in order to simulate traffic. This is especially important to do if you are using a codec that suppresses traffic during periods of silence. An easy solution is to play some music to generate lots of traffic.

Test your features too.
While all these calls are connected, make sure you transfer and forward some around. Put others on hold and dial some more. Try 3-way conferencing too.

Thomas Alexander Lancaster IV is a consultant and author with over ten years experience in the networking industry, focused on Internet infrastructure.

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