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Why is it So Hard Finding Root-Cause Forensics?

Sep 16, 2014

art character with magnifierVoIP network troubleshooting can be one of the most difficult, time-consuming and costly processes. Finding the root cause as to why you are experiencing poor quality or unreliable calls is like trying to find a specific piece of hay in a haystack.

There are just too many potential problems that could be contributing to the root cause.

But what makes it so hard?

Unfortunately, as PathSolutions’ CTO Tim Titus explained in a recent IAUG webinar, it comes down to one problem: tool selection. Titus, a network engineer with over 25 years of experience in the networking space, and the architect of the PathSolutions platform, recently took part in a webinar where he spoke to the importance of having the right network troubleshooting tools when attempting to solve VoIP-related problems.

“The big problem is that people typically look at the wrong tools,” said Titus. “The tools that should be used depend on the goal you are trying to achieve. If you want to identify a poor phone call, your users can tell you or you can do CDR record tracking. But all this will help you do is identify poor quality calls. It won’t help you resolve the problem.”To learn more, download our white paper:  The Root-Cause of VoIP Call Quality Problems

Here are some of the other tools commonly used by network professionals when troubleshooting VoIP calls:

  • Packet capture: A packet capture will intercept and analyze IP packets at one point in the network and can let you see issues like latency, jitter and packet loss. But while it can confirm there is a problem, it can’t inform you where that problem originated because it is only looking at one spot of the network. It could be a broken router, switch or WAN link. Once you learn there is a problem, it turns into a guessing game.
  • Application simulation: A call simulation is as simple as it sounds: You make a call, and test the results. But just like a packet capture, you will have no idea where or why the issue is occurring.

Adding to the challenges of network troubleshooting is the fact that even if you do manage to locate a potential contributing problem, it will be difficult to determine its importance. As such, you could brush off something that requires your immediate attention, or alter something that did not need fixing.

“If it’s a trunk port, you should really be concerned,” Titus explained. “Depending on what is plugged in, it really drives how critical it is to get the problem resolved.”

So, what’s the answer to this problem? According to Titus, it all comes down to gaining total network visibility.

“In order to resolve root-cause network forensics,” said Titus. “You need to look deep into the network and ask, ‘What did the network do to cause my call quality to be poor?’”’

This is the same question that led Titus, to found PathSolutions, a network and VoIP troubleshooting company that facilitates Total Network Visibility through fast, lightweight coding and continuous scanning. It’s safe to say that PathSolutions knows more about your network than other solutions because it tracks, records and reports every function. And it can be set up and deployed in just 12 minutes.

Click here to learn why PathSolutions is the go-to source for network troubleshooting solutions.

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