One of the most interesting parts about an automobile race is that the actual race begins long before the drivers take their places and start their engines. In fact, the race you see is typically the final stage of a long week of vehicular testing and preparation, as drivers overhaul their engines in hopes of finding and eliminating possible issues that could unexpectedly arise and derail their chances of winning.
In the VoIP industry, this concept of testing and optimizing your network before a major event is referred to as pre-troubleshooting; and as network troubleshooting provider PathSolutions’ CTO Tim Titus contends, it’s one of the most important strategies that your business needs to incorporate in order to ensure optimal VoIP performance.
After all, a VoIP system is only as reliable as the network that it is operating on.
“You need to be able to say that your business is ready for the race,” Titus said when we stole a few minutes with him. “It’s all about finding and fixing problems ahead of time, so that your end users won’t have anything to complain about once 9 a.m. rolls around, and employees start moving large amounts of data under high pressure.”
Why is it so important to ensure strong VoIP performance? While VoIP connectivity issues or unplanned system downtime may not cost the average business millions dollars in lost revenue, it can still cause serious embarrassment for your company that reflects poorly on the IT department. For this reason, poor VoIP performance could ultimately be the determining factor in whether or not upper management decides to outsource IT operations to a managed services provider or let the department maintain control over its network.
If you’re a corporate executive trying to close a deal over a VoIP line, for instance, you can’t afford for your conversation to be derailed by packet loss or latency. Conversely, conversations must be crystal clear at all times. If an interaction taking place across the phone is not clear, executives may begin to ask questions and take action to improve the situation themselves. This could result in you, or other IT employees, losing their jobs.
You may be thinking: Pre-troubleshooting sure sounds important, but how does any IT manager have the time to devote to this issue? After all, networks are complex entities and most organizations lack the visibility that is needed to find the root-cause of network errors.
The answer is that most IT professionals don’t have the time or resources to devote to pre-troubleshooting, which is what makes PathSolutions’ automated TotalView 6 root-cause troubleshooting solution such a valuable asset. The company’s platform uses lightweight coding to scan a network and report issues to a central hub in real-time—along with a plain English answer detailing the exact cause and location of errors.
How effective is TotalView 6 for pre-troubleshooting purposes? Recently, Titus and the PathSolutions’ team were able to put TotalView 6 to the test at the Interop conference’s Hot Stage. In case you’re unfamiliar with Hot Stage, it’s a network designed to test the functionality of the conference’s main network, InteropNet. Interop is a conference designed to showcase the latest data center technologies, and so uptime is of the utmost importance at this event. Hot Stage is designed to identify issues that could arise during the event and cause network disruptions.
According to Titus, TotalView 6 was able to identify a broken router, which allowed the team to solve the problem beforehand and prevent a disaster.
“TotalView 6 located a router that was losing memory and would reboot every few days,” said Titus. “The software discovered that router before it actually crashed, and thus prevented a big problem at the show.”
It should be noted that just as an automobile race has a short window for finding and preventing problems, so do trade shows like Interop. Since Interop is only a four-day conference, without the help of TotalView 6 the team could have easily spent this much time searching for the root cause of the problem. Moving at this pace, the conference would have been over by the time they found it.
You can learn more about how PathSolutions can help your business ensure a strong VoIP network by clicking here.