Skype for Business is new to many organizations, and for many IT leaders who use this Microsoft tool, it will be their first experience with it. When working to support organizations in optimizing their Skype for Business deployments, the same questions around troubleshooting will arise in Skype for Business, as they do in other vendor platforms, such as Cisco and Avaya. However Skype issues can be different because of the nature of the platform.
So if you need help in Microsoft Skype for Business Troubleshooting 101, I'm going to support you through three Skype For Business troubleshooting areas.
1. Checking Server Health when Troubleshooting Skype for Business
Start by looking at your server health from a high level and then drill down to those in the red and see what areas are being affected: latency, jitter, etc. This will give you a better understanding in terms of resource saturation and thresholds.
What's eating up your resources? Is it a specific process? How many CPUs have been used up? How much physical memory and virtual memory is being consumed? Companies with virtual memory can track when memory is known to hit peak saturation levels allowing them to determine when they need to allocate additional resources accordingly.
2. Skype For Business Call History
"What was wrong with the Skype call?" A familiar question to those in charge of troubleshooting unified communications. Check the history. From your home dashboard drill into completed calls and history. In Prognosis you can see how all the details are stitched together and displayed in a tabular format. Identify the number of participants. You can immediately determine whether it was one user having issues, or multiple users i.e. a broader reaching Skype issue.
In the example shown below you can see of the three participants, but only one person had Skype problems: Oliver has multiple threads to the front end whereas Menage and Michelle don't.
In IR, we saw this play out in real life when an IR customer deployed Skype for Business. During a large conference meeting, everyone was having difficulty understanding what the presenter was saying. The assumption was that it was far reaching infrastructure problems as each of the users was experiencing poor quality. However, it was the originator and presenter, the VP, who was having performance problems due to a less than optimal mix of technologies.
With Prognosis, you have the ability to drill down into each stream and the kind of things we learn are:
- Endpoint, whether on wired or VPN
- Statistics on when the user joined and when it was terminated
- The type of server - which was remote,
- The minimum MOS in each direction (which is really important, as you could have a great average MOS but as an end user you are going to experience the worst)
- The details Microsoft gives; latency, jitter, packet loss.
In the conference calls details, the signalling session was terminated due to a loss in network. So essentially Oliver was off campus, using an unreliable network and that's why he was falling off and coming back on.
Never underestimate the value in educating end users. If their mindset shifts from “the session didn't work properly” to “I wonder if my network/server/endpoint is working…” you'll make large strides in your user adoption from the moment you login to Skype for business!
What happens if some users weren't using Skype for Business, but Avaya or Cisco instead? A third party multi-vendor monitoring and troubleshooting tool, like Prognosis integrates seamlessly with these platforms.
3. Skype for Business In-flight Conference Call Problems
The final area where you might want to start troubleshooting Skype for Business calls is real-time “in-flight” conference calls. This is helpful if someone contacts the helpdesk while they're having problems on a conference call. Prognosis provides the ability to navigate towards the particular active conference call that's underway and drill down to see what's happening. Microsoft send information every 30-45 seconds so the dashboard is getting updated in real-time and the administrator can see whether the issue is isolated to the one user, or a broader issue, just like in historical calls. It can see the underpinning metrics of latency, jitter and packet loss and the overall call status. A color system can show whether performance is good, average or poor on each of the elements.