Skype for Business is frequently used in a multi-vendor environment that includes Cisco, Avaya, Sonus, AudioCodes. Join us during the session as Prognosis gives you everything you need to identify and eradicate problems before they impact the user experience from pre-deployment network assessments – the first Microsoft certified tool that validates if you are ready for production
IR | BrightTALK
Host: Lynn Ho, Regional Marketing Manager - APAC/MEA
Speakers: Sean Soo, Pre-sales Engineer
Hello, everyone. Thank you for joining us today. I’m Lynn and I lead Regional Marketing for APAC and the Middle East-African Region at IR. Welcome once again and thanks for joining us at the Meet the Expert Series at IR. This is a new series of webinars that have been painstakingly put together by our pre-sales experts that will cover a variety of hot topics on how the Prognosis solution has helped solve key customer challenges across the APAC and Middle East-Africa region.
Today's session will be held by Sean Soo, one of our senior pre-sales experts at IR. Sean has a wealth of experience in the Unified Communications and Contact Center Environment for years. And today, he has selected the top four challenges that our customers have been facing and experiencing in this type of business environment, and how our solution has been deployed to solve their challenges.
While there are still people in the midst of logging in, let's run through some quick logistical items before we kick off the session for today. We have a number of attachments that are available on the Attachments Tab below, which includes today’s slides, used case studies, as well as key brochures.
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You can also email us at the same address shown at the slide, email@example.com, for a more detailed demo tailored to your environment.
Here's the agenda for this session. And we'll be covering four key areas that will help you maintain success and excellence for your Skype for business environment today.
So let’s get to it.
For the benefit of some new attendees who are unfamiliar to IR, here's a brief overview of our organization. We have been around for about 30+ years and are publicly listed on the Australian Stock Exchange,
We have over a thousand enterprise customers globally and growing steadily, and have some of the largest fortune 500 customers that use our solutions across many key verticals. Our two primary solution areas for the UCC environment, are Performance Monitoring and Experience Management across key vendors like Cisco, Avaya, and Microsoft.
Do stay tuned to our upcoming webinars in the Meet the Experts series at IR, where my fellow pre-sales peers will cover other aspects of the UCC environment through the lens of the different vendors. At this point in time, I’ll take this time to head over to Sean as he deep-dives into what makes IR different from the rest.
Over to you, Sean.
So, what makes IR different from the rest?
IR has been certified by the three major Unified Communication vendors in the market today, namely, Microsoft, Cisco, and Avaya, where we have obtained solution partner status at Cisco and DevConnect partner for Avaya.
As a large enterprise customer, you might have different vendors used in different offices around the globe. And this is where our real strength lies: in multi-vendor performance monitoring.
Prognosis often gets confused with your run-of-the-mill performance monitoring software that does generic SNMP or generic network monitoring. But we are a lot different, as you can see from the details of this table.
First, we do not use probes to capture our data. This enables ease of deployment and management operationally within the IT department in terms of Prognoses. There will be less hurdles to go through on your security policy, as there will be no foreign software installed on your equipment or service.
Testing: IR has a full suite of outside-in testing to make sure your contact centers or unified communications environment are running smoothly. We can do a regular availability test that we call HeartBeat. What this does is make a live call into your environment to test whether the call is able to be picked up, whether the call answer time meets your SLA, and whether the call quality was good, poor, or unacceptable.
Prognosis is customizable when needed to create displays. And we could even do a live canvas display, so you can see real-time data displayed any way that you want.
Other than call quality, we can also see metrics on your whole system, so that you can identify issues quicker. For example, if a user complains of poor call experience, after viewing the details on the Prognosis dashboard, you can see it could be his single-core processor causing the poor audio experience.
We see deep into your contact center environment and we have supporting modules that does call recording assurance, where we can identify missing recordings—but that’s for another Meet the Experts session.
Video is not left out. So with support for Cisco telepresence, Polycom video, and Skype video, Prognosis can view real-time statistics and call quality on your video call experience.
With the ability to see video call metrics in real-time, in combination with Prognosis Path Insight, where we can do hop by hop analysis of the video or audio call flow, plus automation. Such as running a PowerShell or other CLI commands when sudden thresholds are met.
Troubleshooting will be a breeze.
Listening to customers’ problems is IR’s first priority. So focusing on Skype for Business in this webinar, we zero in on the top four customer challenges that IR has helped to solve.
So the four customer challenges that we have come across over the years, supporting Microsoft - Skype for Business customers, are:
- Problems with Skype client signings.
- Don't know where to look when there’s a call quality issue during or after a call.
- Inter-department finger pointing.
- A reporting problem, or lack of reporting. We'll look into that in further detail later on.
Now, let's go into our first case for today: solving sign-in issues.
I'm sure you see this often, especially when deploying a new branch, or a brand new Skype for Business setup. And the users were previously using legacy systems and have no idea how to operate modern unified communications, too.
This problem is especially made worse when you have 15,000 users to look after. So with Prognosis, I'm going to show you how you can solve this in one click.
So before we get into the first case, some context on what Prognosis can view at a glance. So we can see an overview of the Skype for Business help metrics. So at a glance, you know which servers or server pools are struggling with capacity issues like these.
And we can also see in a User Inventory.
So when you're in a large enterprise getting an overview of inventory of who the Skype users are in your organization, you tend to lose count when managing a large system. Especially to see who is an enterprise voice and who is on PC-to-PC license, and so on.
So this will give you a nice dashboard overview of your organization.
So now let's get back to the sign-in errors. So how do we troubleshoot sign-in errors today?
We can see all the server information here, and we can see something called Client Sign In Errors.
So in one click, we can identify what is causing the particular error that the user is facing.
For example, we have an account here, it’s called firstname.lastname@example.org. His workstation name is called USER10.
And when was it? What is the timestamp? And what happened?
So the user failed to log on because he was logging on outside authorized hours. So this is just an example of an error but could be other things.
The more common one would be a misspelled login or bad user account. So I myself have encountered this when I forgot my password. So I tried to log in, and it failed. And I use Prognosis to find out what happened. And I realized: “It was a wrong username that I was using.” With that, I could quickly solve sign-in errors with Skype for Business.
Customer case number two, we're going to look at troubleshooting phone and conference calls. So if you're using a traditional network monitoring tool, it will be hard to correlate all the data.
So let's see how promises help to solve personal problems, too.
So what we can do here is after logging into Prognosis, we can click Conversations easily. We can view conversations by site or we can view conversations on a global scale if you have multiple Skype for Business calls.
So what we're going to do here is that we can search by a Dialed Number, Username, or Extension Number. We can select a Time Range to search for a particular call.
Or we can just go by Filters. Data such as if I want to see live active calls, I can select here; real-time calls.
I can select historical calls.
I can see calls by Diagnostics.
I can see calls which are having good quality or poor quality.
Calls I can also go by Session Type.
And whether it was an Internal or External call.
By user type.
Whether it is a Wireless Connection or Wired Connection.
We can also see if this is an audio call or video call. So we can filter down to that extent.
And even if you do know the conference ID, we can just key in the conference ID. And you'll pull out all those calls with a matching conference ID, and so on.
Right, so you can indicate if you would like Mediation Server, Edge Server, and Subnet details.
So let's look at a call with unacceptable quality.
So the first one that comes up is Jitesh. In a normal troubleshooting scenario, you probably either keep track of this page or your user might give you a call and say: “Hey I had a poor quality call earlier. Can you please check for me?”
So if we go to this link here and see Jitesh was calling a team at Lync. So let's see the details inside.
So I've already loaded the page where Jitesh called team, and we can see that this was a successful call. The response was okay, and it was completed.
The details of the call: of when was it invited and when did the call end.
But one thing to note here is that we would like to normally see whether this was a connection, wired or wireless connection.
And how was the host data shared? So we can see host details here.
The user's PC is having 8 Cores. So the PC is not the problem. So sometimes, you may face issues where the PC is the problem. In this case, the PC’s all doing very well. Even the processor core is not too bad.
Latency is slightly high. Here as well; slightly high. And same with the other side.
So this looks like a latency issue that caused the call to have problems.
So then we can look at the network hops and see: “Okay, so it seems; that there seems to be an issue here with the call from Jitesh’s PC to the first switch.”
So we can see the first switch has some error. So the error, the latency is here. Let's take a look at what's causing this latency.
So when we click on the switch, we realized that: “Okay, there seem to be some errors inside the switch.”
We can see that there is a red dot here right to give you an indication that Interface Number One could be causing the problem. It’s facing a high transmission rate. We can see other details like whether it was a PoE switch or not.
And if we go down, we can see where the problem lies. Was it somewhere? Was it an internal latency problem?
Let's click into Interface One to check further.
So Interface One seems to have a packet loss. And that could be causing the problem for the poor quality calls. It looks like this here.
So we give you a narrower precision to show you that there is a lot of Inbound Unknown Protocols on this interface, so they recommend us to set up VLANs. So that you don’t need to communicate via other protocols. Broadcasts can steal CPU attention on a machine. This could be the probable cause of the latency issue.
So in Use Case number three, we're going to look at how to reduce troubleshooting time for the IT teams in your organization. Now without a specialized UC performance monitoring tool, if you want to troubleshoot a particular problem, you might have to use packet capture software.
So it may take a really long time to sift through all the data, download packet capture data for like 10,000 calls an hour, or even a day. And it's really going to be very tedious and time-consuming.
So what we have here is a module from IR Prognosis. We call it Path Insight.
So, this is part of our package of Unified Communications Performance Monitoring. So, what we do is we not only do Performance Monitoring for the UC layer, we also do Performance Monitoring for the network layer. So, you can see here we support a wide range of vendor platforms on the network layer. Mainly, the minimum requirement is just SNMP, the rest is pretty simple.
So, at a glance we can see all the device status, whether any of the particular routers or switches or even firewalls are facing any problems. As you can see with a big red dot.
You will also receive email alerts, if you want to, on any problems in your organization. So if we just click on any one of them, for example. The interesting thing here is that we can see the status for each interface and even what phone is connected to it.
And we can see the PoE status, whether this is a PoE switch. How much power it’s using: a 29-Watt power consumption. We can also see Inventory; what is the Model of this switch? J9087A.
And from where it is. And we can also put in a Support End Date. So if you have bought a couple of hundred switches, it’s really hard to keep track of. So with Prognosis, you can even put in a Support Expiry Date, a Contract ID, and also a Contact Number to call. This is usually the partner’s contact number or the distributor’s contact number. So you can call them to get a renewal of the support contract.
So, lastly, we also have Financial Information. We can put this to help your finance department put in a Procurement Cost. This is entirely optional, you can choose not to fill this in, but this is good to help you check the amortization. Has this switch already paid for itself over a certain number of years, four years, five years, or even 10 years?
So, inventory-wise, we can easily export it out. So we can export the entire list here of switches as an inventory. This will not be an issue if you have like 5 or 10 switches, but what if you have 100, 200, or even 1000 switches?
So this will really help a lot. We can export it to Excel straight away. So you can see the group, the network equipment it belongs to, the name, IP address, how many interfaces are there in total, and where is the location (is that Santa Clara, for example) and, what is the description, which brand it is.
So this can be easily saved and exported to your own, for your own inventory management.
So when we click on a device that has an issue—we can go inside and take a look. So not only can we see whether it has any error rate. But this one looks like it has an issue on Interface Three. Let's take a look.
And we can not only see the current status, we can see the historical status. So we can define a period and say, “Okay, I want to check what happened last week or, either yesterday or the day before”. And we can take a look at a range from a certain time period.
See, that was there but sudden spike, certain reasons. So then the timestamp is over here, you can see the number of errors that are happening at a certain time.
So it looks like the network prescription says there could be a cabling problem here. So this could be the cause of your voice quality issues or other things such as a phone drop.
So not only can we see data inside the interface, we can also view—regardless if you want further details—like how many of them—inbound errors, different transmissions, and so on.
Okay, so we can also look at a feature we call Gremlins. So we can see what happened a certain time period ago; just if you have some nagging issues that you want to troubleshoot and you think that somebody’s playing with the interface or it keeps rebooting.
You can keep track of it here if the switch interface keeps going up and down.
We can also see a diagram of your organization, of all the switches there that we are monitoring—switches, routers, and network devices that we are monitoring. And we can also interact with that and do a photo.
So if we can see that there's a problem with this Santa Clara router, we can click on it and see what was the issue. You can see the interface that is having the problem.
So we can also see a view of a global map because this map can be changed to a local view or you can have an APAC map or even just a Europe map or just an America map.
So this is just a background that we can change. But the important thing here is that we put the devices and the correct locations to track in real-time, whether any of the network equipment are facing problems or whether there's a bandwidth congestion issue between the sites.
And all these are interactive, we can easily we can click on it and drill down on that particular router or switch.
The next part we have is called a path. That's why our software is called Path Insight. So what we do is we can pin any source and destination IP that we are using or maybe we'll put in the user's IP. And we'll do a path tracing between the different equipment.
And when we click Next, we will see a source IP. They would go through a particular Layer-2 Switch and multiple other switches before it reaches the destination. And so what happens here is that we see some problems in this interface or the multiple interface. But let's just use this as an example.
So, if we click Interface Two, we can see that these switches are okay.
What happened here? There is some packet loss at this particular time and it appears that this interface was not configured correctly. So this interface was configured for half-duplex instead of full-duplex, but that could be one of the causes of the situation that you are in right now. All right, facing some issues with the connectivity.
Other than monitoring performance, monitoring the network equipment, we have some tools that you can use here.
So we have a tool called Poll Device. So what this tool device does is we can use it to check whether SNMP is open. Sometimes if you configure the devices, it's kind of tough to see whether it's any good. Let's just put in a random IP.
So what's going to happen if the SNMP is not enabled? So we can send a ping and an SNMP. So the IP is 236 128.
So, if this is a valid SNMP device, we will see a “Successful”.
So this is a very small tool, but this is very good for the IT Administrator. You can use this to quickly check whether a particular device appears is SNMP-enabled.
So, the next tool that we have here is something called a Call Simulator.
So, what the Call Simulator does is that we can do a range of tests, such as End-to-end testing, Link Troubleshooting, and RTP testing. We can even do a Firewall test or a DSCP Loss test check for QoS.
So, what I'm going to do today is a Link Troubleshooting. So, if you find that you have a problem you know with a certain particular network, some net or particular IP address, you can just go ahead and key that in. For testing purposes, I'm just going to key in a Google DNS IP.
So what this software will do is we will send a simulation packet, I will send a voice packet through to the IP to simulate traffic. And we can see the delay to that IP address. We can see how is the Latency. We can see whether there's any large part of Jitter, Packet Loss, and the overall MOS score. The MOS score, five is the best, and anything less than three is poor quality, medium to poor quality.
So this is a synthetic test. So we are seeing: “Okay, scores over here.” So you can run this test for an hour a day, or even a week to test the stability of the network and also at which point of time—maybe you're facing some condition issues at any particular point of time.
So what I'm going to do here, I'm just going to start the test.
And what we can do is we can save the result. And we will be in the form of an HTML file. And when we open this file, we can see the test that we had done earlier, and whether there was any Jitter, Packet Loss, and Latency.
So the interesting thing about this report is that we can click on any point in time. Like maybe this portion—let's assume that this is high Jitter, for example. You can click there and you can see that at a certain particular hop, there was an amount of Packet Loss happening.
So we can identify which IP address or which hop was causing the issue. So this could apply to your site-to-site locations, or even you could do—if you have a nagging video conferencing problem, facing video calls being dropped, and so on, we can use this tool to help you verify that there really is was a network issue or some other issue during that point in time.
Okay. Let's take a look at some reports.
So the fourth problem that some of our customers had in the past was that they said they had some trouble getting reports for what was happening in the Unified Communications environment.
So with Prognosis, you can easily customize reports in a traditional Contact Center or UC environment. There may be some third party reporting provided by the vendor but, however, they may be difficult to use or do not contain enough information or they are not customizable enough.
So I'm going to show you some of the reports that we have in prognosis and some that we have customized for the customer.
So here's some out-of-the-box basic reports we can pull out daily, weekly, and monthly variations of, such as MOS, Jitter, Packet Loss so Prognosis users can then compare this data quickly and easily.
So this is a custom report that we did for an educational institute with about 16,000 users. They were having problems with their Skype for Business test phones that they were using, which were mainly Polycom. But we could deploy this solution for other Skype-certified phone models, as well.
The customer was facing users who were complaining that they could not use their phones and somehow, the phones were losing registration.
So having such a large number of users, this was hard to keep up with. So using this report, they can easily track which phones were unregistering and when was the last login time. So if there was an issue with the sign-ins, we could correlate this with the client sign-in error dashboards we saw earlier. So you can view from the Prognosis web view. This is a history of them, tremendous amount of troubleshooting time.
So another report that we did was for an IT department managing the video and voice systems for their bosses. Have you ever encountered a situation where the boss wanted to have a video call and the system wasn't working at the last minute just before an important meeting?
So somebody could have unplugged something on their video device or on their endpoint. So with Prognosis, we can create a targeted dashboard, focusing on devices that the VIP Team are using, (which is all the CEOs, directors and VPs) and to proactively monitor their phones and endpoints that the executive members are assigned to. This will mitigate last-minute problems and save the IT department a lot of headache.
Other reports that are available in Prognosis out-of-box are Device Utilization report and Skype Business Meeting Modality reports.
You can use the Device reports to track the recent investment on Skype for Business headsets, from Jabra, Plantronics, and any other brand, to make sure that the users are actively using their assigned devices, instead of their own third party devices.
So this comes to the end of my presentation today. I hope you have enjoyed the presentation.
Please send any questions you have or if you would like to arrange a tailored demonstration for your organization to email@example.com.
So Lynn, do we have any questions from the audience?
Thanks, Shawn. Yes, we do have two questions from the audience right now. So the first question will be, “Do you have plans to support Microsoft Teams?”
Yes, absolutely. So, in fact, our support for Microsoft Teams is ready today, but it's currently in beta testing in our lab, so I can't show you any screenshots.
So we are planning for it to be released really soon. If you have Microsoft Teams in your environment today and you would like to know more, please drop us a mail and we will follow up with you separately.
Okay, we have one more question. “How did you get all the data that we saw earlier?”
Good question. Let me show that to you.
So if we take a look at this slide, we have different protocols sitting here.
So for Microsoft, themselves, we are using SQL to get some of the data for conversation.
And some we have, we get them from WMI. For user information, we get from AD. And some of the real-time data, we take from the SDN API.
So some other protocols you see here, such as CDR, SNMP, and AXL, those are specifically for Cisco.
And for the Avaya portion, we use set commands to get most of the data, as well as CDR and RTCP.
So our real strength here is actually, again, the multivendor support. So with a single platform we can easily support Microsoft, Cisco, Avaya, and the other underlying equivalent such as the SBC-strong Sonus, Audio Codes, Cisco, Oracle, and also where I got this from, Nice and Verint.
Alright. Thanks, Sean. And thanks for everyone joining the webinar today. I hope it had been fruitful and insightful for yourself. I will take all other questions from the chat offline and will reply back to you separately.
Alternatively, if you do think of any other questions, please feel free to email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll get back to you.
So once again thanks for joining us and have a great day ahead.