Achieving Reliability and Service Quality Using the Cisco Unified Communications


Achieving Reliability and Service Quality Using the Cisco Unified Communications
Achieving Reliability and Service Quality Using the Cisco Unified Communications
Achieving Reliability and Service Quality Using the Cisco Unified Communications

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To address the challenges of proactively monitoring the very large Cisco Unified Communications global network and to achieve reliability and service quality goals, Cisco IT turned to the Cisco Unified Communications Management Suite. The Cisco® internal Unified Communications network is a very large global deployment, having more than 85,000 IP phones spread over six continents.

Being in new and uncharted territory in the initial stages, the Cisco IT team first had the challenge of defining methodologies and metrics for measuring and monitoring the key components of service quality: 

Availability (Can I pick up the phone and get dial tone? Does my call connect? Can I leave and retrieve voicemail?)

Performance (How is the voice quality? Did I get disconnected mid-call? How does the voicemail sound? How fast is the voicemail prompt?)

The team also had the additional challenge of figuring out approaches, techniques, and tests to:

Detect configuration issues

Reduce recovery time in the event of a service failure


As Cisco IT converts into IT as a Service Organization (ITaaSO), it has defined and documented the service roles and responsibilities required to successfully complete this transformation. The roles support the three tenets of an ITaaSO model: client- and customer-centric, business value driven, and cost Effective. This best practice describes the service roles, and details how they apply to the five service lifecycle phases and IT Operating Model.

With their reliability and service quality goals in mind, the Cisco IT team defined specific requirements, methods, and procedures, and chose Cisco Unified Communications Management Suite products to effectively address their needs for service quality metrics measurement and diagnostics.

The team implemented a network management architecture that has Cisco Unified Operations Manager running in each of the six Cisco IT data centers, distributed worldwide. These Cisco Unified Operations Manager instances provide a real-time view of the network, perform end-to-end and synthetic phone tests to measure service availability and performance, and provide a rich set of diagnostics capabilities for troubleshooting. Every minute of every day 175 test calls are initiated across all global theaters of Cisco IT’s Unified Communications deployment, and provide crucial information for detecting availability, performance, and service degradation issues. Test failures provide an email notification for operator action. Additional tests are performed as needed using Cisco Unified Operations Manager for troubleshooting purposes, including phone registration, Message Waiting Indicator (MWI) testing, conference connection, and emergency calling tests.

The Cisco Unified Service Monitor product (another component of the Cisco Unified Communications Management Suite) is used for real-time voice quality monitoring. Forty Cisco Unified Service Monitor 1040 sensors spread across the Cisco Unified Communications deployment collect Mean Opinion Score (MOS) information, which is used to provide detailed voice quality reports. Voice quality degradation alerting thresholds are configured based on specific selection criteria, allowing more focused alerting to facilitate troubleshooting of voice quality issues. The 1040 sensors are also used for detailed data collection on specific network spans, application services, and trouble spots; for service quality monitoring; and for detecting and troubleshooting service quality issues.

Mature (technology has been on the market for > 5 years)
Proactively identify voice design and implementation problems, which include configuration issues such as:Incorrect device setupIncorrect gateway configurations leading to low MOSDial plan misconfiguration 

Reducement of recovery time. 

Improvement of unified communications system reliability, availability and end user experience on a continual basis. 

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