Proactively Resolve Microsoft Teams and Zoom Performance Issues

BrandPost By Zscaler
Dec 06, 2021
IT LeadershipZero Trust

Reduce strain on IT and helpdesk teams with the ability to quickly diagnose video conferencing call quality issues.

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Credit: iStock

One of the most dreaded calls that IT support can receive is a user complaining about poor call quality.

These problems are usually highly disruptive, hard to isolate, and are fleeting. The data required to pinpoint call quality issues are never readily available or aggregated in such a way as to help anyone find the root cause.

Telemetry for diagnosing poor call quality typically starts with the unified communications-as-a-service (UCaaS) provider (like Microsoft Teams or Zoom) that supplies dashboards with call quality metrics. These metrics include the mean opinion score (MOS), a numerical measure of the human-judged overall quality of voice and video sessions, reported on a scale of 1 to 5, with 5 being a perfect call. But that’s where the diagnostics often end; it’s complicated to find where a user with a 3.6 MOS call quality (akin to a garbled cell phone call) had the breakdown.

Finding the root cause requires detailed network path analysis to identify packet loss or latency sources and user-endpoint diagnostics to identify CPU, memory, or Wi-Fi stats gone awry. Unfortunately, even if these data points are available, they are typically captured post-incident, so there is no way to correlate what the UCaaS vendor is

reporting with statistics captured during the Teams or Zoom meeting in question.

There’s finally some good news to those struggling with these issues.

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Figure 1: ZDX ingests API call quality data from Microsoft Teams and Zoom and marries this with application, network, and device performance metrics

Zscaler’s digital experience monitoring offering, called Zscaler Digital Experience (ZDX), has been helping clients diagnose call quality problems since its inception. 

But now ZDX is taking it to the next level, with new integrations with the Microsoft Team Call Quality API and the Zoom API to pull in stats around call, video, and sharing quality for every Teams or Zoom meeting taking place. This data is then seamlessly married with network path (CloudPath) and endpoint device metrics that ZDX collects during the meeting from every employee every few minutes (see Figure 1).

When a user reports a poor Teams or Zoom experience, ZDX provides an integrated workflow to look at call quality metrics, network details, and endpoint details, helping to identify the root cause of the problem, which could be anything from weak Wi-Fi, high ISP latency, high CPU usage, and more (read this blog on tips for finding root causes here).

ZDX integrates with a customer’s existing deployment of Zscaler Client Connector to provide this capability. No new agents are required. And, because ZDX-enabled Client Connector is always on, network and endpoint metrics are being continuously collected. This offers a wealth of forensic evidence during the actual incident.

Now, when someone complains that they can’t hear you, the reason why is only a few clicks away.

Here’s how it looks in practice in ZDX:

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Figure 2: ZDX computes an aggregated score based on call quality metrics gathered from the UCaaS provider

 

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Figure 3: ZDX displays this call quality score over time and on a world map, to identify global, regional, or local issues that may be occurring

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Figure 4: ZDX captures the meetings that occurred over the specified time, along with the associated call quality, ZDX Score, and participant information

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Figure 5: For each meeting, ZDX can display all of the participants of that meeting, along with their individual call quality, ZDX score, audio, hardware, and connection information

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Figure 6: ZDX highlights audio, video, and sharing latency, jitter, and loss metrics for each participant in the meeting

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Figure 7: While the Teams or Zoom meeting is in progress, ZDX captures CloudPath details and can pinpoint spikes in latency or packet loss and the specific hop where that spike occurred

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Figure 8: While the Teams or Zoom meeting is in progress,  ZDX also captures changes in the user’s device, highlights differences in network settings, CPU speed, etc., that may be impacting call quality