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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.
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.