When we talk about unified communications – or any new communications technology – the focus is always on the benefits adopters are going to enjoy and how modern features are going to completely change how they think about communications. Don’t misunderstand – those features generate the mobility, the process improvements, the increased collaboration, and multi-modal communication, and all the other elements that are driving the growth of UC.
What we don’t often hear about is that not all deployments go as smoothly as expected, but those situations do happen – more often than providers would like. It might be that audio quality isn’t as clear as expected, or video calls suffer from constant buffering, or conference calls frequently drop in the middle of meetings, or any other quality issues.
Let’s face it, IT departments are typically quick to denounce any fault on their network side and point the finger at the provider when services don’t perform as expected. The truth is that, often, it’s because corporate networks haven’t been properly assessed for VoIP and UC readiness to identify potential issues that impact service quality. It’s something that has plagued providers since the early days of VoIP.
SkySwitch is hoping to help its partner community overcome that obstacle with a new white-labeled network performance assessment tool. The web-based NPAT application – originally described by SkySwitch founder Eric Hernaez last month, allows MSPs, resellers, and other partners to pre-qualify clients for deployment and identify potential trouble spots. Because it’s a web-based tool, the NPAT can be deployed and run remotely, with just a small plug-in to download by the client.
The tool can run three separate tests, assessing route, speed, and VoIP.
- The Route test performs a test from the customer location to the selected geo-node and provides results of that path.
- The Speed test provides reporting on a variety of related metrics, including download and upload speeds, and includes a glossary and FAQ to help customers understand less common metrics and terms.
- The VoIP test, perhaps the most important one for communications providers, simulates calls from the client network and allows the user to choose the number of concurrent calls and codec. The output is a determination of whether the Internet connection is capable of handling the call volume based on the system that’s being deployed. The VoIP test also doubles as a real-time QoS troubleshooting tool.
In addition to simply reducing the headaches of poor performance due to customer networks, the NPAT reduces truckrolls to customer sites by allowing pre-deployment assessments and post-deployment troubleshooting to be done remotely using a white-version of the tool that helps build trusted relationships between end users and SkySwitch partners.
To learn more about how MSPs can build their businesses by adding VoIP and UC services to their portfolios – among other services – join MSP Expo at its Las Vegas event, happening April 24-25 at the MGM Grand. Communications services will be only one of the many topics on an agenda designed to help MSPs become increasingly valued partners to both vendors and end customers. It’s not too late to make plans and register for the show.
Edited by Erik Linask