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Network Readiness Guidelines and Best Practices
8x8 Support

Network Readiness Guidelines and Best Practices

 

Overview

8x8 provides the following as best practices when implementing or troubleshooting your 8x8 service. These suggestions are for any size network/customer, so some may not be practical or necessary if you are a smaller deployment.

Best Practices

Understand your use cases

Are the users in your company using Work Desktop Application, Work Mobile Application, or physical IP Phones on their desks. This will help you concentrate your efforts on your wireless or wired network.

Conduct site surveys

The more you know about your network, the better prepared you are to properly integrate VoIP. Start from local desktop to your WAN

If users are serviced by a wireless network, make sure you have ample access points (AP) to service all the corners or workplaces, as well as the WiFi access points, which are not overloaded. When moving from WiFi AP to a different AP make sure the handoff is performed properly.

If users are using physical phones or if the workstations are services by the wired network, make sure that you have all prioritization for voice traffic over data

Finally review current WAN bandwidth levels, traffic flows, and existing switches for bottlenecks and chokepoints. Then, identify or determine specific needs through testing and modeling. This helps you identify any trouble points or bottlenecks in your network.

Optimize your network

Implement Quality of Service (QoS)

Implement QoS prioritization for the ingress and egress of your network, as well as ensure all LAN devices adhere to it.

Implement VLANs

Implement VLANs to isolate and monitor VoIP issues. Organize your VoIP and Data traffic by VLAN groups. This practice will greatly simplify problem resolution.

Review Jitter, Packet Loss, Latency and Bufferbloat

Review Jitter, Packet Loss, Latency, and Bufferbloat to the 8x8 Data Center(s) you are using. Ensure there are no issues with these 3 Key Performance Indicators, as they represent the highest impact to your call quality. Many times these KPI's are caused by external upstream carrier issues that may require you to open tickets with your Internet Service Provider. Bufferbloat is high latency in packet-switched networks caused by excess buffering of packets. Bufferbloat can also cause packet delay variation (also known as jitter), as well as reduce the overall network throughput. When a router or switch is configured to use excessively large buffers, even very high-speed networks can become practically unusable for 8x8 Voice Traffic. Some communications equipment manufacturers placed overly large buffers in some of their network products. In such equipment, bufferbloat occurs when a network link becomes congested, causing packets to become queued in buffers for too long. In a first-in-first-out queuing system, overly large buffers result in longer queues and higher latency and do not improve network throughput.

Baseline network traffic

For a comprehensive understanding of your network traffic, capture and store network data before implementation, shortly after deployment, and again a month or so after deployment. With these 3 datasets, you can spot trending data on the performance of your network. Baselining validates 8x8 performance, helps future capacity planning efforts, and provides a long-term understanding of your 8x8 service.

Use Cat5e or Cat6 cables and patch cords

Use of least Cat 5 (preferably Cat 6) cabling (and patch cords) to your phone and pc. Also, ensure your network switch can properly handle the number of devices if you are using both PC and Phone on a single network run. Minimize "daisy chain" of network switches if using more than one switch, each should have a direct link to the "core" or "edge" device. All connections/links should be at least 100 meg FULL duplex.

Reporting

Understand and measure call quality components using 8x8 analytics. There are a variety of metrics you can use to assess 8x8 call quality, including jitter, MOS, R-Factor, gap density, burst density, Quality of Service prioritization, and compression techniques.

Review Jitter, Packet Loss, Latency, and Bufferbloat to the 8x8 Data Center(s) you are using. Ensure there are no issues with these 3 Key Performance Indicators, as they represent the highest impact to your call quality. Many times these KPI's are caused by external upstream carrier issues that may require you to open tickets with your Internet Service Provider. Bufferbloat is high latency in packet-switched networks caused by excess buffering of packets. Bufferbloat can also cause packet delay variation (also known as jitter), as well as reduce the overall network throughput. When a router or switch is configured to use excessively large buffers, even very high-speed networks can become practically unusable for 8x8 Voice Traffic. Some communications equipment manufacturers placed overly large buffers in some of their network products. In such equipment, bufferbloat occurs when a network link becomes congested, causing packets to become queued in buffers for too long. In a first-in-first-out queuing system, overly large buffers result in longer queues and higher latency and do not improve network throughput.

Baseline network traffic. For a comprehensive understanding of your network traffic, capture and store network data before implementation, shortly after deployment, and again a month or so after deployment. With these 3 datasets, you can spot trending data on the performance of your network. Baselining validates 8x8 performance, helps future capacity planning efforts, and provides a long-term understanding of your 8x8 service.

Optimize the User Environment

Use a quality headset

Headsets can vary in price and performance considerably. The selection of headset will depend on whether desk phones or softphones are being used, and the environment they are being installed in (background noise levels being key).  Some people prefer earpieces for both ears or just one, cupping the ears or resting on the ear, resting on the head or behind the neck.  Some like the freedom of wireless headsets, though these usually come at a considerable price premium, and battery life should be considered as they are not primarily designed for Call Centres where they are in use all day. PC headsets have the further consideration of their connectivity mechanism, e.g. USB or headset jack. Headsets connecting using a headset jack typically lack the features of the more advanced USB headsets which may have built-in noise reduction and echo suppression.  If using headset jack-style headphones, the minimum specification for the PC sound card must include echo suppression. Telephony headsets are usually more expensive than their PC equivalents, though not always with any justification.  When buying headsets for desk phones, check that the phone actually has a dedicated headset port, as without one usually the headset will also need a separate amplifier. 8x8 has no particular recommendation for headsets.

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