Matt Brunk
Matt Brunk has worked in past roles as director of IT for a multisite health care firm; president of Telecomworx,...
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Matt Brunk | July 08, 2013 |


Survey Reveals Troubleshooting Challenges

Survey Reveals Troubleshooting Challenges When 46% of your customers tell you that they must reduce troubleshooting time, then meeting that need is crucial.

When 46% of your customers tell you that they must reduce troubleshooting time, then meeting that need is crucial.

According to a recent Fluke Networks customer survey in April, more than 37% of customers surveyed report they are spending more time supporting VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol), when compared to two years ago. Fluke customers also report that network technicians are spending 48% to 58% more time dealing with emerging wireless LAN and Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) issues. The study goes on to reveal that 41% of network issues require collaboration with one or more other technicians or experts.

Troubleshooting isn't necessarily getting any easier and the efforts are challenged with more BYOD hitting the WLANs and the growth in 802.11n and expected 802.11ac deployments.

While I've enjoyed testing the tester (Fluke Networks OptiView XG: A Hummer On the Network), I've questioned what it is that we should be doing and looking for on recent WiFi deployments and PBX implementations. While everything begins with a site survey and eventually comes back around to the site survey, we've found ourselves needing one or more tools and definitely more than one person to isolate and resolve issues.

Mark Mullins, Marketing Manager at Fluke Networks, showed me their OneTouch AT Network Assistant. The single tool that we almost always end up using is a packet trace (WireShark on a laptop), and the just-released OneTouch V2 provides three new features:

* BYOD Management--New automated Wi-Fi discovery capabilities (including 802.11ac devices) and Wi-Fi packet capture

* Network Performance Acceptance Testing--New wired and wireless performance tests automate the measurement and assessment of end-to-end path performance to prove that network projects were successfully completed and that the performance meets design objectives.

* Inline VoIP Analysis--New inline test provides visibility into IP phone initialization and call control processes, and VoIP conversation quality to simplify troubleshooting of IP phone problems.

The Fluke Networks study shows the value of not just having a packet capture tool but also inline VoIP analysis for IP phones that passes and captures traffic between an IP telephone and the network. The analysis logs the processes and provides a MOS score along with the conversation monitoring.

But the really cool thing about using the inline analysis is that you can observe the IP phone boot-up process and monitor calls and traffic. Then the link information reveals packet statistics and PoE delivery at the station end--not what the PoE switch is sending. This has been somewhat of a comfort factor with technicians because they see the PoE switch is delivering PoE, but that doesn't necessarily mean this is what the IP phone is receiving. PoE issues are usually indicative of cabling issues, defective or damaged patch cords and power supply issues.

In getting back to what else Fluke Networks found: Remember that 41% of network issues require collaboration with one or more other technicians or experts. To help with this, the OneTouch AT is accessible via the GUI.

When 46% of your customers tell you that they must reduce troubleshooting time, then meeting that need is crucial. Understanding and then defining which tools you need to use when and where will help reduce time spent on troubleshooting.

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