TMCnets Mae Kowalke recently spoke with Michel Nadeau, president of Minacom, about the types of VoIP quality problems service providers need to test for, and how his companys solutions can help.
VoIP quality is sometimes used synonymously with voice quality. But Nadeau pointed out that Audio quality is only one aspect of VoIP testing, and its not the biggest aspect.
Minacoms solutions focus on service level testing, which Nadeau explained means they check for the types of problems VoIP users are likely to complain about.
A lot of test equipment out there is looking at bits and bytes and protocols. We are testing the services as they are used and perceived by end-users, he said.
What sorts of problems might those be? Nadeau listed presence of dial-tone, time-to-connection, two-way audio, and voice-mail/caller ID functionality as being just as important as audio quality, if not more so.
VoIP conferencing also may not work well, he said, because some of these VoIP conferencing systems are so new that that software is not well-oiled.
For example, variations in voice tone and pitch of conference participants can cause their connection to be dropped.
Glitches such as these are real-world problems, and can create big headaches for service providers who may not have tested for user-perceived issues.
Many test equipment companies produce systems for use in lab conditions, but in a real network, you are testing services used by human beings that are geographically very dispersed, Nadeau pointed out.
Were really testing in a different way than a typical test manufacturers, he added.
Minacoms focus is on solutions that automate the testing process. That means a cable operator offering VoIP services, for example, doesnt need to add an army of technicians to ensure service quality.
Especially for providers who have never done voice before, Nadeau said, the type of testing expertise built into Minacoms solutions is required if the revenue potential of VoIP is to be realized.
The whole idea of testing goes far beyond voice quality, Nadeau told TMCnet.
Nadeau predicts that, in the future, companies will develop many kinds of IP-driven, feature-rich services, but they may not work flawlessly.
Operators will have no other choice than to get a platform to test those services, he said. IT
Mae Kowalke is Channels Editor for TMCnet.com.