Improve your hybrid workplace video experience: Proven approaches for multi-cloud application performance management
Unified communications adoption is growing for obvious reasons. By the end of next year, it’s expected that 70% of employees will rely on an all-in-one collaboration app like Webex or Microsoft Teams to remain effectively connected and productive. This increasing reliance on cloud communications makes real-time performance management vital especially for video, a company’s “face forward” for digital business services and online customer engagement.
Now more than ever, companies need guaranteed performance between their enterprise network and the UC provider’s service network, which is critical to the delivery of optimal voice and video conferencing experiences from everywhere. To do this, they must focus their attention on performance management capabilities.
Before we explore these capabilities, let’s first consider the challenges that are affecting UCaaS application performance. Bear in mind that delivering an excellent (dare we say “perfect”?) video experience is much more difficult in today’s multi-cloud IT environments, especially with more employees bringing their own connections to the table.
UC application performance problems: 2 common root causes
- Homeworkers on unreliable Internet services and/or Wi-Fi networks: A recent study from Altman Solon found that 64% of IT decision-makers anticipate a growing reliance on public network access methodologies due to the explosion of remote workforces. Half are using only broadband network connections to the public Internet and agree that their application performance is insufficient as a direct result. Almost all of those surveyed admitted that the cost savings of broadband didn’t justify the degraded quality of service.
- Routing remote users over enterprise VPNs: Industry analysts at Metrigy do a good job of breaking this down in their new “Work-from-Anywhere Done Right” guide. Many IT leaders assumed the shift to work from home would be temporary, so they relied initially on VPNs to provide secure remote worker access to data and application services. Unfortunately, VPNs (in conjunction with proxy servers and security devices) are significantly challenged to both scale and support the performance needs of increasingly critical collaboration technologies like video conferencing.
In fact, remote worker VPN connections often create inefficient network routing patterns (commonly referred to as “hairpinning”) that ultimately degrade the UC user experience. Here’s how it happens. VPNs add additional latency to the already present risk of jitter and packet loss by routing session traffic that is ultimately Internet-bound over a VPN connection to the company WAN, then back out Internet drain points to reach services platforms. Hairpinning techniques are problematic when compared to letting individual users access business-critical cloud applications directly via their own Internet connections (split-tunneling).
Delivering highly reliable video services: Performance management is key
Here are several ways organizations can address these challenges to achieve optimal UC performance.
Evaluate your network and your UC provider’s SLAs using the below criteria
- Uptime: Uptime is the amount of time (in days, hours, and minutes) the server, network, or website has been running (a.k.a. up). This is typically expressed as a percentage of the measurement period.
- Mean Opinion Score (MOS): MOS is a standard metric used to measure perceived voice call quality. Scores range from 1 to 5, with 1 being the lowest score and 5 the highest for excellent quality.
- Jitter: Jitter represents variations of delay in packet delivery, measured in milliseconds. The lower the jitter metric, the better; sub-millisecond jitter is outstanding.
- Latency: Latency is the delay between network entry and exit points, measured in milliseconds. Latency outcomes are influenced by the geographical path of the route, network congestion/contention, and systems that are in the path of the packet.
- Packet loss: Packet loss is typically measured as a percentage of all packets transiting the network fabric. In the ideal network, real-time traffic (Voice & Video) should not suffer any packet loss. Unfortunately, that is not a realistic expectation of the public Internet, where the provider platforms lack QoS enablement and are often over-subscribed. Still, absent of the challenges caused by over-subscription, it is not unreasonable to expect a performance level under 1%.
- Global footprint: This is the network topology, inclusive of each network point-of-presence (PoP) where traffic enters and exits a given provider network, along with the global reach of the unified communication service.
Manage the public internet: It’s possible and essential
The unpredictability of the public Internet, resulting in additional delay and/or packet loss can be frustrating to the user community when trying to use collaboration applications like Webex, or Microsoft Teams calling plans. With a growing number of employees working from home, it’s vital to provide the best possible user experience for maximum participation and collaboration in a hybrid work environment. A properly configured SD-WAN routing engine continuously monitors the link for latency, packet loss, and jitter, using those metrics to steer application traffic across the ideal transport medium, as determined by the client’s requirements for performance. This level of application-aware routing sophistication, coupled with quality transport services and path conditioning ensures superior performance for real-time apps like video conferencing.
Application prioritization, traffic steering, and path conditioning capabilities result in a highly effective and efficient network construct, optimizing the network spend while protecting the user experience. With SD-WAN, direct connections to cloud service platforms from providers like Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Microsoft Azure can be established in multiple forms, as indicated by business criticality and the fault tolerance of the user. These attributes help simplify cloud migration strategies and access resiliency, dramatically improving application performance (more on this here). A fully managed service takes this a step further, providing performance monitoring services and security add-ons, including perimeter firewalls, continuous threat monitoring, and incident response services provided by a team of certified security analysts.
Here’s another SD-WAN tip: With so many companies relying on SD-WAN routing with Internet circuits in their WAN infrastructure, a new innovation makes these affordable connections perform like the most expensive ones do — delivering services more like the highly reliable, private Ethernet connections. Ask your network services provider about performance-boosting technologies they may offer to minimize packet loss and deliver enriched experiences across broadband connections.
Manage cloud performance: Network service providers can help you
As your organization relies more on third-party applications hosted in the cloud, your on-ramp to the cloud becomes more important than ever. Cloud SLAs add an additional assurance to boost confidence in UCaaS and cloud app performance. To be clear, cloud SLAs are not an agreement between a client and their cloud service provider (like Microsoft Azure or AWS). It’s an agreement between the client and their network service provider, who ultimately carries the traffic and hands it off to Microsoft Azure or AWS.
Cloud SLAs help organizations to select providers that can ensure consistent, high-quality service performance outcomes, especially when the application user community is dispersed globally. Still, many IT leaders are led to believe that SLAs don’t matter in the cloud, or don’t apply to direct cloud connections. Further, most providers don’t even offer cloud SLAs, but the fact is that every service is an opportunity for an SLA. Masergy’s cloud SLA, for example, includes guarantees of 99.99% availability with redundant cloud connections and infrastructure, ensuring a more stable and resilient service experience.
“Anyone can provide cloud phone services—the bigger part of it is the quality of service. When a single company provides SD-WAN, UCaaS, and management, quality is assured.”
— Director of IT for a large property management company
Transform your VoIP and video experience
These approaches will help you transform your cloud UC application experience, enabling you to improve uptime, MOS, and SLAs for outstanding performance. A huge part of this comes down to your network services provider. As we’ve covered, your provider should offer uptime SLAs, cloud SLAs, reliable global availability, 100% packet delivery, and 24×7 monitoring and performance visibility.
Masergy delivers all of this and more. Learn more about our UCaaS offering
Contact us today and consult with one of our SD-WAN experts.
Call us now to arrange a consultation (866) 588-5885.
Or arrange for a consultation through our request form.
Three Considerations for Creating a Future-Ready Enterprise
Learn about what business leaders should do to create a technology-forward, future-ready enterprise.
Delivering On The Digital-First Promise: How To Meet Heightened Demand With Less Risk
The best digital strategies foster an IT ecosystem where checks and balances allow emerging technologies to synthesize with security and the network.
New Masergy Research Reveals Businesses Seek Greater Integration and Consolidation in Collaboration Tools and Services
CIO Research Reveals New Success Requirements for UCaaS and CCaaS
When it comes to cloud migration, you’ll need a stronger focus on integration and consolidation than you did two years ago. CIO research explains why.
AI Can Automate Your Network: Buyer’s Guide from ZK Research
Want to use AI to automate your network? These three tips from ZK Research serve as a buyer’s guide for AIOps success.
Sorting Out the Differences in SSE, SASE and SD-WAN
Running a network, connecting users to information, and defending enterprise data have all been becoming interdependent workloads. This article will help buyers sort out what they need and who offers the best solutions in each category.
Think of SASE as a Framework — Not a Checklist
A checklist approach to SASE can be problematic. Instead, tailor your perfect SASE solution to solve your biggest business problems — here’s how.
Masergy Acquisition helps Comcast Business be Named a 2022 Market Leader for Managed SD-WAN Services and SDN Transformation Services by ISG
Solution advancements as well as the increased capabilities gained from Masergy make Comcast Business an SD-WAN 'Leader'.
Rebalancing security and business innovation post-pandemic
The accelerated transformation has spurred new governance phases. Rebalance innovation and security by putting these checks and balances in place.
New 2022 SASE Market Trends Study Shows Solutions Exceed Expectations in Remote Work Connectivity and Security
Distributed workforce trends and digital services accelerate SASE investments, according to CIO research sponsored by Masergy and Fortinet.
CIO Survey Says SASE Solutions are Exceeding Expectations
New research from CIO reveals which SASE features early adopters prioritize and where benefits payout beyond initial predictions.
Masergy, Fortinet, and Ingram Micro Trailblazing SD-WAN for Resellers with New Managed Services Sales Route
Offering enables resellers to easily scale their businesses, meeting growing demand for network and security services supporting hybrid work.
The Transformation Trifecta at the Heart of the Hybrid Work Revolution
How sustainable is your hybrid work strategy? It's time to unite the disciplines of connectivity, cybersecurity and collaboration.
Masergy Wins “Editor’s Choice MSSP of the Year” Global InfoSec Award During RSA Conference 2022
As a leading managed security services provider, Masergy earns one of Cyber Defense Magazine’s most prestigious awards. Here’s why.
Getting Software‑Defined Network as a Service (SD‑NaaS) Right
Explore modern SD-NaaS, understanding benefits, drawbacks, ways to get started, and considerations when selecting your provider.
The Comcast Business Story – An Overview
Comcast Business and Masergy have joined forces - We are your one provider for all your secure networking needs.
SEVEN leaders from Comcast Business and Masergy recognized on CRN’s 2022 Women of the Channel List!
New Distribution Route Makes SD-WAN Services Frictionless for Resellers
Can you hear me OK? How to keep video conferencing from dragging down your network
A more reliable network service is non-negotiable when relying on video conferencing for hybrid work. Here’s what IT leaders should consider.
Making the Business Case for SASE
Want to make SASE a no-brainer? Explore the essential elements for justifying your investment, and leveraging your existing initiatives to get started.
Masergy Awarded 2022 TMCnet Remote Work Pioneer Award
Masergy succeeds in making remote work actually work well for IT teams in the long run.
Masergy Awarded 2022 INTERNET TELEPHONY SD-WAN Product of the Year Award
Masergy’s SD-WAN demonstrates the innovation, vision, and execution to deliver software-based networking tools driving upward market trajectory.
Masergy Acquisition Helps Comcast Business Achieve #2 Position in 2021 U.S. Carrier Managed SD-WAN Services Leaderboard
As the fastest growing SD-WAN company, Comcast Business takes second position, thanks to organic growth and Masergy.
Masergy Wins Fortinet’s MSSP Partner of the Year Award
The award recognizes Masergy's exemplifying innovation, growth, and strategic business alignment with Fortinet.
AIOps lessons learned: Be careful when selecting a vendor
The path to AI raises several questions. Where should you start? Learn how AIOps can make operations speedier and more efficient.
Masergy Named as a Visionary in 2022 Gartner® Magic Quadrant™ for Network Services, Global for Sixth Consecutive Year
Masergy today announced it has been named a Visionary in Gartner, Inc.’s March 2022 Magic Quadrant for Network Services, Global, report.
Meeting the moment for hybrid work cybersecurity
A growing number of cyberattacks and the explosion of hybrid work have pushed security resources to the brink, exposing the need for more managed services backed by machine learning.
From norming to performing: Getting hybrid work into shape for 2022
Trying to turn telecommuting into something sustainable? These key questions can help IT leaders achieve high performance for remote and hybrid work.