November 29, 2012

Microsoft Lync and SIP Trunking

One of the ways in which you can reduce costs and simplify multi-vendor VoIP interworking is by routing calls across SIP trunks. This short white paper from Integrated Research suggests some things it's useful to know about your Lync Server environment if you're considering SIP trunking.
As the paper progresses it provides some useful signposts for your SIP journey including understanding your existing SIP traffic, end-to-end voice quality, server capacity and usage.

Then it discusses the specifics of SIP trunking for the Microsoft Lync Server environment and makes some suggestions about monitoring the performance, availability and load on the Lync Exchange Servers and Session Border Controllers.


In your white paper you provide some signposts for someone on a SIP journey; the first of which is to understand your VoIP traffic. Which metrics does Prognosis provide to help you gauge the amount of traffic flowing across your Lync Server VoIP network?

Metrics like the number of active calls and their direction; whether they’re inbound, outbound, internal or in transit allows you to gauge traffic flow. Further information about the type of call – whether it is part of a conference, and comprises just audio, or includes data or video helps you provision sufficient bandwidth.

How does this help manage voice quality?

Voice quality needn’t be an issue with SIP trunking if two key measures are applied – sufficiently provisioned or over-provisioned links, and prioritization of voice traffic. This white paper explains some of the metrics you can use to help provision correctly including insight to peak and average usage, as well as peaks, troughs and spikes.

It’s also important to monitor the connection between the Microsoft Mediation Server and the Session Border Controller and ensure the SBC is not overloaded so it can continue to provide its vital services to the enterprise and the service provider.

Voice prioritization will be a matter for voice and network administrators to agree on and configure data management methods so that the network can accommodate the delay-sensitive, real-time demands of voice.

How important is it to measure Lync server capacity?

As you know within Lync Server environments there are multiple servers, each playing its role in delivering enterprise voice and Unified Communications. Issues with server capacity like insufficient CPU cycles for processing can cause inability to place calls, and for calls that are active, audio distortions. You can monitor the call load to identify the busiest hour and other common busy times to identify if servers become overloaded and unable to service user requests and deliver good voice quality.

Monitoring Lync Server pools identifies problems with the pool itself as well as individual servers and intelligent alerts demistify potential issues before they become real problems. For example a Front End Server within the pool may be consistently using over 90 percent of its processing power and available memory. This can cause attempted calls to fail because of time-outs or insufficient resources. Such overloading is easily identified and administrators are alerted so they can investigate and rectify any load balancing or overall pool capacity issues.

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