Conducting a network assessment before deploying Skype for Business and/or Teams, or any other UC system is a vital step towards ensuring the success of the deployment. In addition to provisioning servers with adequate hardware, during the planning phase of their UC deployment, organizations need to ensure their underlying network meets all the technical requirements necessary for a stable operational infrastructure.
A UC Network Assessment is an evaluation of an organization’s data network. The purpose is to determine the capacity and capabilities of the network, with a goal of identifying and addressing any problems that may negatively impact UC performance prior to implementation. With the results of the assessment in hand, network engineers can determine whether or not the existing network infrastructure can support the applications and increased data traffic.
One reason that conducting a network assessment is so important is that, while Skype for Business and Teams offers a full-featured UC functionality, it is entirely dependent on the network; if the network isn’t ready for such a deployment, the user experience will suffer.
The typical UC network assessment best practice flow focuses on the following stages:
1. Discovery: Developing a complete understanding of all aspects of the organization’s network infrastructure, including the current telephony infrastructure, as well as the end goals of the deployment.
2. Modeling: Accurately estimating the bandwidth required for Skype for Business and/or Teams
3. Traffic Simulation: Understanding how Skype for Business and/or Teams will perform under stress in the enterprise environment. To conduct such a test, an organization must simulate enough UC network traffic to cause congestion.
4. Recommendations: Reviewing and analyzing the data collected during the first three phases, and then documenting the findings. This will identify potential bottlenecks and problem areas, including the overall network behavior when operating under load with real-time communications (RTC) traffic. If the network is not ready for the deployment of the UC system, IT can consider the benefits of adding a software-defined network (SDN) solution, such as SDN software and SDN network virtualization.
Because preparing to deploy a new UC system is complex and labor intensive, Unify Square offers Consulting Services lead by experts with many years in the UC field. These services include a robust UC Network Assessment service (for both WAN and WiFi networks) and are designed to not only prepare for a deployment, but to also support the entire Skype for Business and Teams lifecycle once deployed. Additionally, our PowerSuiteTM solutions are designed to provide the data and insights necessary to constantly monitor networks for a healthy run-state.
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