Ask the Experts: How to Test LAN Network Health for UCaaS

Welcome to Ask the Experts, brought to you by CloudServicesUniversity.com. In this video, Intelisys’ SVP Cloud Transformation Andrew Pryfogle reviews the important steps for testing customers’ LAN network health before deploying UCaaS with 8×8’s Vice President of Strategic Channel Development Chris Peters. Find out more about enterprise-class cloud communications from Chris and the 8×8 team here: http://8×8.cloudservicesuniversity.com/

Andrew: Hey guys, welcome back to another Ask the Experts session. I want to talk real quick here about LAN readiness. We’ve been talking about how do you deploy UCaaS successfully. I’ve asked a guy to jump in here who’s been in this game for a long time, Chris Peters, who’s the Vice President of Strategic Channel Development for 8×8. One of the newer suppliers in our portfolio, and it has a huge base of business customers all over the country that have been deploying this stuff. Chris, welcome man.
Chris: Thank you, appreciate it. Glad to be part of the show.
Andrew: It’s great to have you here, man. We want to talk about LAN readiness. It’s interesting because 8×8 has gone through a big kind of evolution over many years. You used to be focused on pretty small businesses and now you’ve moved up market. It used to be more of a do-it-yourself installation but now you guys have some really cool, kind of white glove, turnkey solutions for implementation. I wanted to give you guys a chance to talk about how important the customer’s LAN is to an overall positive UCaaS experience. If it’s done poorly, it can blow up on them. What steps are important for Sales Partners and customers to take to make sure that their LAN is ready for UCaaS deployment? What are your thoughts there?
Chris: Well, I mean our customers are all over the world, multi-site deployments. The days of just shipping phones, plugging them in and they work are long gone. You’ve got an IT person that’s involved. Obviously the LAN is the last feet vs. the last mile. It’s critical to the voice quality. We have tools that we either allow our customers to run remotely off our website, or we’ll bring in one of our sales engineers or one our deployment engineers to run them on site at each of their sites–wherever they may be in the world.
First thing we look for is, it’s got to be a good wired LAN. We do run over WiFi, especially with the desktop soft phones and the mobile phones–those are mostly on WiFi–so we know how to do that with Codecs that are tolerant, like ALBC, like Opus. So it’s not only wired, but typically with an IP phone you’re going to have it wired up. We want to have the voice traffic separated with its own VLAN, set the QOS on the VLAN for expedite forwarding, set all the traffic priority to our destinations in general.
Then when you get out to the router, make sure the SIP ALG is configured correctly. Stateful Packet Inspection is going to be turned off and our network test tools are going to run. We like them to run at least 24 hours to catch that time when they’re going to be having to backup all of the sudden and what not, just to make sure that they know over some period of time what their traffic is going to be. We’ll do that work test. We’ll check for IP fragmentation. We’ll check for latency. We’ll check for packet loss, jitter, any network loops, etc.
On the other side of it, we generally recommend that our customers have dual WAN connections, completely independent, with either MPLS or open internet or both, a mixture thereof with a BGP failover capability.
Andrew: I’ve got it.
Chris: Got to get that WAN right.
Andrew: Really thorough, man. That’s cool. It sounds like it goes down to this initial testing that you do long before you do an onsite implementation. That testing tells you a lot about the health of their network.
Chris: Yeah, and we have to do that at every site. From there we can make recommendations. We know that that site is ready for high quality voice, whether it’s going over the open internet or whether it’s going over the MPLS circuit. From there comes the rest of the deployment process that, as you mentioned, is the full white glove treatment to get these people up and running as quickly as possible.
Andrew: Yeah. Got it. That I think is a real strength of your strategy. You guys have decided strategically as a business this white label, pardon me, white glove approach to implementations, translates more frequently into a great customer experience, it sounds like.
Chris: Mid-market customers demand a lot more than the small business guys did. We spend over a million dollars a month now in deployment services. We will deploy services wherever they are in the world. From our perspective, it may be difficult to close a big deal, but what’s very important to our channel partners is that those deals stick and that’s a happy customer. Trying to put a square peg into a round hole–they’ve got a LAN or a WAN that just isn’t going to work for VoIP, and we don’t want to deploy there. We want to make sure that that gets fixed so they have a great experience, and the channel partner’s happy, and we’re happy.
Andrew: Cool. Hey, great stuff, Chris. Thanks for your commitment to that. That’s really important to our community as well. We’re big fans of that approach. Guys, that’s Chris Peters. He’s the Vice President of Strategic Channel Development for 8×8. Chris, thanks for jumping in man.
Chris: Thanks. Appreciate it. Appreciate your time.
Andrew: Guys, make sure you check out the 8×8 learning center. It’s chock full of a ton of valuable information, white papers and videos, sales tools, things that you can study to get smarter about how to build your cloud practice with 8×8. We’re big fans. You should be too. Good selling.