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Onion Approach To WiFi Troubleshooting Basics - Testing Voice Applications 1…2…3...

Guest Blogger

Voice over WiFi is one of many sensitive applications used over WiFi networks today. In some environments like Healthcare voice is critical. When a caregiver hits dial on a phone it has to go through there is no compromise and no forgiveness. In my environment we manage over 3,000+ WiFi voice handsets.


Either testing a newly deployed network or a suspected problem area the easiest thing you can do is validate the network with the actual voice handset.


Over the years you build a process that works for you. In this onion approach I will share my approach validating a the voice application. 


Here are two approaches:


Two Person Testing 


When testing in a team one user uses a wired LAN phone and the other a voice WiFi handset. We determine the test area as a team. The user testing the voice WiFi handset will walk the area and start the count. The user on the voice WiFI handset will start with  (1), the user on the LAN phone will follow with (2), the user on the voice WiFI handset will follow with (3) and so on. 

This test allows for both users to evaluate upstream and downstream traffic. It also allows you to hone into specific areas when you hear issues with call quality like roaming pops, lost words, or even drop calls. It is important to test with a known working phone first. Then test with the users phone. This helps to identify any possible issues with broken phones. 


Try and avoid voice WiFi handset to voice WiFi handset testing as your initial test. As you might imagine if you have issues it might be difficult to determine which user and handset had the problem and where. 


1 Person Testing 


Solo testing presents some challenges but nothing we cant overcome. Here are a few options to test by yourself. 


Using the voice WiFi handset you have a number of options. While these options only test downstream, meaning traffic coming to you, it is better then nothing.


You can: 

Call an outside weather station with a recording 

Create a test tone on a LAN phone 

Call a LAN phone and play a radio next to the phone 


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Just keep in mind that calling an outside weather station may not highlight all issues. VoIP really needs to be tested bidirectionally.
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