Have you considered the Network before deploying Lync?

Have you considered the Network before deploying Lync?

In the overall picture of modern Unified Communications systems such as Lync, with its wide range of colourful user end devices, video conferencing, Presence and a whole range of other jazzy features you’d be forgiven for being less interested in reading about the LAN network that sits underneath it. So thanks for reading this far!

However, making sure that the Network that underpins a Lync deployment is of a good enough quality is probably the most important thing to think about before you actually commence any deployment. Ensuring that system users receive the experience they expect from day 1 is the easiest way to ensure wide scale adoption of a UC Solution such as Lync. If users experience problems when doing something they see as simple as making a phone call then they may never become engaged and the entire investment could be wasted.

Recent Surveys have shown that IT Managers in 28% of Organisations know that their network isn’t ready for Lync…

So what does the network need to deliver to ensure a successful Lync deployment? Firstly, there are the standard Lync guidelines:

  • Network Round Trip Time of <200ms – otherwise known as latency. Without this users will experience delays in hearing audio
  • Jitter of <20ms – using buffers, etc to avoid “choppy” output of audio/video
  • Packet Loss rate of <3% – otherwise sections of the call or video will simply be missing

It should be noted that most Enterprise class switching vendors are able to build products that conform to these requirements – but this is not just about the products themselves but also about how the network has been designed and built. You can have the right products but if deployed incorrectly or with wrong protocols or features enabled you could miss some or all of these requirements in a real world deployment – so don’t just look at product Datasheets and assume you will be ok!

We would always recommend a Network Assessment is completed so you have a view on how your network will perform with Lync enabled.

These are the measurable technical aspects that need to be met and they are obviously vital to a successful deployment. However, there is also a wider range of issues that need to be considered that are arguably more important to ensuring long term success. Firstly, users have a different expectation on how the network will perform for them than in the past.

These modern Network User demands include:

  • Being able to use a range of devices, including their own (BYOD) seamlessly on the network
  • Access to the same network resources regardless of location and/or connection method with a seamless user experience
  • Having a network infrastructure that is always available

In addition, IT departments need to deliver against these increased requirements on the network without massively expanded budgets so need a few key things themselves!

IT Department demands include:

  • Control, control, control…
  • Simple management & auto provisioning of devices when they connect to the network
  • Low Total Cost of Ownership – competitive pricing, great support and automation of simple tasks to reduce workload

Finally, to provide peace of mind when deploying Lync, working with a vendor that is Lync Certified is always beneficial in reducing any risk of multi-vendor environments.

So to summarise, a successful Lync deployment needs a network that meets the technical criteria (both product wise and design wise), is Lync Certified to ensure peace of mind, delivers against increased user expectations, provides IT with control over everything without over burdening them and lowers the cost of running the whole IT Infrastructure!

It sounds a lot but it is perfectly possible


Chris Elliott

Channel Account Manager at Extreme Networks
15+ years of successful Sales Experience, including Channel Development, Direct Sales and Sales Management in Data Networking and Communications.

Find more on Extreme Networks here

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