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This article is applicable to customers that use Unified Communications as a Service (UCaaS) web apps such as Microsoft Teams, Zoom, and Fuze. This is increasingly critical as users migrate to home office environments where IT has limited control over the network. In these cases, the goal is to quickly detect and alert on any issues users are having reaching or using the app. Monitoring helps answer the questions:

  • Is the UCaaS web app available and can users login? (Experience)
  • Are UCaaS web app performance issues app-related or not? (Experience)
  • How do I determine where network problems are originating? (Delivery)
  • What path is user-to-app traffic taking? (Delivery)
  • Are my service providers living up to their SLAs? (Delivery)
  • What web apps are users using (to confirm that only sanctioned apps are being used)? (Usage)
  • How much bandwidth is devoted to each web app? (Usage)
  • Which hosts are consuming the most bandwidth? (Usage)
  • Which hosts are having performance issues and which web apps are they having those issues with? (Usage)

What does this guide cover

  • The recommended approach to monitoring with AppNeta Performance Manager (APM) in a UCaaS environment.
  • Where and how to deploy Monitoring Points.
  • How to configure the APM components (Experience, Delivery, and Usage) to monitor in a UCaaS environment.
  • How to get notified when a network issue occurs.
  • How to gain insight into how your UCaaS web app and your network are performing.

AppNeta recommends deploying a Monitoring Point to each location where there are users accessing UCaaS web apps (for example, Headquarters, Branch offices, and Home offices). Once the Monitoring Points are deployed, they can be configured to emulate users accessing the UCaaS web apps (Experience), to monitor network health (Delivery), and to better understand how bandwidth is being used (Usage).

Network diagram showing Monitoring Points in the Headquarters or Branch office and a home office with paths to a UCaaS web app, and an AppNeta GMT.

To enable you to confirm that the app is available, that users can login, and that app performance is acceptable, web paths are created from Enterprise Monitoring Points in Headquarters and Branch offices to the UCaaS web app. If web paths from all locations indicate the same problem, then it is likely the problem is within the app or its network infrastructure. Otherwise, any problems detected are likely not app related.

Note that, although the NMP’s deployed on user workstations do not support Experience monitoring, having Monitoring Points that do support Experience monitoring deployed at Headquarters and Branch Offices allow you to determine if there are app-related issues - app availability, the ability to login, and app performance. To monitor network performance and routing to the UCaaS web app, single-ended network paths from all Monitoring Points to the UCaaS web app are used. Note that even though these paths terminate before the app (as UCaaS web apps typically do not respond to ICMP packets used by single-ended paths), they still provide valuable routing and network performance information.

To monitor a user’s network performance and routing to the internet, dual-ended network paths from all Monitoring Points to the nearest AppNeta Global Monitoring Target (GMT) are used.

To provide insights into bandwidth used by the UCaaS web app, Usage monitoring is configured on the Monitoring Points in the Headquarters and Branch offices.

For an optimal UCaaS user experience, we recommend that you do not route UCaaS traffic over your corporate VPN or other infrastructure that will add latency (for example, CASB, proxy, etc.).

Step 1: Deploy Monitoring Points

  1. Deploy Monitoring Points in your Headquarters, Branch offices, and Home offices in order to provide full coverage. The following are typical Monitoring Point deployments:
  2. Connect each Monitoring Point to the same network subnet/segment as users in those locations in order to monitor from a user perspective. A Monitoring Point can be connected to multiple networks simultaneously if necessary (wired/wireless/VLAN using IPv4 or IPv6).
  3. In the Headquarters and Branch offices, connect the Monitoring Point’s Usage monitoring port to a SPAN/mirror of the WAN traffic (prior to any NAT or encapsulation) at each location. The egress interface of the core switch is typically the best place for this. If a SPAN/mirror connection is not possible, connect the Monitoring Point inline.

Step 2: Emulate web app users

By emulating a user, Experience monitoring helps you answer the questions:

  • Is the UCaaS web app available and can users login?
  • Are UCaaS web app performance issues app-related or not?
  • What path does traffic to the UCaaS web app take?

It allows you to:

  • Monitor UCaaS web apps to identify any issues affecting end user experience.
  • Compare user complaints about poor app performance against a consistent baseline.
  • Use associated Delivery paths to see the path taken to the UCaaS web app.

Experience monitoring prerequisites

Headquarters and Branch Office Monitoring Points deployed with interface(s) connected to the applicable (typically end-user) subnets.

Experience monitoring procedure

  1. Create a Web App Group for the UCaaS web app you want to monitor.
    • Include at least one interface on each of the Headquarters and Branch office Monitoring Points as a test source.
    • Use the UCaaS web app URL as the test target.
    • Add a Selenium workflow that accesses the app and, at a minimum, it should login to the app. Add steps that access common pages to the workflow for additional performance information. Web paths are created for all combinations of source, target, and workflow.
  2. Tag web paths in order to group them in ways that make sense to your business.

Note that for each web path created, an associated single-ended network path is also created.

Step 3: Monitor network health

Delivery monitoring, using both single-ended and dual-ended network paths, provides insight into network health and into the paths traffic takes through the network.

Delivery monitoring can help you answer the questions:

  • What path is user-to-app traffic taking?
  • How do I determine where network problems are originating?
  • Are my service providers living up to their SLAs?

It allows you to:

  • Monitor network performance and routing to the UCaaS web app.
  • Monitor network performance and routing to and from the internet.
  • Determine whether the root cause of a UCaaS web app performance issue is due to the application or the network (when compared with Experience monitoring results).

Delivery monitoring prerequisites

  • Monitoring Points should be deployed with interface(s) connected to the applicable (typically end-user) subnets.
  • The single-ended network paths associated with web paths created above should be available.

Delivery monitoring procedure - single-ended paths

Single ended-paths from Headquarters and Branch offices to the UCaaS web app are already created at this point. Those from home offices still need to be created.

Create a Path Template Group to monitor the health of the network between the home office locations and the UCaaS web app.

  • Use the UCaaS web app URL as the target.
  • Tag network paths in order to group them in ways that make sense to your business.
  • Add source interfaces from each Home office Monitoring Point (typically the “Auto” interface) to create paths.

Delivery monitoring procedure - dual-ended paths

Dual-ended network paths to Global Monitoring Targets (GMTs) should be added to monitor network performance.

Create a Path Template Group to monitor internet health in both directions at each of the remote locations.

  • Use gmt.pm.appneta.com as the target to create a path to the nearest AppNeta GMT.
  • Tag network paths in order to group them in ways that make sense to your business.
  • Specify “Dual Ended” paths.
  • Add source interfaces from each remote Monitoring Point (typically the “Auto” interface) to create paths.

Step 4: Understand WAN traffic

Usage monitoring is used to monitor WAN traffic to and from a site. It helps you to answer the questions:

  • What apps are users using (to confirm that only sanctioned apps are being used)?
  • How much bandwidth is devoted to each app?
  • Which hosts are consuming the most bandwidth?
  • Which hosts are having performance issues and which apps are they having those issues with (using latency and retransmit metrics)?

Usage monitoring prerequisites

Headquarters and Branch Office Monitoring Points deployed with capture interface(s) connected to switch ports that SPAN/mirror all WAN traffic.

Usage monitoring procedure

  1. Configure Traffic Direction by adding local subnet(s).
  2. Ensure Usage monitoring is running on the capture interfaces.
  3. Open the Top Applications chart for the Monitoring Point you are interested in.

Step 5: Set up alert notifications

Consider who will need to be notified in real time when issues are detected, what systems they use to manage alerts, and how to integrate AppNeta notifications with those systems. See Alerts and Notifications - Best Practices for the recommended approach to setting up alerts and notifications.

Step 6: Analyze monitoring results

When you receive alert notifications, use the procedures in Investigating Violation Events to investigate the cause.

Use dashboards for an “at a glance” way to view the status of your UCaaS web app and your network.

  • Application Quality dashboard - enables you to view the performance of the network and web paths that deliver an application over time (up to 30 days).
  • Web App Violation Summary dashboard - provides an at-a-glance view of the most significant web path violations over a selected period.
  • Network Violation Summary dashboard - provides an at-a-glance view of the most significant network path violations over a selected period.
  • Current Network Violation Map dashboard - provides a geographical view of your current network status. With this dashboard, issues occurring on multiple paths in a particular geographic region are easily identified.

Schedule reports to be delivered via email to those in your organization interested in web app and/or network performance.

  • Application Quality report - enables you to view the performance of the network and web paths that deliver an application over time (up to 1 year). It combines raw data and violations sourced from Experience and Delivery across a selection of applications, networks, and geographical locations to enable a high-level overview of the performance and trends over time. This report can scale up to span quarterly results and includes a one page summary aimed at an executive audience.
  • Location Bandwidth Quality report - compares the performance of a WAN network path to the stated performance of the internet service package you purchased from your ISP. It enables you to determine whether your service providers are living up to their SLAs.