The Importance of MOS for VoIP Video and Audio Conferencing

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The Importance of MOS for VoIP Video and Audio Conferencing

How does Mean Opinion Score (MOS) testing for VoIP services work?

In our digital world, users can become frustrated right away if communications technology doesn’t work seamlessly. And with the rise in popularity of Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) services, that satisfaction is now dependent on call quality and the performance of an Internet connection.

For any provider of video and audio-conferencing services, Mean Opinion Score (MOS) is an important quality measure that’s been used in the industry for many years. Here’s a look at what it is and why it’s so important for modern communications:

What is MOS, exactly?

MOS tests a user’s perception of the voice quality during a call. This includes testing of voice transmission and performance, as well as the listening and conversation quality. MOS only measures the quality of the sound on the call and not other aspects of an experience, like customer service, the friendliness of an agent, or whether a customer was offered an incentive, in the case of a call center.

MOS is represented on a scale from 0 or 1 to 5 as defined by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU). A score of 5 is said to be like speaking directly into someone’s ear, while 1, or 0 on some scales, is never an acceptable score. TechTarget notes that a score below 3.5 means the user was dissatisfied, and they’ll either try the call again or try to contact someone for support.

How is a MOS measurement taken?

A Mean Opinion Score is traditional, of course, based on the opinion of users; the subjective quality of voice and audio is evaluated based on how a person perceives it. This is considered to be an extremely effective mode of measurement with a large enough sample. These individual scores from 1 to 5 are then used to create an overall average score.

Testing VoIP

VoIP uses the web to transmit telephone calls or video conferences. This technology uses Internet Protocol (IP) instead of a standard telephone network. A big benefit of VoIP is that the calls can often be free of charge, aside from the costs of the Internet service. MOS testing is a great way to ensure that any and all communications using VoIP are of the highest quality and users don’t have any complaints about the experience.

VoIP services require taking testing a bit further. Instead of just measuring users’ perceptions of a call, as with standard MOS testing, VoIP MOS measures show how well the whole network is doing. These factors can include hardware, bandwidth, or packet loss. Packet loss is when units of data (packets) that are being transmitted over the Internet or a network fail to reach their intended destinations.

The tests can also rely on algorithms which assess response time of the modem and codec speed, and thus determine the level of clarity and if any delays are present. A codec is used to either encode or decode video or audio data. By using these methods, the test predicts how the voice and audio quality would sound to the normal human ear.

Video and audio conferencing

A poor MOS ranking essentially means a user had a bad experience – such as they couldn’t hear what was being said or were constantly interrupted by annoying static, a faint voice, a lot of background noise, or call and video drops. Some providers just offer MOS on its own but at 7Signal, we include MOS with our other network monitoring offerings since it’s so crucial to VoIP network services. MOS testing should be integrated with these services at every level.

7SIGNAL® is a leader in enterprise Wireless Network Monitoring. The 7SIGNAL platform is a cloud-based Wireless Network Monitoring (WNM) solution that continuously troubleshoots the wireless network for performance issues – maximizing network uptime, device connectivity, and network ROI. The platform was designed for the world’s most innovative organizations, educational institutions, hospitals, and government agencies and is currently deployed at Booz Allen Hamilton, IBM, Kaiser Permanente, Walgreens, Microsoft, and many others. 7SIGNAL continuously monitors the connectivity of over 4 million global devices. Learn more at www.7signal.com.

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