Troubleshoot Skype to Find a Common Thread (Calls Commonalities Analysis)

The Calls Commonalities Analysis dashboard for Skype performs automatic and intelligent troubleshooting on seemingly random problems in calls using Skype for Business, by finding the general and Skype-specific attributes (like the capture device) which are common to all instances of the problem. It checks through hundreds of possible culprits (like the location, or time of day, laptop model and many more), and displays only the highest concentration of poor performers.

For example, if users complain about poor call quality, you would usually cycle through endless possible attributes, looking for the common thread of this problem so you can troubleshoot it. Calls Commonalities Analysis checks all of this automatically in seconds, and lists the most obvious contenders in a simple, intuitive view, so that you can troubleshoot further.

Note

This dashboard is most effective at isolating a single thread which is common to all occurrences of a problem. However, if your issue is a complex combination of narrow criteria, for example if it only happens in Munich on Lenovo laptops which have 8 core CPUs during peak hours, you may find that looking at any one of these elements is not enough to show a significant change in performance. To investigate complex patterns of data correlations, use the Analyze dashboards.

The Calls Commonalities Analysis Dashboard
Choose the performance measurement you want to inspect with the Sort By menu in the top right corner. Then look for the results whose measurement (horizontal bar) is significantly worse than its average value (vertical bar). For example, choose Sort By > Audio Inbound Packet Loss to see if it is significantly worse for a specific type of hardware or operating system, and troubleshoot based on that common attribute of the poor performance.
Isolate a measurement such as Score, that is significantly worse than others with a given attribute

In this example, the Score is significantly worse for Windows 7 operating systems.

Tip

Automatic correlations still require a human to manually declutter any senseless or obvious suggestions. Any dependent attributes should be discounted.

For example, if all of your single-core CPU devices are in a location with limited bandwidth, the correlation between CPU cores and audio inbound packet loss may be false. See this step below to remove any unwanted attributes.

Procedure

  1. Step 1 Open a browser and sign in to Aternity.
  2. Step 2 Access the Calls Commonalities Analysis dashboard by:

    Opening the Monitor Application dashboard for Skype for Business/Lync, and selecting Calls Commonalities Analysis from the quick jump menu.

    Open the Calls Commonalities Dashboard

    Opening a Troubleshoot or Call Details dashboard and selecting Calls Commonalities Analysis from the quick jump menu.

    Hovering over an Audio/Video Call activity status and drilling down.

    Drill down from an Audio/Video Call status.
  3. Step 3 Select the measurement which best expresses the symptoms of the problem in the Sort By menu in the top-right corner.
    Sort results according to this value

    When you select an item from Sort By, it displays that measurement in the rightmost column and sorts the attributes by that measurement. The vertical bar represents the average of this measurement during the dashboard's timeframe, so you can see if this is a mild or severe departure from the norm.

    Field Description
    Inbound MOS

    The inbound MOS (or inbound listening MOS) for someone in a call is the MOS score of the incoming audio or video, showing if you clearly hear others in the call over background noise or a poor connection (inbound network MOS). The inbound MOS of a listener is the same as the outbound MOS of the speaker.

    Outbound MOS

    The outbound MOS for someone in a call is the MOS score of your outgoing audio or video, showing if others clearly hear you in the call over background noise or a slow network (inbound network MOS).

    Combined MOS

    Displays the average of all combined MOS scores for all calls during the timeframe. The combined MOS score (and status) for a device is the LOWER value of the inbound MOS and outbound MOS scores in a call.

    Tip

    Since it calculates this average from the LOWER value of inbound and outbound MOS scores, it can often be lower than the displayed values of Inbound and Outbound.

    Score for Skype calls

    Displays the quality as the score for the statuses of all Skype Business calls by condensing all the call statuses into a single value. It displays this score for each of the values you chose to display. Use this for recent problems, not long term problems.

    Audio Inbound Jitter

    Displays the differences (variance) in the delay of incoming audio packets from the other caller, or (in conference calls) from the Skype server to a caller, measured in milliseconds.

    Wide differences in delay (above 30ms) means that some packets are much slower than others, so when they arrive at the other end, the order of the packets is jumbled, which creates a choppy or distorted sound. This is usually caused by network congestion, but you can counter it with a large enough buffer to re-order the jumbled packets.

    Audio Outbound Jitter

    Displays the differences (variance) in the delay of outgoing audio packets reaching the other caller, or (in conference calls) from a caller to the Skype server, measured in milliseconds.

    Wide differences in delay (above 30ms) means that some packets are much slower than others, so when they arrive at the other end, the order of the packets is jumbled, which creates a choppy or distorted sound. This is usually caused by network congestion, but you can counter it with a large enough buffer to re-order the jumbled packets.

    Audio Inbound Packet Loss

    Displays the percentage audio network packets in a Skype call which were lost in transit before reaching the participant. Any value above 5% affects audio quality significantly.

    Audio Outbound Packet Loss

    Displays the percentage of audio network packets in a Skype call which were lost in transit on its way to the other caller, or (in conference calls) from a participant to the Skype server. Any value above 5% affects audio quality significantly.

    Audio Outbound Round Trip Time

    Displays the time for an audio packet on a Skype call to reach the destination and come back again to the caller.

    Call Volumes

    Displays the total number of calls during the dashboard timeframe.

    Failed Calls

    Displays the number of failed calls during the specified timeframe.

    A stream fails if Skype for Business or Lync could not successfully establish a connection and start. Aternity reports the failure and its reason as the SIP code and SIP string.

    Dropped Calls

    Displays the number of dropped calls during the specified timeframe.

    A stream is dropped if Skype for Business or Lync ended the call unexpectedly, without the user manually ending the call. Aternity reports the failure and its reason.

  4. Step 4 To manually remove clutter, hide attributes which are dependent on each other using the Attributes drop-down menu at the top of this section of the window.
    Clear the attributes that are contributing clutter to the dashboard

    For example, If you see a strong correlation between an hour of the day and poor performance, but know that is the time when many Skype conference calls are scheduled, you may choose to remove Hour in Day from the attribute list, so that you can see more easily see other correlations. Alternatively, if you are concerned that lack of bandwidth is causing the poor performance, you may want to remove other attributes in order to focus on the hours of the day when bandwidth demands are greatest.

  5. Step 5 To view the impacted users of a single common attribute (like all those performing this activity on Windows 10), select that row from the Attributes section, and view the Users with Worst Performance section.
    Tip

    You can display the data so that the worst or best performance is displayed at the top, by selecting View > Worst or View > Best from the top bar. The differences between good and poor user or device performance could give you clues to improve their performance.

    At a glance, you may be able to spot additional common attribute values in the columns of the Users section, which can help isolate more common themes of poor performance.

    Field Description
    Username

    Displays the username signed in to the device's operating system.

    Device Name

    Displays the hostname of the monitored device. View it in the Windows Control Panel > System > Computer Name, or on Apple Macs in System Preferences > Sharing > Computer Name.

    Device Type

    Displays the type of device reporting performance to Aternity.

    OS Name

    Displays the generic name and version of the operating system (like MS Windows 10, MS Windows Server 2008 R2, MacOS 10.3, iOS 10 or Android 6). Use this to differentiate between different versions of an operating system.

    For example, it displays Windows 10 Pro and Windows 10 Enterprise all as MS Windows 10, or iOS 10.2 and iOS 10.3 as iOS 10.

    To view this information and the service pack version, see OS Version.

    CPU

    Displays the number of CPU cores of the device.

    Memory

    Displays the size of physical RAM of the device.

    Department

    Displays the name of the department to which the user or the device belongs.

    Business Location

    Displays the current geographic location of the device.

    Score

    Displays the performance as the score for the statuses of all the activities by condensing all the activity statuses into a single value. It displays this score for each of the values you chose to display. Use this for recent problems, not long term problems.

    Inbound MOS

    The inbound MOS (or inbound listening MOS) for someone in a call is the MOS score of the incoming audio or video, showing if you clearly hear others in the call over background noise or a poor connection (inbound network MOS). The inbound MOS of a listener is the same as the outbound MOS of the speaker.

    Outbound MOS

    The outbound MOS for someone in a call is the MOS score of your outgoing audio or video, showing if others clearly hear you in the call over background noise or a slow network (inbound network MOS).

    Combined MOS

    Displays the average of all combined MOS scores for all calls during the timeframe The combined MOS score (and status) for a device is the LOWER value of the inbound MOS and outbound MOS scores in a call.

    Tip

    Since it calculates this average from the LOWER value of inbound and outbound MOS scores, it can often be lower than the displayed values of Inbound and Outbound.

    <Final column>

    Displays the measurement you chose in the Sort By menu in the top right of the dashboard.

  6. Step 6 For more details about the users and devices listed in the Users section, hover over one of the measurement bars.
    Drill down to view more details about devices and users

    You can drill down to:

  7. Step 7 You can limit the display of the dashboard using the menus at the top of the window.
    Limit the scope of data displayed in this dashboard
    Field Description
    Timeframe

    You can limit the display of the dashboard using the menus at the top of the window.

    View

    Select from this menu to display the best or the worst performances in the lower pane of the dashboard.

    Sort By

    Select to determine the contents of the rightmost column.