32-bit version of PreCallDiagnostic tool Available

Earlier this year, while trying to solve some Live Meeting audio and video issues, I came across an OCS resource kit tool called the “PreCallDiagnosticTool”. It is a Windows application that installs on the end user PC and will help assess the impact network conditions will have on audio quality. The only downside? It was only available in 64-bit.

The Microsoft OCS team released a 32-bit version on Friday – you can read about it and download it here.

Diagnosing audio quality issues can be complex. There are many variables on the network, the OCS server, and the end-user client that can contribute to poor audio quality. While not a replacement for the insight provided by the OCS QoE server role (see my QoE quick facts here), this tool can be used as a quick first check to determine if the laptop or desktop is experiencing network connection issues that will affect audio quality. It can also record quality data to let users profile network conditions over time.

To tool gathers three metrics: Network MOS, Packet Loss Rate (%), and Interarrival Jitter (ms). A screen shot is below. I am looking forward to using this tool for external clients where network conditions are typically more variable and seeing how useful the three reported metrics are in identifying audio quality issues.

Tips:

  • There have been many reported problems when the tool is run from client machine that is not part of an AD domain, and when the tool is run externally (outside the firewall). For example, several times while connected to a WiFi access point I received the following error: “There was an error signing into the SIP server using the sip URI you’ve configured. Please double check that the SIP URI is correct for the logged-on user. Also, this might indicate that the server might be temporarily down”. I am still trying to track down the cause.
  • My experience when installing this tool was that the initial PCDReskit.msi installs the files to a directory, and you need to run PDCSetup.exe to install the actual tool.
  • Network conditions are logged to a text file (precalldiagMetricsLog.txt) in the directory where the tool installs (i.e. <drive>:\Program Files\Microsoft\PreCallDiagTool\precalldiaglog.txt).
  • The tools uses to the “sip:” prefix for the SIP URI. Even if you remove it, the application will add it back it.

 PreCallDiagScreenShot

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8 comments to 32-bit Version of the PreCallDiagnostic Tool Available

  • No updates that I am aware up; and I agree, the tool isn’t much use when it doesn’t work externally.

    There are some improved call quality indicators coming in Communicator 2010 (built into the client).

  • Richard

    Is there an update on the issues with this tools? The tool is useless for me, if I cannot use it outside my firewall.

  • Curtis Johnstone

    I think it is safe to assume this tool just doesn’t work externally (through the Edge) right now. I’ve tried many things including tweaking the PreCallDiag.xml file with no luck. I think the problem is the tool doesn’t have the ability to prompt or supply credentials to present to the Edge. I would just use it internally until will get an update from Microsoft.

  • Ben

    I’m getting the “There was an error signing into the SIP server using the sip URI you’ve configured” error as well when connecting externally. I’m on my laptop that’s joined to the domain, and logged in with the AD account that is associated with the SIP URI I’m testing against. From the same PC INSIDE the corporate network, this tool works great, but who the hell wants to test the INTERNAL network quality? This tool would be most useful to troubleshoot problematic Internet connections, but doesn’t seem to work when connecting through the Edge server as others have posted above. Any solution to this would be much appreciated!

  • Domenic

    In my experience the tool has a lot of issues when you are running with a user not associated with the SIP account you are testing with….
    Thanks,

  • Curtis Johnstone

    I am getting a similar error when running external (outside of my firewall). The exact error message is: “There was an error signing into the SIP server using the sip URI you’ve configured. Please double check that the SIP URI is correct for the logged-on user”.

    In your case, it looks like it is having trouble passing those credentials through the Edge (using MRAS). Are you using TLS and automatic sign-in? Are you external?

    When I try this over a VPN on XP, I get a Windows firewall warning (i.e. “Firewall has blocked some features of this program”).

    One suggestion is to temporarily turn off your Firewall on the client and see if it works (remember to turn it on again).

    My next step was to try the undocumented XML keys :-) . I tried setting “UseDefaultCredentials” to “false”, with no luck.”UseDefaultCredentials” to “false”, with no luck.

    When I get some more information, I’ll post it.

  • Luis

    I always get the message of MRAS credentials,
    With both 32 or 64-bit version in WinXP, 2003, Vista or Win7

    I tried also to use undocument xml keys, but
    on the log file reports a null GRUU:

    20:08:23 : RegisterEndpoint
    20:08:23 : RegisterEndpoint, already registered, returning
    20:08:23 : RegisterAndRetrieveCreds : Registered sip endpoint
    20:08:23 : Got Exception in RetrieveMRASCreds, aborting : System.Exception: got null MRAS GREE from server.
    at PreCallDiagTool.SipCommunicationManager.RetrieveMRASCredentials(Int32 credsDurationMins)
    at PreCallDiagTool.MediaTestController.RetrieveMRASCreds()
    20:08:23 : StartTestChannel : Exception : PreCallDiagTool.PreCallDiagException: There was an error recovering MRAS credentials for the current SIP user. This might be a temporary problem with the server. Please try again in a little while

    Any good ideais?

  • [...] Microsoft also makes a free tool available called “PreCallDiagnostic”, which is a small Win32 application that installs on the client PC and helps assesses whether network conditions will affect audio quality. You can read about more about this tool in my post: “32-bit Version of the PreCallDiagnostic Tool Available“. [...]

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