Overview of Call Admission Control
Topic Last Modified: 2010-11-05
Real-time communications are sensitive to the latency and packet loss that can occur on congested networks. Call admission control (CAC) determines, based on available network bandwidth, whether to allow real-time communications sessions such as voice or video calls to be established. The CAC design in Lync Server 2010 offers four main attributes:
It is simple to deploy and manage without requiring additional equipment, such as specially configured routers.
It addresses critical unified communications use cases, such as roaming users and multiple points of presence. CAC policies are enforced according to where the endpoint is located, not where the user is homed.
In addition to voice calls, it can be applied to other traffic, such as video calls and audio/video conferencing sessions.
Provides the flexibility to enable representation of various kinds of network topologies. For examples, see CAC Topology Considerations.
If a new voice or video session exceeds the bandwidth limits that you have set on a WAN link, the session is either blocked or (for phone calls only) rerouted to the PSTN.
CAC controls real-time traffic for voice and video only. It does not control data traffic.
Administrators define CAC policies, which are enforced by the Bandwidth Policy Service that is installed with every Lync Server 2010 Front End pool. CAC settings are automatically propagated to all Lync Server Front End Servers in your network.
For calls that fail because of CAC policies, the order of precedence for rerouting the call is as follows:
Call detail recording (CDR) captures information about calls that are rerouted to the PSTN or to voice mail. CDR does not capture information about calls that are rerouted to the Internet, because the Internet is treated as an alternate path rather than a secondary option.
Voice mail deposits will not be denied because of bandwidth constraints.
The Bandwidth Policy Service generates two types of log files in comma separated values (CSV) format. The check failures log file captures information when bandwidth requests are denied. The link utilization log file captures a snapshot of the network topology and the WAN link bandwidth utilization. Both of these log files can assist you in fine-tuning your CAC policies based on utilization.
Call Admission Control Considerations
The rest of this topic describes considerations that you should keep in mind when you plan for CAC.
Although bandwidth restriction for audio and video is enforced by the Bandwidth Policy Service in Lync Server 2010, this restriction is not enforced at the network router (layer 2 and 3). Lync Server 2010 CAC cannot prevent a data application, for example, from consuming the entire network bandwidth on a WAN link, including the bandwidth that is reserved for audio and video by your CAC policy. To protect the necessary bandwidth on your network, you can deploy a Quality of Service (QoS) protocol such as Differentiated Services (DiffServ). Therefore, a best practice is to coordinate the Lync Server 2010 CAC bandwidth policies you define with any QoS settings that you might deploy.
Media and Signaling Paths over VPN
If your enterprise supports media through VPN, ensure that either both the media stream and the signaling stream go through the VPN or both are routed through the internet. By default, the media and signaling streams go through the VPN tunnel.
Call Admission Control of Outside Users
Call admission control is not enforced for remote users where the network traffic flows through the Internet. Because the media traffic is traversing the Internet, which is not managed by Lync Server, CAC cannot be applied. CAC checks will be performed, however, on the portion of the call that flows through the enterprise network.
Call Admission Control of PSTN Connections
Call admission control is enforceable on the Mediation Server regardless of whether it is connected to an IP/PBX, a PSTN gateway, or a SIP trunk. Because the Mediation Server is a back-to-back user agent (B2BUA), it terminates media. It has two connection sides: a side that is connected to Lync Server and a gateway side, which is connected to PSTN gateways, IP/PBXs, or SIP trunks. For details about PSTN connections, see PSTN Connectivity.
CAC can be enforced on both sides of the Mediation Server unless media bypass is enabled. If media bypass is enabled, the media traffic doesn’t traverse the Mediation Server but instead flows directly between the Lync 2010 client and the gateway. In this case, CAC is not needed. For details, see Media Bypass.
The following figure illustrates how CAC is enforced on PSTN connections with and without media bypass enabled.
Call admission control enforcement on connections to the PSTN
Compatibility of Call Admission Control with Earlier Versions of Office Communications Server
Call admission control can be enabled only on endpoints that are enabled for Lync Server 2010.
Call admission control cannot be enabled on endpoints running Office Communicator 2007 R2 or earlier.
Application of CAC on different Lync Server versions