In the last newsletter we mentioned the emerging capability to assess voice quality on a continuous basis. This capability, which was discussed extensively in a paper that Steve authored recently for Nortel, leads to an interesting new twist on service-level agreements.The fundamental assumption is that the quality of VoIP remains a major question that must be addressed in many implementations. The tools are now available to take that question and turn it into a capability that actually surpasses what traditional networks can do. It\u2019s possible for VoIP service providers to commit in an SLA to a given voice quality that\u2019s measured on a continuous basis.The key to this commitment is having the information necessary to enforce the SLA. Using advanced voice quality measurement techniques, one can measure the quality at the beginning of a call, during a call, and at the end of the call. These measurements can be used to determine if a call of short duration terminated because there was poor quality. Likewise, the end-of-call quality can be used to determine if there was a quality problem that caused the call to be terminated.These ongoing measurements can be made and the call quality converted into a quantitative \u201cR-value,\u201d which is somewhat similar to a traditional \u201cMean Opinion Score\u201d or MOS value. Since the information is available continuously and for every call, it\u2019s reasonable now for a service provider to guarantee to the jittery (pun intended) customer that the R-value will be of at least a certain quality for a given percentage of the calls. In fact, there\u2019s even room here for tiered Gold\/Silver\/Bronze with differential parameters based on factors like quality, percentage of calls, percentage of call-minutes, and destination (domestic vs. international).Bottom line? Service providers have the tools to go beyond meeting an objective by turning these measurements into a tactical advantage and including them in an SLA.