The VoIP management challenge The slowly maturing VoIP platform has enterprises taking a long look at this technology, and not just for cost savings. Many of these potential users are opting for in-house rather than service-provider solutions because of the additional savings, future flexibility, and a simple lack of consistent vision by the large telco providers.
Those adventurous souls who implement VoIP themselves face the daunting task of managing a voice-oriented data network. For network managers accustomed to data networks, this job requires a specialized toolkit.
The reviews below aren't intended as direct comparisons. These testing tools are different enough in their approaches to the VoIP management problem that an apples-to-apples comparison is simply unworkable. For this reason, we instead examined each tool on its own merits and rated them from the perspective of a typical network manager.
Wake-up call for VoIP management Service providers are beginning to recognize the importance of VoIP management as an important element of their long-term VoIP investment.
Make no mistake: For some carriers there is a true ?disconnect? between the two areas due to poor planning.
In fact, recent discussions with enterprise telecom managers indicate that VoIP Quality of Service (QoS) and security are critical concerns that must be solved before large scale VoIP service adoption occurs. During the next three years, enterprises will assess their VoIP requirements including business need and impact, costs and technical staffing. Many will turn to outsourcing because of the high level of complexity. To seize this opportunity, carriers must better understand the importance of managing VoIP.
NetIQ?s VOIP Management Network management vendor NetIQ claims it has a way to answer the question a bit more definitively. Last month, the company announced two products, one that aims to give enterprises information before they deploy voice over IP (VOIP), the other to help manage VOIP systems as they go into pilot and, ultimately, full deployment.
The first product is called VOIP Assessor. It's a software package designed to let enterprises generate traffic loads that will imitate a full VOIP system's traffic across the network. Such measurements provide information that can't be gleaned from a pilot that simply uses an IP PBX and a few dozen IP phones, according to Steve Joyce, director of network technologies at NetIQ.
Management It's clear that VoIP technology is the future of telephony, making effective VoIP management the task of every telecom manager. As the convergence of voice and data networks raises new challenges, telecom managers are seeking new solutions. For example, VoIP technology has introduced a whole new set of security concerns. It is no longer just IT network administrators who have to worry about viruses and denial of service attacks. And because VoIP technology is usually added on to a legacy TDM system, voice networks are becoming much more complex to manage. That's why telecom managers around the world are turning to SecureLogix for superior VoIP management solutions.
Enterprises Face VoIP Management Challenges A growing number of corporations are installing Voice over Internet Protocol applications. While the technology has the potential to cut their telecommunications Quintum VoIP solutions. The perfect fit for your Enterprise. costs, it also presents new challenges.
IT managers are looking for their vendors to offer them ways to monitor and improve VoIP
performance, said George Hamilton, a senior analyst at the Yankee Group. This need stems from the way that traditional management tools were designed. Network management systems were built to determine whether the points along a network path from one device to a second were or were not available. This approach does not mesh with VoIP applications, which are dynamic, so the paths taken from one endpoint to another constantly change. Consequently, companies need management products that measure how effectively a network is routing information.
VoIP Solutions, Services Target Management A study released last week shows that the growing adoption of VoIP service among enterprises is exposing "critical weaknesses" in the tools used to manage those networks. The report, called "The VoIP Management Gap: Problems and Solutions," was published last week by Light Reading's Enterprise VoIP Insider. It looks at the challenges of VoIP, including service-quality issues and the impact of sub-par management tools. The lack of such tools is motivating experienced data management vendors, such as IBM, Hewlett-Packard and Cisco, to move into the space via acquisition. These companies will be welcomed with open arms by customers that want to deploy VoIP networks with minimal performance hiccups, such as jitter, latency and packet loss. Other vendors are unveiling VoIP management solutions this week at the VoiceCon trade show in San Francisco.
buys VoIP management software Cisco has bought the IP PBX management software arm of Digital Fairway for $15.25 million.
Digital Fairway makes software that allows carriers to manage, bill and provision VoIP and video services for business and residential customers. It include automated VoIP set-up and converged applications for end users in a business.
Cisco bought the intellectual property and software assets in cash. Some software development staff will join Cisco's netman group.
Cisco plans to release an enterprise VoIP management platform based on the technology next year. Its upcoming IP Communications Provisioning Manager software will be part of a larger IP communications management software suite, according to the company.
management for faster Trouble resolution Service providers can ensure optimal performance and resolve call connection and degradation problems with the advanced NgN Analysis System. Agilent Technologies Inc. has launched the extension of its NgN Analysis System to address the quality assurance needs of cable voice over Internet protocol (VoIP) service providers.
Through the added support for common open policy service (COPS) protocol and for Cedar Point
Soft switches, the system displays end-to-end call flow records for advanced performance metrics and real-time and historical troubleshooting.
To effectively compete with telecommunication service providers, cable companies are adding VoIP services to their portfolio of video and data offerings. This ?triple-play? helps service providers capture and keep subscribers through lower overall costs, simplified billing and high quality of service.
Improve VoIP management with these best practices A successful voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) deployment requires careful consideration of and adequate planning for the system's long-term management requirements. Your deployment and integration plans must identify the methods and technologies through which you will monitor, support, and maintain reliability across the VoIP network. Voice traffic is considerably more sensitive to network conditions than normal data traffic and your management plans account for this fact.
Along with VoIP management's technical requirements, your plan should also address potential personnel issues and functional task changes. Dedicated telecommunications personnel normally administer voice systems and conduct voice-specific tasks. As you integrate VoIP with the IP network, these responsibilities may be shifted to or shared with native data-networking staff.
Management for Businesses Despite promises of streamlined efficiency and ease of convergence, network managers are discovering that running voice calls over the data network is rarely simple.
To help the growing number of businesses turning to IP telephony, vendors are adding functions to make VOIP (voice over IP) management easier, and they're adding services for enterprises that can't make VOIP work on their own.
Enterprises can supplement their management expertise with Avaya's monitoring service or turn over the entire responsibility to the vendor. The service is priced on a per-month, per-IP-endpoint basis and can be bought in one- or three-year increments.
Avisto Telecom-VoIP Management Switching telephone calls over IP must be supported by the appropriate set of OA&M applications to control the many services that will be offered to the end customers. VoIP equipment manufacturers must provide resources, tools and interfaces that will be integrated into operators NM solutions. The challenges stretch over the whole spectrum of the functional management domains:
* Remote configuration and Fault management of the various equipment and software for local and end-to-end aspects
* QoS management will differ for various services depending on whether the underlying network infrastructure is the public Internet or a dedicated operator data network
* Accounting and billing: VoIP is introducing new challenges compared to today?s solutions to sustain new demands: real time Web billing, integration with other Telecom services, billing multiparty conferencing, correlating with QoS to support customers
SLA. * Exchange of management information between the different actors of VoIP services will need to be secured with appropriate tools and
Telchemy's VoIP management software Telchemy Incorporated, provider in real-time VoIP Performance Management software, announced that Sunrise Telecom Pro.Tel Division of Sunrise Telecom, the provider of Telecommunication Service Verification Equipment, has licensed Telchemy's VQmon call quality monitoring and analysis software for use with several of Sunrise's major VoIP test verification products.
VQmon provides fast, accurate, real-time analysis of VoIP calls, generating call quality metrics, including: listening and conversational quality scores and detailed diagnostic information on the severity and distribution of packet loss, discards and jitter. VQmon is the first standards-based call quality monitoring software to support the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) RFC 3611 (RTCP XR) Protocol and the new QoS reporting protocols for International Telecommunications Union's H.323, H.248 and G.799.1 standards.