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July 08, 2008

NetObserver Brings VoIP Test Solutions to Service Provider Market

By Erik Linask, Group Editorial Director

The non-stop innovation among IP Communications developers and vendors is rapidly transforming today’s communications world —both for businesses and consumers. The new devices, applications, and converged networks, and more are enabling a new era of productivity, collaboration, and mobility, not to mention entertainment.
But, as these new technologies are rolled out, and as networks become more complex and traffic flows become heavier and include different types of traffic (i.e., voice, video, data), the need for network monitoring and diagnostics becomes imperative.  Without such capabilities, service providers have little insight into how their networks are performing, or why they may be experiencing network issues.
In an effort to help providers deliver reliable services, Touchstone (News - Alert) Technologies has converted its WinEyeQ network monitoring engine, originally designed for the enterprise space, into a carrier network monitoring solution. The NetObserver solution brings service providers an accurate tool set to ensure their networks are performing to their expectations.
Designed as a scalable solution to meet the needs of even large carrier networks, NetObserver comprises two software elements:  the remote probe and daemon and the central aggregation software.
The probe, a basic Widows XP PC, is designed for local or remote configuration and rebooting, as well as updating from the aggregator, which functions as a central repository or a downstream aggregator. The probe can be connected to networks via a zero-latency line tap — which is the case in most deployments — but can also be connected to span mirror ports or non-switched hubs as well. The NetObserver monitoring solution is provided as a turnkey system, making for easy deployment, consisting of mid-tower or rack units for the probe machines and rack servers for the aggregator. 
For customers looking to leverage their existing hardware investments, NetObserver is also available as a software-only offering.  Those customers can deploy the aggregator on existing equipment and collocate the probe software on on-premises.
The key, of course, for service provider networks, is NetObserver’s scalability — it has been developed to handle extreme traffic volumes and to automatically report and escalate detailed metrics on flagged calls.
Because it is built to report on any and all QoS (Quality of Service) and QoE (Quality of Experience) measures, and effectively summarizes these elements for a network status overview for both voice and video traffic, NetObserver can save truckrolls and expense by quickly identifying trouble spots, simplifying problem resolution.
Key features of the NetObserver solution include:
  • Purpose-built voice and video monitoring and analysis engine
  • Probes fully remote controlled, remotely updatable
  • Integrates into SNMP-based management systems
  • Stores 1,000,000 call records per GB of disk space
  • Easily integrates into existing back-office systems
  • Remote alerts, alarms, watches, and packet capture
  • More then 125 metrics per call
  • Real-time call detail reporting
For service providers, the ability to roll out new services is key to their continued growth and success. Once those services have been deployed, however, equally important is the ability to ensure their reliability and availability. With Touchstone Technologies’ NetObserver solution, they have at their disposal a network monitoring solution that will help them do just that.
Erik Linask (News - Alert) is Group Managing Editor of TMCnet, which brings news and compelling feature articles, podcasts, and videos to nearly 3,000,000 visitors each month. To see more of his articles, please visit his columnist page.
For more information on network testing and monitoring for service providers and enterprises, and for more on Touchstone Technologies’ solutions, please visit the VoIP Test Solutions channel on TMCnet.

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