January 24, 2008
'End-to-End QoS' Discussed at ITEXPO Session
By Richard Grigonis, Executive Editor, IP Communications Group
At ITEXPO (News
) East in Miami, three speakers explained how, with the rise of IP
communications applications that can be delivered to either wireline or wireless devices, Quality of Service (QoS) and Quality of Experience (QoE) has become more important than ever before. Service providers must now manage the end-to-end infrastructure and use advanced tools and various monitoring techniques to preserve and deliver a high quality of service.
Peter Charland, Senior Manager of Product Marketing, EMC (News
) Smarts, EMC Corporation (www.emc.com), gave a presentation on “Finding the Right Tool for the Job” and addressed some of the issues surrounding network management and quality of service in VoIP
telephony and end-to-end infrastructure challenge.
“The concept here of VoIP management and QoS focuses on the end-to-end service quality,” said Charland. “That’s true whether you’re an enterprise, an MSP or a service provider. But frankly, what it’s all about in terms of delivering these services, is effectively infrastructure cannibalization. Service quality is the enabler for VoIP adoption.”
Charland continued: “There are ‘symptoms’ of service quality and there are root causes that impact those symptoms or impact service quality. It centers on performance and availability, and it’s not just what we think of as what happens in a cluster of IP telephones; it really is the convergence or combination of applications, servers, storage infrastructure and networks, in terms of their availability yes, but certainly also in terms of their performance attributes resulting from the relationships they have that exist across the end-to-end infrastructure and which deliver the VoIP experience to the user. That really drives service quality.”
“Therefore, you want to be able, on a real-time basis, to automatically troubleshoot to achieve the desire state,” Charland continued. “You also want to predictively monitor service quality in context via trend analysis. And managing effectively your inventory reporting around the deliver of services to the end user with constituent businesses. And then there’s the ability as we build out our VoIP infrastructures, to be capable very effectively of implementing multivendor solutions. Thanks to VoIP standards, users can pick and choose in terms of vendor solutions.”
Jeff Hicks (News
), Software Architect at NetQoS, Inc., (www.netqos.com), said, “I thought this presentation would be simple, since my company’s name contains the acronym, QoS
. But then I started investigating a bit, and found that the term QoS is often misunderstood. There are many different definitions. I did a survey on the Internet and discovered six different definitions. Some of these refer to a resource reservation mechanism, such as RSVP, or a way to prioritize applications such as diffserv, or way to handle oversubscribed resources such as RED or WRED. I even found an ITU standard that defines QoS as a set of quality requirements on the collective behavior of one or more objects, which I thought was interesting.”
“Some best practices tips include looking for mechanisms that allow you to have tiers of alerts or different levels of alerts,” said Hicks. “For example a ‘normal, degraded and excessive’ description of the network. Degraded would mean that you should look into why some users are having degraded performance. Excessive means that you’ll soon be getting calls from users because the quality or performance of your VoIP system is not very good. When a problem occurs, you want to make sure that you are supplied with as much data as possible about the problem. You need tools that can correlate data from multiple sources to see the complete picture.”
David Messina (News
), Vice President of Marketing for Xangati (www.xangati.com), spoke on “Enriching Subscriber Experience.” He said, “I want to focus on the Quality of Experience rather than the Quality of Service. The reason is that providers are looking at triple and quad play and a slew of advanced services. It’s a model that’s different from the older very static telephony environment based on the old Class switching architecture, or just selling data pipes. So as providers move forward to offer advanced services and applications, quality of service is nice and important and there is a considerable amount of investment and wherewithal that has been put into the effort, but at the end of the day, the truth of the matter is that the experience of both consumer and business subscribers have to be high. And they have to be high in the beginning of the deliver of these services, or else the customer will want to opt out and leave.”
Messina continued: “Many of our customers are in the service provider sector and one of the challenges that they articulate to us off the bat is that broadband in and of itself is a difficult thing to support from a customer support perspective. There is a tremendous volume increase in the number of complaints they get from their subscribers relating to broadband, versus the traditional services that have been offered. When you throw into the mix advanced services related to triple play
and so on, ensuring that quality of experience, given the speed of the Internet and the ability to have somebody set up a site called ‘I hate service providers dot com” means that being responsive to your customers, right down to the individuals, is quite important.”
All the speakers noted the need for collecting information from a variety of sources using the latest management software and hardware and using automated correlation and analysis tools.
Richard Grigonis (News - Alert) is Executive Editor of TMC’s IP Communications Group. To read more of Richard’s articles, please visit his columnist page.