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April 24, 2007

VoIP Call Quality Hindrances, Meet NetEqualizer

By Erik Linask, Associate Editor,
Internet Telephony magazine

Traditional switching mechanisms have managed to maintain QoS standards thanks to solutions that were able to exert control over enterprise LANs using features available on many commercial routers. However, when moving that same voice traffic over the public Internet, those call quality standards become moot, since there is no way to account for, monitor, and control all the traffic on the public Internet. In fact, one could never be certain a call over the public Internet would actually even go through.

Now, however, a solution is available that helps service providers, educational institutions, businesses, and libraries improve their Internet connections. Namely, NetEqualizer, from APconnections has the capacity to detect congestion and reprioritize traffic as it flows to the Internet, ensuring VoIP calls are given right of way so that call quality remains at its best.
NetEqualizer is a plug and play appliance designed to provide bandwidth control for large enterprises, office parks, university campuses, service providers, and any other IP installation where large numbers of users typically connect to the Internet at once.
“With the NetEqualizer, products such as Vonage (News - Alert) phones can remain operational even during peak times of bandwidth usage over a VLAN,” said Art Reisman, CEO and co-founder of APconnections. “This new technology will prove especially useful for operators providing Internet service to diverse groups of users such as in office parks and municipalities.”
The NetEqualizer product comes with a set of built-in traffic shaping rules that govern its progress from the outset. During peak usage periods, precedence is given to business applications — like VoIP — while file downloads and the like are placed lower in queue. By doing this, network traffic is able to move without hindrance, creating increased communications quality — without having to go through the alternative, which would be to purchase additional bandwidth. Though the NetEqualizer has built-in settings, they can all be changed in real time to accommodate any changing variables without affecting service quality. 
Two additional key features are that customers can deploy multiple NetEqualizers to create a redundant bandwidth shaping infrastructure, ensuring 100% uptime. Also, the NetEqualizer is compatible with all major IP PBXs on the market today, meaning customers need not worry whether their network infrastructure is compatible with NetEqualizer.
So, while sending traffic across the public Internet is always risky — in the sense that it tends to be a congested path, much more so than a private IP network — the inefficiencies can, to a large degree, be minimized by the use of the NetEqualizer bandwidth shaper.
Erik Linask is Associate Editor of INTERNET TELEPHONY, IMS Magazine, and SIP Magazine. Prior to joining TMC (News - Alert), he was Managing Editor at Global Custodian, an international securities services publication. To see more of his articles, please visit Erik Linask’s columnist page.
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