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February 2007
Volume 10 / Number 2
 

IP Communications Testing
and Monitoring Tools

ROUND UP
 

As IP becomes the default technology for business — and soon residential — voice services, voice quality concerns continue to present the greatest barrier to adoption. Most customers can accept, and even forgive, occasional delays in data networks, but the same delays in a voice network are likely to be rather disturbing. Indeed, most customers expect PSTN quality from their VoIP networks.

Thus, ensuring consistently high levels of voice quality has become a primary concern for IT managers at enterprises and service providers alike. In order to effectively do so, they need to tools to ensure call quality is not degraded by inadequate network infrastructure, traffic congestions, traffic spikes, or other mishaps. This includes both pre-deployment network assessments to ensure readiness for voice traffic, as well as ongoing network monitoring and analysis to certify that QoS levels are met and to identify and resolve issues immediately, and today, it also must include security measures to eliminate threats from worms, DoS attacks, and other malicious events.




The following is a listing of more than 30 vendors offering solutions for ensuring IP networks are adequately provisioned for the implementation of packet-based voice applications — some designed for specific network elements, others with end-to-end testing solutions. Ultimately, they are all designed to ease the deployment and maintenance of IP networks and to ensure the highest possible call quality. Many of the solutions have been enhanced to include testing SIP-based networks, triple play services, or fixed/mobile services.

We encourage you to use this listing to initiate your search for a communications test solution. Slightly longer descriptions can be found online at http://www.tmcnet.com/voip, but please be sure to contact these vendors directly for more specific information. As always, we also encourage any vendors that have been inadvertently excluded from this list or are new to the space to contact us (elinask@tmcnet.com) so that we may update our information.

 

Agilent Technologies
http://www.agilent.com/comms
(news - alert) In communications testing, Agilent sells products and services for the following types of networks and systems: fiber optics networks, transport networks, broadband and data networks, wireless communications, and microwave networks. General purpose test products include general purpose instruments, modular instruments and test software, digital design products, parametric test products, high frequency electronic design tools, electronics manufacturing test equipment, thin-film transistor array test equipment, nano-positioning systems, atomic-force microscopy, and scanning probe microscopy.

 

Allot Communications
http://www.allot.com
Allot Communications (news - alert) provides intelligent IP service optimization solutions based on deep packet inspection (DPI) technology. Allot’s NetEnforcer devices monitor and shape broadband traffic; Allot NetXplorer Management centrally collects and reports usage statistics and defines control policies, while the Allot Subscriber Management Platform provides subscriber awareness needed to customize service offerings and maximize service revenues.

Ameritec Corporation
http://www.ameritec.com
With Ameritec’s (news - alert) Allegro Network Load Generator and Voice Quality Tester, it is possible for developers to place a T1/E1, SIP, and analog load generator at their workstations. All of the flexibility and features required to ensure the highest quality are included. The unit performs traditional bearer traffic simulation, 3rd generation Voice over Packet testing, QoS testing complete with GMOS, G-PSQM, G-PESQ and R-Factor scoring.

Arcatech Limited
http://www.arca-technologies.com
The emutel|Harmony platform is Arcatech’s (news - alert) premier test solution and forms the basis for addressing the converging telecommunications technologies. It is a highly efficient, costeffective and flexible tool, invaluable for use in the development, performance verification and pre-deployment testing of many types of VoIP, ISDN, and analog equipment. emutel|Harmony combines comprehensive load testing and network simulation capabilities, detailed protocol analysis, extensive call statistics and quality of service measurements in an easily affordable and user-friendly package.

Brix Networks
http://www.brixnet.com
Brix Networks (news - alert) gives service providers and large enterprises the ability to assure any IP service, over any network, to any endpoint — all from the same extensible platform.

The Brix System, a seamlessly integrated hardware and software solution, delivers end-to-end network visibility and continuous real-time IP service verification and monitoring. Built on a distributed architecture, the Brix System ensures the successful launch and ongoing, profitable operation of all types of IP-based voice, video, and data applications and services.

Catapult Communications
http://www.catapult.com
Catapult (news - alert) offers testing expertise for IMS, 4G/3G/2.5G/2G UMTS, GPRS, ATM, WiMAX, VoIP, SS7, and ISDN. With a portfolio of testing products for over 900 protocols and protocol variants, Catapult provides testing solutions for design & feature verification, conformance testing, interoperability testing, load & stress testing, installation and acceptance, and DCT2000.

Clarus Systems
http://www.clarussystems.com
ClarusIPC Certification and ClarusIPC Operations are available to validate that all functionality aspects of a Cisco IPT telephony environment meet actual user requirements at deployment and throughout the life of the network. Clarus (news - alert) enables network administrators to gain management visibility into and confidence in the network with deployment and operations configuration verification; true end-to-end IPT functionality testing; automated, scheduled, and customized testing; automated, standardized reporting; open APIs for integration with network management and reporting solutions; remote troubleshooting; and trouble identification and isolation tools for the enterprise help desk.

Empirix
http://www.empirix.com
Empirix (news - alert) Hammer DEX is an advanced and flexible IMS and NGN Device Emulation Platform. Hammer DEX is designed to reduce cost and speed up the testing, validation and verification of IMS and VoIP devices, applications and networks. Created to meet the emerging test requirements for IMS and NGN devices, Hammer DEX provides developers, QA labs, service provider labs, system integration, and rollout teams a cost effective emulation platform that is extensible, multi-user capable, and easy to use.

Hammer DEX allows for emulating specific device functionality, behavior and configuration eliminating the need for real devices in test setups. It can be used in conjunction with other Empirix functional and load testing products for the isolation test of IMS and VoIP devices. The Hammer DEX platform provides users with a full range of device templates that work ‘out of the box’, which can be easily customized to meet changing test requirements.

Fluke Networks
http://www.flukenetworks.com
Fluke Networks (news - alert) provides solutions for the testing, monitoring, and analysis of enterprise and telecommunications networks and the installation and certification of the fiber and copper foundation of those networks. Its comprehensive line of Network SuperVision Solutions provides network installers, owners, and maintainers with necessary vision, combining speed, accuracy, and ease of use to optimize network performance.

Since no two networks are identical, Fluke Networks offers several NetTool models to match your individual requirements and to maximize the value of your NetTool investment. From our top-of-the-line NetTool Series II Pro VoIP to the entry-level NetTool 10/100, you will find a NetTool that fits your network troubleshooting needs and your budget.

GL Communications
http://www.gl.com
GL (news - alert) provides a variety of solutions for network-wide monitoring and surveillance. The solutions consist of intrusive and non-intrusive probes for TDM, VoIP, and wireless networks. These probes deployed at strategic locations in a network can transmit and collect voice, data, protocol, statistics, and performance information, and relay this information to a central or distributed network management system (NMS)

The NMS may be client server-based or Web-based system and consists of a database and applications for controlling, collecting, and analyzing the information provided by the various probes

GL’s current NMS solutions include: digital T1/E1 line monitoring, test, and diagnostic system (intrusive and non-intrusive probes); SS7, ISDN, and wireless protocol monitoring and surveillance system (non-intrusive probes); wireless, wireline, and VoIP voice quality monitoring system (intrusive probes); and packet and VoIP monitoring and surveillance system (non-intrusive probes)

Integrated Research
http://www.ir.com
(news - alert) PROGNOSIS IP Telephony Manager is a solution designed to provide network readiness assessment, testing, and assurance, performance monitoring of VoIP servers/applications and the network (including gateways, phones, routers, switches), ongoing capacity planning and service level monitoring, be easy to install and monitor through comprehensive dashboard views of the infrastructure and applications, along with immediate alerting.

Keynote
http://www.keynote.com
Keynote (news - alert) VoIP and streaming test and measurement products let you experience what your customers are experiencing and ensure that you are providing the best service quality possible. Its products measure voice, audio, and video services using Keynote’s global test and measurement network. Agents in the network connect to your streaming and VoIP services in residential locations or devices all over the world. Measurements are taken at regular frequencies to ensure accuracy and reliability at multiple levels of detail. Keynote Voice Perspective a comprehensive product for benchmarking and monitoring the endto- end VoIP service quality from the actual end user perspective over any communication media — DSL, Cable, and Wireless.

NetHawk
http://www.nethawk.fi
NetHawk (news - alert) Analyzers are scalable testing, troubleshooting, and optimization tools for GSM/GPRS/EDGE/UMTS networks. NetHawk provides advanced applications for protocol monitoring, call & session tracing, QoS, and radio optimization measurements. NetHawk Analyzer products are focused for system integration, functional testing, load testing, network roll-out, and network operations. They are designed for multi-interface and multi-technology network monitoring, optimization, troubleshooting, and KPI gathering and can be integrated into a fully automated test system.

Ixia
http://www.ixiacom.com
Ixia’s (news - alert) scalable solutions generate, capture, characterize, and emulate network and application traffic, establishing definitive performance and conformance metrics of network devices or systems under test. Ixia’s Triple Play test systems address the growing need to test voice, video, and data services and network capability under real-world conditions, utilizing a range of industry-standard interfaces, including Ethernet, SONET, ATM, and wireless connectivity.

IxVoice is a comprehensive hardware and software test framework that provides unified VoIP and PSTN test solutions for the telecom/network equipment manufacturer, carrier, and enterprise markets. It addresses all major VoIP protocols: SIP, SCCP (Skinny), H.323, MGCP, H.248 (MEGACO), as well as TDM and analog telephony services.

Net Latency
http://www.netlatency.com
(news - alert) SwitchMonitor is designed to monitor the performance and utilization of all network interfaces, giving insight into the health and performance of an organization’s entire LAN and WAN. Error statistics are collected for all interfaces and are evaluated for severity and criticality to give you ultimate awareness of a network’s weak points, which is critical for VOIP implementations where low incidence of errors and high throughput are required to insure that quality of service does not suffer.

SwitchMonitor for service providers offers ISPs and other network service providers information about their network’s performance that can help improve their customers’ network experience. Fully customizable customer pages are built for each interface so customers can track their own network utilization and help justify upgrades.

Netcordia
http://www.netcordia.com
Netcordia’s (news - alert) VoIP analysis module, together with its NetMRI appliance, is a comprehensive, automated network diagnostic tool, analyzing wireless, VPN, VLAN, IP, and VoIP problems. NetMRI gathers VoIP Call Detail Records (CDRs) from leading IP PBX manufacturers and analyzes those records and creates a Path Diagnostic Chart. Call information and call performance, together with IP network analysis, provide an overview of VoIP processing throughout the network — from routers to switches to endpoints — and can be used to help troubleshoot specific VoIP problems,

NetIQ
http://www.netiq.com/solutions/voip
NetIQ’s (news - alert) VoIP solutions enable successful deployment of IP telephony and ensure availability and security of voice and data applications. With NetIQ, clients can also maintain QoS and measure and report on metrics and service levels while mitigating security risks. NetIQ offers a solution that integrates systems and security management so clients can easily implement, manage, and protect against threats in their VoIP environments.

With NetIQ’s AppManager, you can manage VoIP solutions, including IP phones, call servers, voice mail, and IP contact center applications, as well as the underlying IT infrastructure — all from a single integrated console, maximizing performance and availability.

Network General
http://www.networkgeneral.com
VoIP Intelligence from Network General (news - alert) delivers expert network analysis, VoIP troubleshooting, and monitoring capabilities to this increasingly important element of the enterprise communications infrastructure. VoIP Intelligence leverages and extends the underlying functionality of Sniffer InfiniStream, Sniffer Distributed, and Sniffer Portable, to ensure QoS on packet voice networks. With VoIP Intelligence, the quality of converged networks is enhanced and voice, video, and data can be easily managed over a single network. With realtime expert analysis and decoding capabilities, an IT manager can determine if converged networks are delivering the toll-quality voice services their users demand.

Network Instruments
http://www.networkinstruments.com
Network Instruments’ (news - alert) Observer VoIP Expert is designed to help manage, troubleshoot, and maintain VoIP traffic across your network. Regardless of whether you are interested in the big picture or in a specific conversation, Observer offers real-time statistics, Expert analysis, and reports for all levels of VoIP traffic. With Network Instruments Distributed Network Analysis (NI-DNA) architecture, VoIP Analysis is an integrated part of Expert Observer and Observer Suite, which allows management of VoIP traffic and the rest of the network with one solution, decreasing the learning curve while increasing ROI.

Opticom
http://www.opticom.de
(news - alert) The OPERA Voice/Audio Quality Analyzer represents the latest developments to objectively evaluate and assure the quality of compressed voice and wideband audio signals, based on modeling the human ear. With OPERA, you can achieve a comprehensive analysis of the end-to-end quality of today’s and next generation networks, such as VoIP, VoDSL, VoATM, ISDN, GSM, POTS. You can also test the audio quality of compression formats, such as MP3, AAC, AC3, Windows Media, from the studio source to the receiver, or from the server to the client.

Psytechnics
http://www.psytechnics.com
Psytechnics (news - alert) provides tools for equipment manufacturers, network and applications providers and end users that provide simple, yet powerful and accurate information about real experiences for voice and video services, which is supported by a host of advanced diagnostics about the voice and video content as well as more familiar performance metrics — all of which can be used to speed diagnostics and rapidly identify the root cause of service affecting problems.

The VoIP Solution Set consists of three Service Assessment Modules (PESQ, Psytechnics Speech Monitor(PSM) and Psytechnics Speech IP Monitor(PSI)).

Q1 Labs
http://www.q1labs.com
Q1 Labs’ (news - alert) new QRadar module is specifically designed to offer security monitoring for VoIP networks. QRadar combines network behavior analysis and security event correlation for monitoring across the network protocol, application, and security services layers of a VoIP network, including Call Managers, IP PBXs, and voice gateways.

QRadar’s VoIP module provides a set of security event correlation rules, application signatures, and specific VoIP security reports designed to help customers better monitor their voice application traffic, correlate events from security devices protecting the network, while detecting and reporting on specific threats to VoIP servers and applications.

Qovia
http://www.qovia.com
Qovia (news - alert) monitors live calls in real time and alerts IT operators before call quality is affected, enhancing reliability and end user experience. Qovia can help track VoIP assets on the network, optimize VoIP networks before calls are made, and troubleshoot call quality problems, increasing network reliability.

Qovia’s flagship IP telephony monitoring and management system monitors and manages VoIP call quality. Qovia sensors are placed on the VoIP network to collect call quality information about calls as they occur. Information is sent to the Qovia Service Manager software center for analysis and management across the entire voice network.

RADCOM
http://www.radcom.com
RADCOM’s (news - alert) VoIP solution includes both active and non-intrusive probes. The active probes provide link quality and performance measurements by creating test calls between probes. Users can define a flexible automated scheduling regime, or execute ad hoc test calls. Creating automated test schedules is an important component of proactive monitoring in a VoIP solution. The probes provide availability (signaling), performance, and voice quality (PESQ) measurements on the test call session. After activation, the active Omni-Q probes perform scheduled test calls, while the non-intrusive probes monitor all traffic and perform scheduled actions on the target populations.

Scientific Net IP Communications
http://www.scientificnetip.com/voiptesttools. html
Scientific NetIP’s (news - alert) VoIP assessment certifies networks for Avaya or Cisco IP telephony systems and determine quickly and easily how well VoIP will work on a network prior to deployment, including customizable reports detailing the network’s VoIP readiness. Its VoIP call generator and analyzer products monitor and analyze live video and voice conferencing networks, giving a “big picture,” as well as the ability to drill down to packet level detail to accurately pinpoint trouble spots. It also simplifying overall management of IP phones, call servers, voice mail, and IP contact center applications, as well as the entire underlying infrastructure.

Shore-Tel
http://www.shore-tel.com
(news - alert) ShoreWare System Monitor provides a monitoring capability that alerts IT the moment it detects a problem, while enabling proactive troubleshooting for improved quality of service and network availability. ShoreWare System Monitor delivers a blend of continuous vendor-neutral monitoring, diagnostics, and alerts to provide real-time monitoring of all network devices. As a standard, SNMP-based software solution, ShoreWare System Monitor can be installed and running in 15 minutes, automatically recognizing network devices and providing Web-based, remote monitoring.

Shunra
http://www.shunra.com
Shunra (news - alert) VE is a robust, comprehensive network simulation solution that creates a virtual network environment in your pre-deployment lab, enabling testing network performance under a wide variety of network impairments under real world conditions throughout the development lifecycle. Shunra VE allows an understanding of the impact the network and applications have on each other and on remote end users’ experiences, and uncovers and resolves production related problems — before rollout — and provides a wide range of reports and drill-down capabilities to isolate and resolve the root causes of network and application problems.

Spirent Communications
http://www.spirentcom.com
Spirent solutions ensure that your hardware and software will perform as expected by testing and assessing four critical areas: network planning, network validation, voice quality, and security. With Spirent’s Architecture for Converged Network Testing, you can thoroughly analyze the interaction between voice, data, and video traffic, thus reducing the risk of performance issues and outages by testing new network devices and software components before deployment, verifying that your security infrastructure enforces your policies without impacting performance, measuring the performance and capacity of new and existing network devices, and “exact-sizing” the network.

SyncVoice Communications
http://www.syncvoice.com
SyncVoice (news - alert) provides unified management solutions that provide a single view of the network across disparate systems, while normalizing and correlating data to provide actionable information. VXTracker simplifies the complexity of hybrid networks and provides the sophisticated analytics that customers need to understand the impact on cost, performance, and quality of service.

VXTracker’s call accounting system collects call detail records (CDR) to produce powerful historical and real-time drill down reports to help you manage costs, agent performance, and isolate important network trends. The VXTracker VoIPToolbox is a software based QoS monitoring package that monitors your packet performance and applications on your converged network.

Tektronix
http://www.tektronix.com/communications
Tektronix (news - alert) provides network operators and equipment manufacturers a comprehensive suite of network diagnostics and management solutions for fixed, mobile, IP, and converged multi-service networks. These solutions provide both active and passive testing and monitoring, covering a full range of legacy and next generation protocols and services, including IPTV, VoIP, broadband wireless access, triple play, and FMC applications.

Tektronix’ Spectra2 passive conformance testing solution provides a full range of VoIP and converged network testing features in one system; its DirectQuality R7 active test platform provides complete endto- end service quality test coverage for NextGen, VoIP, PSTN, and mobile networks hosting voice, video, fax, Internet, and conferencing services.

Tektronix recently acquired Minacom to become further enhance its comprehensive test solutions for both active and passive testing of VoIP and IP data services and equipment.

Telchemy
http://www.telchemy.com
Telchemy’s (news - alert) VQmon technology enables service providers and major enterprise to monitor and manage the performance of VoIP, IPTV, video conferencing, 3G/4G mobile, and other real-time services. Telchemy’s products provide real-time visibility of service quality, accurate estimates of user perceived QoS and QoE (MOS scores and R-factors), and detailed analysis of the root cause of quality degradation. VQmon is integrated into IP Phones, VoIP gateways, residential gateways, SLA monitoring systems, routers, OSS, Probes and Analyzers — providing perceptual quality scores and problem diagnosis information for every call.

Touchstone Technologies
http://www.touchstone-inc.com
(news - alert) WinEyeQ now provides support for HTTP, SMTP, POP3, FTP, RTSP, SNMP and TELNET protocols, affording a clear, concise, and intuitive portrait of all of the components your network. It also now incorporates Data Scopes, which are graphical representations of logical groups of components, allowing the user to drill down on any category, revealing ever-finer levels of details. Each Data Scope can be represented as either a bar or a pie chart and includes histograms for every metric, allowing you to examine the recent history of any and all activities on the network. These data scopes enhance the user experience by providing a natural interface to network analysis techniques.

Trilithic
http://www.trilithic.com
(news - alert) The modem-equipped 860 DSPi cable analyzer performs all of the critical transmission and signal quality tests needed to install and maintain analog, high speed data, and VoIP services, providing all of the capabilities needed for certifying analog and digital installations. The 860 DSPi has two different VoIP test functions. For the RTP test, the 860 DSPi communicates with a server side application. This test produces both upstream and downstream results for packet loss, latency, and jitter, with an algorithm-generated MOS. The second test, based on ICMP, utilizes any network device on the system and produces round trip results for packet loss, lost packet ratio, latency, and jitter.

Viola Networks
http://www.violanetworks.com
Viola’s (news - alert) NetAlly Lifecycle Manager combines the use of active and passive testing technologies in a single service management system to provide a holistic view of the VoIP environment. The solution is entirely software based and includes pre- and post-deployment assessment designed to detect potential network problems before they affect end users; pinpoint the source of degraded network performance; and definitively determine whether a detected problem is rooted in the network or the application. NetAlly is an open and scalable architecture designed to operate on industry standard hardware platforms, as well as integration with thirdparty systems.

WildPackets
http://www.wildpackets.com
(news - alert) The OmniAnalysis Platform gives network engineers real-time visibility into every part of the network — simultaneously and from a single interface — including Gigabit, 10/100, 802.11 wireless, VoIP, and WAN links to remote offices. Using the OmniAnalysis Platform’s local capture capabilities, centralized console, distributed engines, and expert analysis, engineers can rapidly troubleshoot faults and fix problems, restoring essential services and maximizing network uptime and user satisfaction. OmniPeek enables network engineers to monitor multiple parts of the network simultaneously and independently — an important capability when engineers know there’s a problem but not where it is.





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