A good VoIP network assessment package should help you determine quickly and easily how well VoIP will work on your network. It should also predict the overall call quality you can expect from the network and generate customizable reports that detail the network’s VoIP readiness.
Below are some guidelines as to what a good network package should do:
- Help determine if your network can handle VoIP (e.g., load testing, jitter, packet loss, and latency)
- Predict call quality (e.g., audio quality and MOS scoring)
- Collect network metrics over time to provide you with an accurate prediction of the overall call quality that can be expected once VoIP is deployed
- Create a topology from working inventory
- Supply reporting features that provide a tool for creating deliverables for customers/managers
- Offer real-time monitoring and post-capture analysis
- Provide audio playback/stream analysis
- Offer useful and intuitive filtering
- Provide threshold settings/alerts
- Provide traffic generators
- Supply graphs, tracing, and transport view
- Display sessions in ‘ladder’ view
- Provide packet-level decoding
VoIP ANALYZER TOOLS
Some popular VoIP analyzer tools are:
- Fluke ClearSight Analyzer
- WildPackets’ OmniPeek
- Fluke OptiView Portable Network Analyzer
- Empirix Hammer Call Analyzer
- Touchstone WinEyeQ
- Plixer Scrutinizer
Researching a package that offers full functionality for both the pre- and post-VoIP environments in advance is advisable. Some packages may be suitable for predeployment analysis but do not offer real user VoIP traffic monitoring. Ultimately, the package you select will depend on your existing network tools.
Some vendors offer traffic simulators or packet generators that work in conjunction with analysis software. This allows network engineers to simulate various types of traffic on the network to provide data about how the network may respond to actual traffic patterns.
With simulated traffic there is no direct observation or monitoring of actual VoIP traffic. Some packages allow for effective traffic simulation but do not provide comprehensive monitoring. Such a package may be suitable for the pre-deployment phase of an IP PBX system to assess if the current network infrastructure can perform adequately for VoIP traffic, but then, when real VoIP traffic is implemented on the network, you don’t get the same level of VoIP-level protocol detail and real traffic analysis that the other packages provide. This type of package may be suitable if you already employ effective network monitoring tools. Other packages are more robust and offer detailed protocol analysis and other monitoring features.
ClearSight Analyzer, for example, can provide data regarding protocol throughput usage, packet loss, device addresses, and issues within your network. The data can be viewed in reports, charts, and real-time statistics. ClearSight Analyzer monitors and analyzes the data flowing over the network segment to which it is connected. The program learns about the various IP flows traversing the network, as well as the applications running over them, providing a wide variety of statistics, charts, and graphs that help you understand what is happening on your network
Anil Kumar N
(Asst. Manager IT)