Apparent Networks on Aug. 21 at VoiceCon will launch a version of its AppCritical network troubleshooting tool designed specifically for small and midsize enterprises and the professional services organizations that support them.
AppCritical is designed specifically to help enterprises with pre-deployment assessments for adding VOIP (voice over IP to a network), and to troubleshoot and maintain the performance of VOIP and other network traffic. AppCritical SME brings that same capability to small and midsize enterprises that dont have the same technical resources and expertise that larger enterprises have.
The tool, which does not require extensive training or the installation of software agents, can be used to evaluate the performance capacity of a network and identify and diagnose the source of network degradation.
"The SME market is under-served from a network management perspective. They dont have a network expert, and a lot of products require an expert to interpret results. And the cost of those products is a barrier," said Matt Dion, vice president of marketing for Apparent Networks, in Vancouver, British Columbia.
"The fact is I can sit down with an end user and within a little while they can get good at using it," said Dennis Bailey, network engineer with Invictus Converged Solutions, in New York. "It doesnt take a weeks worth of training to be good at using it. Its geared so that the person who takes the phone call from the end user (calling about a problem) can actually run a series of tests and resolve the issue," he added. Invictus is a reseller and it also uses AppCritical for the managed services it provides to its customers.
Invictus Converged Solutions used AppCritical with one customer to help pinpoint the source of intermittent, hard-to-locate problems with voice calls on an IP network.
"I had one customer that had their IP PBX in one building, and a DS-3 connected across the street linked 150 users. They noticed the sound only worked one way every now and then," said Bailey. "The WAN monitoring systems didnt show the issue, (and) the DS-3 provider said ,Everythings OK," but it wasnt. We were in a couple of hours able to show what the problem was (using AppCritical). "The set (the router) up for 25 confirmed calls, but they kept moving more people across the street. So they made an adjustment on the routers (Quality of Service) settings and the problem went away," he added.
AppCritical SME is designed for networks supporting "a couple hundred to a couple thousand users," said Dion. It includes a server with Apparent Networks network intelligence system, three user interfaces and four sequencers, used to send out test packets at main network aggregation points.
It is available now and is priced at $40,000.