To give network managers greater peace of mind when migrating to voice over IP, Xelor Software Inc. today launched service quality management software that automates quality of service tools provided with systems from Cisco Systems Inc. and Avaya Communications Inc.
Many software makers offer QOS tools for IP, covering everything from testing to traffic management, but Salem, N.H.-based Xelor claims to be the first to provide an automatic way to ensure voice quality.
The program identifies the devices on the network, noting which are voice-enabled, and then manages the traffic to ensure that priority calls remain reliable.
It prevents service degradation for specified endpoints that could result from network congestion by dropping packets that exceed the allocated bandwidth.
Englands Mid-Bedfordshire district, a rural area about 40 miles north of London, is the countrys first district to migrate to IP telephony.
Moving to a new location in June, the district government found that it would be most cost effective to deploy an integrated voice and data system at its new building, said Clive Jones, chief operations officer for Mid-Bedfordshire.
However, district officials were concerned about QOS and the networks ability to provide an acceptable level of reliability, he said.
To prepare for the transition to IP, Mid-Bedfordshire swapped its legacy telephone equipment for Cisco IP gear and upgraded its software at the current location in January.
The Cisco technology comes with QOS tools, but they can be complicated and time-consuming to implement. A month ago, Jones began testing XelorRate Service Quality Manager, which allows him to set thresholds on bandwidth usage, tailored to individual routers.
"What was really worrying was that the chief executive would call up and say he had a crap call," Jones said. "I wanted some way of being aware when the quality of service was being threatened."
With XelorRate, Jones said he can ensure that specified end points will not experience call degradation when excess traffic floods the system. The system assigns bandwidth call by call, isolating voice traffic from data to protect voice quality.
When a call exceeds the specified traffic allocation, it can proceed but not with the bandwidth allocated to priority calls.
The Mid-Bedfordshire network will carry not only data and voice traffic but video as well, Jones said.
Citizens in remote parts of the countryside will be able to present documents or seek help with tax forms or benefits applications via video phone.
Before installing IP phones with cameras, however, Jones wanted to have better tools for monitoring service quality, he said.
"From a peace-of-mind point of view Im now more happy. I was reluctant to roll out video IP telephony endpoints," Jones said.
"Now I have every confidence that when we start to get to capacity we can organize the network appropriately to cope with it."