IP PBXes Get a Little Help from Qovia
Built to work with IP PBX systems from 3Com Corp., Nortel Networks Ltd. and Cisco Systems Inc., Qovias flagship appliance, the Ion, and software modules let network administrators monitor voice quality, bandwidth usage and connectivity for as few as 30 IP handsets and as many as thousands. The product combines the functions of network data collection with a management probe and the ability to monitor reliability and security, as well as quality.
The upcoming Qovia 3000, which has the processing power of a larger appliance, is designed for small offices and is compact enough to be delivered to a remote site in an overnight mailbox. The 3000 model does not need an external power supply when used with power-over-Ethernet systems.
The new models are capable of constantly monitoring UPS (uninterruptible power supply) status, which lets network administrators at a central location view the capacity of the backup battery at remote sites. The system alerts administrators when there is a power outage and can shut down the call server if an outage outlasts the battery life.
"It gives you another meter to look at," said Richard Tworek, president and CEO of the Frederick, Md., company. "Were looking at VOIP as an overall application on the network."
The soon-to-be-released Qovia 5000, a scaled-up version of the Ion, will come with expansion capability for adding memory or enabling wireless communications, as well as new processor architecture, Tworek said.
Fritz Fekete, director of IS at the Ohio Education Association, called on Qovia earlier this year when he was looking for a way to monitor the voice traffic over his IP system from 3Com. With 25 sites scattered around the state and a total of about 200 employees, Fekete had no way to troubleshoot or check for downtime at each site, he said.
The Qovia technology monitors the backup battery at the 25 sites, providing warning at headquarters before a site goes downa function that the associations small IT staff appreciates, Fekete said.
While the VOIP implementation cut down on long-distance bills and brought new telephony features to the remote offices, monitoring the system was time-consuming. With the previous telephone system, OEA lodged about 125 maintenance calls to the phone company each year, Fekete estimated.
"For us to go out to an office [to troubleshoot] means were sacrificing staff time on another project," said Fekete, who added that the farthest office is a 3-hour drive from OEAs headquarters in Columbus, Ohio.
Prior to deploying Qovia, voice transmissions over the VOIP system would occasionally break up, but now voice traffic is seamless, Fekete said. "The feedback [from employees] has been great," he said, "even though people arent going to be singing the praises of a phone."
Qovia monitoring functions