Network General Simplifies VOIP Management

Network General's forensics tool includes a new VoIP Intelligence module that lets IT shops manage call performance.

Network General wasted no time upgrading its VoIP Forensics tool released last September with the launch on June 18 of a VoIP Intelligence module for the suite.

VoIP Forensics, designed to help enterprise IT shops better monitor and manage new voice over IP services, marries high-level VOIP performance monitoring and alarming on VOIP metrics with packet-level visibility within a single dashboard.

With the new VoIP Intelligence module, the tool can now display individual call performance and overall VOIP metrics, provide a graphical representation of per-call VOIP performance, and automatically correlate voice and video transmissions with data traffic patterns.

VoIP Forensics uses business container technology acquired with NetVigil to pull together the relationship of components that make up a business service to provide an IT service-level view of application performance. It leverages Sniffer Voice Experts and decodes to help troubleshoot VOIP-specific problems.

/zimages/4/28571.gifRead more here about VoIP Forensics.

"When customers start implementing VOIP, its more than phone [service], a call manager or applications: It is many components working together to create an overall business service," said James Messer, director of technical marketing at Network General in San Jose, Calif.

"Unless you know whats going on with each link, you cant know whats going on with the service. We can show containers with different elements from a Web front end. You can see network level [and] application level and get real-time feedback on whats happening, then get a visual perspective on whats happened in the past," he added.

All VOIP system components can be grouped together and managed as if they were a single entity, and from a single user interface operators can view how that service interacts with other systems.

VoIP Intelligence specifically shows the quality of service impact that network problems such as jitter have on a single phone call.

"You can see jitter spikes during that call, so it brings more simplicity to a complex thing," said Messer. "We get to the microsecond level. You cant get a more detailed view from this without an oscilloscope."

In addition to jitter, the module shows how other network problems such as latency, out-of-sequence frames and dropped voice packets affect audio and video quality.

The complexity of VOIP installations is increasing as more enterprises look to implement unified communications offerings that integrate messaging, conferencing and video services over IP.

/zimages/4/28571.gifClick here to read about the initial release of Network Generals Network Intelligence Suite and NetworkDNA Architecture.

With VoIP Forensics and its new VoIP Intelligence module, network managers can view unified communications systems as a single business service from one dashboard to better manage performance and availability of the whole UC system, Messer said.

The new module is available with VoIP Forensics now. Upgrade prices for existing customers starts at $5,250. A typical VoIP Forensics installation in a large enterprise averages about $400,000.

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