More VoIP Network Monitoring Stuff

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All about VoIP Network Monitoring

The UK VoIP industry is maturing. Networks are growing, subscriber numbers are increasing and the tools people used when they first started may no longer do the job.

Once upon a time it was just fine to use freeware. After all there is plenty of support out there. Usergroups willing and eager to help. On a best efforts basis obvs, or paid for even. Now you haven’t got the time to do all that stuff yourself nor all the learning that has to accompany it. There comes a time where the growing ITSP that once managed on a shoestring has to face reality and begin to look at turnkey vendor solutions that come with their own support and carrier strength operations.

Network monitoring is one such area. I’m finding a real interest in this subject in the UK. My VoIP Network Monitoring Workshop has been very well subscribed. Of course it helps that there is free beer and curry afterwards but to be honest that is by the by. The UK tech community is interested.

I wear a number of hats where VoIP Network Monitoring is concerned. Netaxis have our own product, NEMO, which has just undergone its third major release. Netaxis also act as a Systems Integrator  and support a wide range of 3rd Party vendor tools. Included in this is Oracle’s OCOM integrates well with Oracle’s own Session Border Controller line as well as via external probes.

It’s only recently I’ve really dug into this whole subject. Obviously things do go wrong in any network and especially in VoIP network where there can be so many topologies involved. Also as your number of subscribers increases the more likely it is that you will encounter problems. Because voice is mission critical to a business these problems are going to make for uncomfortable times unless you have the right troubleshooting tools.

This means being able to drill down into into individual voice calls to see what is going on. What’s the voice quality (MOS Score) looking like? Is the problem only happening at particular times of the day? Why is that phone constantly re-registering? Is it a site wide problem? Are calls timing out after the same amount of time? Is it handset specific? Codec specific? Lots of variables to contend with.

When your network grows you also need to start thinking about how and where you deploy your VoIP Network monitoring tools. Network data needs collecting, storing and analyzing. How do you work out how much storage you need? What’s the profile of your customer base? How many simultaneous calls? What’s the average duration? Which calls do you want to record? All of them or just ones that you are trying to troubleshoot? How long do you want to store the RTAP data for.

All of a sudden you are into an engineering effort just to figure out what the specs of your probes are going to look like. Will you need much bandwidth between the probe and your network monitoring server. What TAP spec do you need? Traffic has to be mirrored somehow.

There’s a lot more to VoIP Network Monitoring that people sometimes realise. What’s more the scope of what is wanted out of a VoIP Network Monitoring tool has grown. Firstly it’s a natural source of data for call recording purposes other than mere troubleshooting. Regulatory requirements perhaps?

Then there’s fraud. If you are monitoring all your network traffic it seems to make sense to be able to analyze this traffic for patterns that suggest fraudulent activity. What steps do you take for fraud mitigation? Does your VoIP Network Monitoring tool also help you detect fraud?

I think I’ve gone on long enough. If you want to join the discussion on this subject just sign up for my VoIP Network Monitoring Workshop on 21st February. Don’t come along just for the beer and curry though. I’m after participation. Involvement. 🙂

Oh and if you want to talk to me directly about what we can do for you in respect of VoIP Network Monitoring just get in touch. Y’awl.

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