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Posts Tagged ‘VoIP monitoring

unified-communicationsThe cost reduction and infrastructure consolidation benefits of Unified Communications and Collaboration (UC&C) are so compelling that many organizations are rolling out these services without a solution to manage the user experience.

UC&C aims to converge telephony, messaging, mobile communications, video conferencing and presence-enabled applications onto a common, IP-based network. But chances are that network is already burdened with a host of services, from e-mail to SaaS applications to Internet media streams to online storage to virtual desktops.

The more traffic is loaded onto the network – and the greater the distance between the users and the services consumed – the higher the risk of poor network performance and application failure. UC&C applications, like many of today’s complex, network-dependent applications, falter and crash abruptly as soon as network performance degrades below a specific threshold. Even minor performance issues often result in degraded VoIP call quality, faltering videoconferences, or complete service failure.

Companies that hope to simply “drop in” UC&C services and expect they’ll work with no significant hiccups are taking a major business risk. To assure service delivery, UC&C systems demand stable and dependable network performance. This means not just sufficient bandwidth, but also minimal latency, packet loss and jitter.

Traditional, SNMP-based network management tools aren’t capable of monitoring the experience of remote users accessing IP-based services, which are entirely dependent on real-time network performance. Netflow analysis tools can help bridge the performance management gap, but they generally require significant bandwidth and are expensive to deploy and manage. Few organizations have the cash to deliver netflow analysis to and at the remote sites where the capability is most needed.

Network engineers and CTOs are well aware that in many cases their tools lack the “intelligence” needed to manage service levels across an ever-growing range of IP-based applications, including UC&C. Problem resolution becomes a time-consuming crapshoot, and capacity planning is simply a question of “how much bandwidth can we afford?”

To understand what’s happening with UC&C at remote sites, you need integrated network performance management capabilities that enable you to continuously monitor service levels end-to-end across any network infrastructure running IP-based services – even those hosted by third parties. You need to be able to:

  • Quickly and accurately assess a network’s readiness for a new or expanded UC&C deployment
  • Continuously monitor the performance of on-premise, hosted SIP or fully hosted UC&C services over any network
  • Cost-effectively measure and report on specific SLAs to meet and ensure the performance needs of your users

AppNeta’s cloud-based PathView Cloud network performance management solutions deliver instant value through actionable insight into the network performance metrics that are vital to the success of your UC&C deployments.

To learn more about how PathView Cloud technology can enable you to successfully manage the performance of your UC&C services, visit  www.appneta.com.

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The move to Unified Communications and Collaboration (UC&C) is accelerating rapidly as technologies mature and early adopters reap competitive advantages like reduced costs, simplified IT infrastructure, better customer service and improved business performance. The growing availability of UC&C-as-a-service means that companies of all sizes are embracing the trend.

UC&C encompasses the convergence of telephony, messaging, video conferencing, presence-enabled applications and mobile communications; all over a common, IP-based network. That means there’s a lot riding on your network – both in terms of traffic and also in terms of critical business activity. Then, when you add cloud- or SaaS-based applications, virtual desktops and all the other IP-based services that your organization is increasingly dependent on, the performance of your network is more important than ever before.  

As staggering amounts of traffic pile onto today’s networks, the business risk associated with poor or inconsistent network performance is too great to leave to chance. All these services depend entirely on high-bandwidth, low-latency networks. When performance degrades beyond a specific threshold, applications tend to sputter and fail abruptly.

As organizations of all sizes realize the value, and make the move to UC&C, the paramount importance of successfully monitoring network performance in real-time, not only at headquarters but also across remote and distributed sites, becomes crystal clear. What are employees, customers and partners in disparate locations experiencing as they interact with these services? In many organizations there’s no way to know… until there are complaints.

How can organizations monitor and troubleshoot UC&C and other IP-based applications? SNMP-based tools, for example, aren’t designed to monitor network- and location-dependent application service levels. Traditional Netflow analyzers collect a wealth of IP traffic data, but are prohibitively expensive, consume significant amounts of bandwidth themselves, and can only monitor networks you own. Hence they are of limited use in most distributed environments, where traffic inevitably flows over service provider and public pipes.

The only cost effective answer is an active Remote Performance Management solution. Integrated Remote Performance Management capabilities enable you to do continuous, active remote performance monitoring and troubleshooting on any network infrastructure. PathView Cloud’s active bandwidth monitoring and active application performance monitoring automatically collect and analyze critical data including flow and packet capture. Using Remote Performance Management, you will know how your network will handle the deployment of UC & C applications and have the insight into the perspective of remote site performance to ensure that your critical voice services, video conference, or collaboration solution will perform – with predictability and cost efficiency.

Available as a cloud-based service, Remote Performance Management takes minutes to install, is highly scalable and cost-effective for organizations of any size. To learn more, visit www.apparentnetworks.com.

We get it, traditional telephony is perfect. Nobody ever dropped a call, nobody ever heard echo, and it only cost about as much as a small island in the south pacific per month to run.

“I’m just an old phone guy; I don’t get these network issues.” This is a common line I hear when working through a VoIP deployment issue where the telephony vendor/MSP has become suspect and needs some help in the network arena.

Well, hold on to your MOS scores, because we are on the case.

Our Partner was in the midst of a VoIP deployment at a multi-site financial institution. Three sites out of 27 were known to be experiencing call quality issues and so they enlisted PathView to help solve the problem.  In about 20 minutes worth of monitoring data those same suspect sites were identified and another three that were experiencing the same issue.

Diagnostics were run, providers called, problem solved?? Keep dreaming.

The providers ensured nothing was different about these six sites (except for the fact that the route happened to change for all six shortly thereafter, eliminating the loss found on the path – did I mention we track route history?)

Seemed like we were winning – but then the phone rang with tales of rolling waves of destruction from the central site out to ALL remote offices.  The client of our MSP was outraged.  He swore that this VoIP deployment was a nightmare, and our Partner had their back up against the wall once again.

“Now there is loss everywhere!” Our partner exclaimed.  “What do all these results mean?!”  – I wasn’t scared.

I took a stroll back through the monitoring data collected and found the beginning traces of the loss. I calmly stated, “Looks like something changed on August 25th at around 1:00 in the morning.” (This was clear to me from the spike in loss and a change in route at the core of the network).

Indeed, something did happen on August 25th around 1:00 in the morning. The client was responsible for a swap in network gear that had caused the issue in the first place.  Apparently the client and MSP shared a good laugh about it after the client realized the MSP clearly had all the facts even before the boss did.

But something bigger happened on the follow-up call I had with our Partner – he realized that the “voice guy” in him had just become data-dangerous.  Armed now with enough to diffuse issues from both providers and the end clients alike.

A: A faster, easier and (still) free network performance tool

Since launching PathView Cloud
a few weeks ago we have had hundreds of free sign ups and thousands of tests run on networks around the globe.  The widespread use of the technology provided insight into what was working well and where could enhance the product.  

This week we are introducing a number of great new features:

Continuous Voice Monitoring: PathView Cloud has always been able to perform VoIP testing when diagnosing a network path. Now you will be able to get VoIP specific performance metrics all the time. You will be able to see how different behavior patterns on your network affect the quality of calls, and which specific aspects of performance are dragging down your MOS scores.

Linux Sequencers: Not only will you be able to download Linux sequencers automatically configured to work with your PathView Cloud account, but we are also giving away complete Linux Sequencer appliances for VMware ESX and ESXi.

Internet Paths: We also head that network engineers want to test to their favorite internet sites to measure the performance of their Internet connection. In order to make it easier for you to do this, we have added 5 additional free internet paths to all accounts.

Just check up to 5 of the preconfigured internet paths from the Add Paths screen and within seconds they will be added to your account.

Performance Increases
: Diagnostic tests performed by PathView Cloud now complete up to 300% faster. And, tests over slow or inconsistent networks are getting the biggest performance boost.

Pricing and Availability: PathView Cloud is available now with plans starting under $25/month for 55 paths (5 WAN, 50 LAN).

Want to learn more about PathView Cloud? Check out this 4 minute Introduction to PathView Cloud Video:

All of these capabilities will be rolled out for all PathView Cloud Free and Pro users this week. If there are features you would like to see added to PathView Cloud, let us know! Send in your ideas and feedback to the  PathView Cloud support site.


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