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How we tested Avaya's unifed communications platform
Beware of UC security threats

How we tested Avaya's unifed communications gear

By Miercom, Network World
September 08, 2008 12:05 AM ET

Network World - Testing was conducted on unified communications components configured to provide UC for a network topology consisting of a main office and three branch office locations. The four-site deployment was specified to support up to 2,500 aggregate users with 2,000 of these users equipped with full voice messaging and unified communications capability. We included full redundancy for server components at the main office and three branch office locations.

The main office network infrastructure utilized a 100Mbps Ethernet Power over Ethernet-enabled network using an Avaya C364T-PWR. The branch offices were connected by different routed virtual LAN networks

We verified UC client endpoint compatibility between Avaya's IM applications to both IBM Lotus Sametime and Microsoft's Office Communicator and Avaya's own instant messaging application.

We conducted H.323 to SIP endpoint tests and verified that latency and voice quality were within acceptable standards for voice. MOS 4.0 was our minimum, but the Avaya 9640 IP phones using the G650 Media gateway actually achieved better quality at a 4.5 MOS score. These tests, as well as SIP signaling analysis and verification of traffic encryption, were conducted using the ClearSight Analyzer, a distributed protocol and traffic analyzer from ClearSight Networks. Voice quality assessment was evaluated by capturing live traffic off the network and by doing post capture analysis processed through the ClearSight Analyzer.

SIP traffic load tests (which emulated endpoints) were conducted using the Emprix Hammer Transport and Touchstone's WinSip. An impressive 6,000 busy hour call attempts with 1,000 concurrent users was achieved in testing.

Voice quality assessment for G.722 wideband codec employed in the Avaya 9640 IP hard phones was evaluated using Touchstone's WinEyeQ product and subjective scoring by our listening panel. The voice quality was described as "near high fidelity" by our testers. The ability to hear the high and low tones is greatly enhanced using the G.722.

Security scans including open port scans, protocol interaction with mutated traffic, common vulnerability exploit tests, denial of service and SIP server torture tests were conducted using Miercom's own testing suite combined with a Mu Dynamics Mu-4000 Security Analyzer. The vulnerability scans were run first to provide information that could be used in a subsequent compound or complex attack. We did not utilize network countermeasures in the network for the preliminary security testing (such as a firewall or UTM product) as we wanted to exercise the inherent security of each of the UC components.

The components in Avaya UC package did not reveal many chinks in the armor to allow for further exploits. Worse case scenario of denial-of-service tests revealed that, although communications may be temporarily disrupted, the components of the UC system would not fail or require reset which is a significant accomplishment. Follow-on testing was conducted using a UTM appliance from Avaya's partnering vendor Juniper Networks and was verified to thwart the DoS and compound exploits that we applied to the unprotected Avaya UC system. Bottom line, with the correct network security countermeasures employed, we could no longer disrupt the VoIP traffic.

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