• United States
Neal Weinberg
Contributing writer, Foundry

Avaya Communication Manager

Jul 10, 20032 mins

* The Reviewmeister takes a look at another VoIP management tool

Our second stop in the VoIP management tool tour was the Avaya Communication Manager.

The cornerstone of Avaya IP-PBX management is the Windows-based, though command-line-like, interface called Avaya Site Administration (ASA), which is just one component of the management package Avaya sent for evaluation. We tested Avaya’s Integrated Management, Enhanced-level package, the third-highest of four management-software bundles.

The package includes ASA, a Java-based Windows application, plus three other applications:

* Avaya Multi-Service Network Manager (MSNM), a customized, SNMP element manager that runs on Win 2000 and handles trap logging and SNMP polling for real-time status monitoring.

* Voice Announcement Over LAN, a tool that lets you manipulate and import .WAV voice-response messages into the IP PBX.

* VoIP Monitoring Manager (VMON), a tool that does a splendid job of monitoring VoIP activity by collecting and analyzing real-time transport control protocol reports.

Avaya also threw in a third-party call-accounting package, called eCAS from Veramark.

Avaya delivered the best overall performance in the reporting category because of eCAS, combined with the reporting capabilities of ASA and the VMON. The same is true for alarms, events and traps. All the management pieces contributed to Avaya’s top score in this category. One obvious drawback, though, is that you have to constantly shift back and forth between different interfaces.

We ran a late-beta version of new IP hardphone code, which supported VoIP encryption. This turned out to be very easy to administer (via ASA) and performed flawlessly. VoIP media encryption stands to be a major marketplace advantage for Avaya. No one else currently offers it, or likely will anytime soon, on such a clean, well-integrated basis. The Avaya encryption does not add perceptibly to latency, although it does have a noticeable – but for the most part acceptable – effect on voice quality.

The overall difficulty of managing the Avaya IP PBX is medium, based on the ASA interface. It will take a skilled user a month or so to become proficient.

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