• United States
by Vincent Battistelli and Edwin Mier

Other VoIP traffic-analysis options

Dec 09, 20027 mins

In addition to the voice over IP traffic analysis products tested, other vendors also now offer products featuring various VoIP-analysis capabilities. We’ve assembled information about those products here as provided to us by the vendors.

Some of these products were not eligible to be included in our test because they only address one or two points of our overall criteria. Other other cases, vendors declined to participate because their products are not ready for public testing.

The products perform a variety of roles in the VoIP environment. Two are bandwidth management systems, which help ensure that high-priority and time-sensitive traffic, such as VoIP, receive expeditious handling and adequate network bandwidth. A few are protocol analyzers, which aid in isolating, understanding and troubleshooting complex VoIP protocol exchanges. Then there are performance-monitoring tools, which passively or actively track specific applications and traffic types, such as VoIP, and identify problems or undertake corrective actions. Other categories include: VoIP traffic generators, which exercise VoIP infrastructure equipment by issuing simulated VoIP call sequences and traffic streams; and network simulators, which replicate and model varied conditions for VoIP service and traffic planning.

Allot Communications – NetEnforcer

The NetEnforcer family of products sit at the LAN/WAN boundary of an enterprise or ISP network to enforce administrator-defined policies through the use of quality-of-service (QoS) traffic shaping algorithms and by monitoring network activity. NetEnforcer does this by implementing a Policy-Powered Networking package that includes a NetWizard setup utility to auto-discover network applications to determine which protocols affect performance and which should be managed. Then you use the QoS Policy Form to define QoS attributes for the desired policies. Finally, minimum and maximum percentages of bandwidth are assigned and traffic is prioritized from 1 to 10.

The family of products comprises a hardware/software platform, which monitors/reports on bandwidth and the packet loss of VoIP sessions. VoIP performance is improved by controlling jitter and bandwidth allocation using NetEnforcer’s Traffic Monitor, which refines established policies to maintain maximum network control and application performance.

www.allot.comNetEnforcer Cost: $3,500 to $14,000, depending on link bandwidthCategory: Bandwidth management system

AppDancer Networks – AppDancer/FA

AppDancer/FA (Flow Analyzer) is a VoIP and network application monitor and analysis tool. This software product monitors network devices and various applications, including VoIP, and all associated IP flows. It provides a detailed, yet easily navigable view of the inner- and inter-workings of many network applications. VoIP activity can be viewed at the call-control level – H.323 and Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) are both supported – as well as at the Real-time Transport Protocol (RTP) “stream” level. The software runs on Microsoft platforms including Windows 2000 Professional, NT 4.0 SP6, and XP workstation.

www.appdancer.comAppDancer/FA Cost: $5,000Category: Network protocol-analysis software

Empirix – Hammer family of test and analysis tools

The Hammer Voice Quality Server and Test Suite provides quality assessment of multiple-DS-3 volumes of VoIP traffic. The Hammer ST (signaling test) system exercises and analyzes VoIP and telephony signaling protocols, including Secure Signaling 7. The Hammer PacketSphere can emulate all network conditions and impairments that affect VoIP’s QoS. RealStreamer is a software package that runs on the PacketSphere and lets network planners generate up to 15,000 SIP-based VoIP calls, each with RTP streams.

www.empirix.comCost: $30,000 to $80,000 for average platform configurationsCategory: VoIP traffic generator, performance monitoring, protocol-analysis and testing

Hammer Voice Quality tester, Signaling Tester (ST), Hammer PacketSphere and RealStreamer application

Ipanema Technologies – Ipanema System

Ipanema System provides real-time, top-down service-level management and optimization in VoIP networks through measurement, capacity planning and optimization. Ip|boss is the central operating support system, which runs on a Solaris or Windows server. Ip|engines are discrete software/hardware appliances that automatically measure, and then optimize network and application performance.

www.ipanematech.comip|boss (ip|boss 10 through ip|boss 1000Sx) Cost: $7,000ip|engines (ip|e 10 through ip|e 1000Sx) Cost: from $1,300 to $35,000 Category: Network performance-monitoring and optimization hardware and software

Klos Technologies – PacketView Pro and Pro32

These two software products simultaneously collect packets from multiple LAN and/or WAN interfaces on multiple router or bridge interfaces, for assessment of local packet latency, bridge translation and routing performance. They provide relatively low-cost, one-way packet-latency analysis and identification of packet loss. PacketView Pro runs on a standard PC with DOS and packet drivers for each network interface; PacketView Pro32 runs on Windows 2000 or XP.

www.klos.comPacketView Pro Cost: Starts at $550PacketView Pro32 Cost: Starts at $1,000Category: Network performance-monitoring software

Micromuse – Netcool for Voice Over IP (NfVoIP)

NfVoIP, currently in its beta cycle, comprises Netcool/OMNIbus, Netcool/Impact, Netcool Reporter, Netcool/Webtop and Netcool/ISM. The product provides an end-to-end business-focused view of a company’s VoIP deployment. The first release of NfVoIP expected early next year is oriented towards VoIP management in Cisco IP-telephony environments, and runs on a generic, user-supplied Solaris platform.

www.micromuse.comNetcool for Voice Over IP Cost: $100,000 for about 500 phones (depending on number of Netcool components that are installed)Category: Network performance-monitoring and assessment tool

Network Instruments – Observer Series

The Observer product line offers protocol analysis, real-time statistics, packet capture/decode, expert analysis and long-term trending for LAN and WAN traffic, including VoIP. Observer for LANs (speeds up to 100M bit/sec) runs on a generic Intel-based platform, using standard LAN or wireless network interface cards. WAN Observer and Gigabit Observer require Network Instruments’ adapters and run on Win 2000 or XP based systems. Gigabit Observer requires a dual-processor system.

www.networkinstruments.comObserver 8.3 Cost: $1,000Expert Observer 8.3 Cost: $2,900Observer Suite 8.3 Cost: $4,000WAN Observer 8.3 Cost: starts at $6,000Gigabit Observer 8.3 Cost: starts at $8,000Category: Network protocol-analyzer software and adapters

Sitara Networks – QoSWorks, QoSArray and QoSDirector

A family of application-management products, which are used by companies to ensure that mission-critical and other response-time-sensitive applications – including VoIP and SAP – operate successfully over converged networks. QoSWorks and QoSArray are hardware platforms; QoSDirector software runs on a Sun Solaris server.

www.sitaranetworks.comQoSWorks Cost: $4,000 to $25,000, depending on link speedQoSArray Cost: $25,000 to $95,000, depending on link speedQosDirector Cost: $10,000 to $75,000, depending on link speedCategory: Bandwidth management system

Spirent Communications – Abacus2

Abacus2 is a call generator and switch simulator for exercising VoIP and TDM systems and networks. The system supports more than 20 million calls per hour, providing performance and quality analysis of voice communications. Graphical user interface software runs on a Win 2000 or higher PC. The system consists of chassis-based hardware modules, which run real-time firmware and software.

www.spirentcom.comAbacus2 (base subsystem w/ system controller) Cost: from $25,000 to $50,000Various firmware options Cost: from $2,000 to $36,000Category: VoIP traffic generator and switch simulator

Viola Networks – VoIP Evaluator, NetAlly OpSuite

The Viola VoIP Evaluator performs automated VoIP predeployment evaluations. It is a distributed software system that enables the VoIP-evaluation process to be conducted remotely and accomplished quickly. NetAlly is a network performance-verification and diagnostic tool, which conducts various active remote measurements. These are software products that run on Win 2000 or Solaris platforms.

www.violanetworks.comNetAlly Cost: from $25,000 to $200,000, depending on network sizeCategory: Network performance -monitoring software tools

WildPackets – EtherPeek NX

EtherPeek NX is a protocol analyzer designed to help network managers analyze increasing volumes of data by providing direct and succinct diagnoses of network and application problems. The software runs on any user-supplied Win 2000 or XP platform with 600 MHz or greater processor and 256M byte RAM. The product supports a large number of VoIP call-control protocols and identifies problems in real-time via green/yellow/red LEDs.

www.wildpackets.comEtherPeek NX Cost: $3,500Category: Network protocol-analysis software Back to main feature: Sizing up VoIP listening tools