Viola offers VOIP management, down to the desktop

Viola Networks this week launched a software package for managing an enterprise VOIP network, with tools that test and monitor IP phone connections and report on problem areas.

NetAlly Lifecycle Manager software is intended to help IT professionals avoid setbacks and delays in a VOIP rollout by exposing problem areas in a LAN or WAN before VOIP calls are brought onto the network, according to the vendor. After an IP telephony deployment goes live, the software acts as a monitoring and reporting tool to measure VOIP performance.

The software package runs on a central network manager's workstation, along with agents that can be deployed throughout a network, running on PCs or servers as a background task, or on dedicated machines. Agents on the network simulate VOIP calls by generating Real-Time Protocol (RTP) traffic, which is measured and monitored by the central workstation. NetAlly can gauge the call capacity of a LAN or WAN by measuring the simulated RTP calls and can identify trouble spots, such as misconfigured QoS settings or other parameters on routers, switches, gateways, firewalls and other gear. The software can also collect network data from Cisco routers running the IP SLA feature, which allows the devices to report network statistics to a centralized management application via SNMP.

The software can detect the audible quality of the simulated VOIP call with an algorithm that measures factors affecting the RTP traffic and converts the data into a mean opinion score, or MOS -- a telecommunications industry standard measurement for phone call sound quality.

After IP PBXs and gateways come online and phones are on desks, NetAlly Lifecycle Manager can be used to continually monitor IP phone call quality on the live VOIP network, the vendor says. The software can generate reports on trends in network bandwidth usage for VOIP and issue alerts if call quality decreases. The software also interoperates with management applications for Cisco CallManager and Mitel Enterprise Manager.

The software is available now, and pricing starts at US$25,000.

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