SDN Is Like “A Road Trip Without A Map”

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Software-defined networking, Unified Communications assessed in Network Instruments’ seventh annual survey

A good map is essential whenever you want to travel uncharted territory. But many network professionals compare their foray into software-defined networking (SDN) to going on a trip with no map at all. And their uncertainty shows.

The 241 network professionals surveyed for Network Instruments’ seventh annual “State of the Network” delivered an earful about SDN, Unified Communications, organizational bandwidth, 40 Gb adoption, BYOD and more. This year’s survey, which NI published on Monday, provides a detailed snapshot of how network managers and engineers view their main challenges.

While 12 per cent of respondents regard SDN as critical, the rest seem divided on just how important it is. Eighty per cent say it’s unimportant or that they’re just waiting for the hype to die down.

Forty per cent say SDN can’t be defined at all, but about a third figure it can be defined as “Automated Provisioning of Network Resources.” One in five of organizations surveyed plans to have SDN rolled out by the end of the year.

The top drivers behind SDN adoption are the need to improve the network’s ability to dynamically adapt to changing business demands (48 percent) and to deliver new services faster (40 percent). Others indicated lowering operating expenses, decreasing capital expenses, improving the ability to provision network infrastructure, and designing more realistic network infrastructures as motivators.

While network departments are investigating and adopting SDN and 40 Gb Ethernet networks cautiously, technologies such as Unified Communications UC and Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) are approaching the threshold of mainstream adoption, with more than 50 percent implementation slated by year’s end.

Network bandwidth is booming. By 2015, 25 percent of organizations expect their bandwidth demand to grow by between 51 percent and 100 percent. Twelve per cent predict growth of more than 100 percent. By the end of next year a quarter of organizations will have implemented 40 Gb data rates in their enterprise networks.

As applications and networks grow in complexity, the ability to resolve performance problems degrades. Seventy-four percent of respondents said their biggest application troubleshooting challenge was finding out whether the source of network performance problems was the network, the system or the application. That’s a six per cent rise over last year’s results.

UC apps, notably videoconferencing, have hit the big time. Two-thirds of respondents have implemented videoconferencing this year’ only a quarter had done so in 2009. Seventy-one per cent have now deployed voice-over-IP (VoIP), compared to 45 per cent in 2009, and nearly half use instant messaging, while only 27 per cent had done so in 2009.

Still, the end-user experience with UC is unclear to network management, with adoption of application monitoring proving to be very slow. Over half said lack of visibility into the user’s UC experience was their top UC management challenge. Difficulty assessing bandwidth usage was a problem for 39 percent, and an inability to assess UC deployment impact was a challenge for 38 percent of respondents.

“As with any emerging technology, IT management is grappling over the definition of SDN, as well as its benefit and importance to the organization,” said Brad Reinboldt, manager of Product Marketing for Network Instruments.

“As network professionals come to terms with SDN and its relevance, they continue to juggle multiple major initiatives including Big Data, UC, BYOD and 40 Gb deployment. As IT continues to roll out bandwidth-hungry applications to keep pace with the needs of a global, mobile workforce, they lag in the visibility and troubleshooting technologies needed to monitor their burgeoning networks.”

Thanks to IT World Canada for the article.

 

Wind Blowing Hot In Customer Growth Terms, But Vimpelcom Ready To Storm Out

Canada’s Globalive Wireless (Wind Mobile) acquired over 100,000 net new mobile users in the twelve months to the end of March 2014, including 26,000 added in January-March, to end Q1 with a total of 702,000 customers, of which more than 55% were post-paid. The performance compares well with Canada’s three large national mobile operators, Rogers (which lost a net 71,000 wireless users in the first three months of 2014, while gaining 56,000 year-on-year), Bell (minus 16,000 quarter-on-quarter, up by 90,000 in a year) and Telus (up 11,000 in Q1, up 115,000 in twelve months), albeit Wind has significantly lower ARPU and post-paid subscriber percentage than all three incumbents. Meanwhile, TeleGeography estimates that similar-sized cellular operator Videotron added around 25,000 net mobile customers in the quarter and about 107,000 in a year for a total of approximately 528,000 at 31 March.

Despite Wind’s promising growth statistics, parent Vimpelcom – which owns its indirect majority equity stake via Egypt-based Global Telecom Holding (GTH) – is impatient to exit Canada, as the government has blocked the Russian-backed group from taking voting control of Wind for unspecified reasons, while on the other hand preventing any of the three nationwide operators from acquiring the cellco under federal spectrum trading policy. GTH has fully impaired its assets in Canada (by USD619 million), due to the ‘challenges’ the company is facing in the country, and ‘the lack of clarity’ on the best course of action regarding spectrum acquisitions needed to achieve long term growth (which caused it to abstain from the recent 700MHz 4G auction). Rumoured interest in Wind from US giant Verizon also came to nothing, and re-investment from original Egyptian financial backer Naguib Sawiris is unlikely after Ottawa blocked his takeover of nationwide business network operator Allstream for reasons related to ‘national security’ (following which the tycoon said he was ‘finished’ with Canada). Bloomberg quotes Vimpelcom’s CEO Jo Lunder as saying it is looking to either sell Wind or ‘swap it’ for a stake in a ‘larger operator’ in Canada; this statement could be a reference to a potential merger with quadruple-play cableco Videotron, which has acquired 700MHz licences covering three provinces allowing it to expand its mobile network outside home market Quebec, although the Quebecor subsidiary is yet to decide whether to press ahead with expansion or to stockpile the frequencies for future sale.

Thanks to TeleGeography for the article.

Ixia Advances Network Visibility with Real-Time Network and Application Intelligence

New Application and Threat Intelligence Processor delivers smart contextual metadata to monitoring tools enabling customers to make better decisions

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Ixia introduced its Application and Threat Intelligence (ATI) Processor, which enhances the network, application and security insights IT organizations get from their existing monitoring tools.

This is the first product of its kind and provides Ixia’s Visibility Architecture with the ability to provide real-time information about users and applications in any format needed – raw packets, filtered packets or metadata. With the number of valid and malicious applications rapidly increasing, this unprecedented visibility intelligence helps IT organizations within large enterprises and service providers to identify, locate and track network applications – including proprietary, mobile and malicious traffic.

News highlights

Ixia’s new ATI Processor for the NTO 7300 brings a new level of intelligence to the network packet broker. Distinct Application Fingerprints and a patent pending dynamic identification capability for unknown applications give network managers a complete view of their networks, including application success and failure tracking. By combining rich contextual information such as geo-location of application usage, handset or device type, operating system and browser type, the ATI Processor helps to identify suspicious activity such as unauthorized BYOD usage or business connections from untrusted locations.

Ixia customers can now leverage their monitoring tools in conjunction with the enhanced information provided by the ATI Processor to spot trends in application usage, user behavior and quality of service with more speed and accuracy. This unique insight can also resolve security concerns such as rapidly spotting Command and Control (CnC) traffic from infected systems and policy infractions from BYOD usage. Previously, IT administrators would have to piece together many independent streams of information in a tedious and error-prone process.

The ATI Processor is backed by the same industry-leading ATI program that fuels Ixia’s test equipment, which includes more than 245 applications and 35,000 malicious attacks and combines frequent Application Fingerprint updates with support of user-defined applications. The specialized hardware employed in the ATI Processor optimizes visibility performance by offloading DPI and metadata extraction, improving tool performance and delivering richer insight into network usage, problems and trends. This functionality delivers greater overall value to our customers.

ATI Processor features include:

  • Dynamic application intelligence capabilities to identify known, proprietary, and even unknown network applications.
  • Enhanced insight including geo-location, handset type, operating system, browser and other key user data.
  • Empirical data generation to identify bandwidth usage, trends and growth needs delivered via API or Ixia’s IxFlow extensions to NetFlow.

For more information watch the video describing the new ATI Processor.

Industry commentary

“The importance of understanding application performance, service quality and security integrity from the network perspective has been steadily rising in both enterprise and service provider settings,” said Jim Frey, EMA’s Vice President of Research, Network Management. “Such visibility is essential for timely assurance and protection of complex applications despite growing traffic volumes and increasing diversity in how end users and subscribers access applications and services. Options for DPI processing and identification at the packet access layer, such as Ixia’s new ATI Processor offering, means valuable flexibility for establishing and sustaining effective visibility.”

“Ixia’s ATI Processor takes the functionality and benefits of a network packet broker to a new level by providing WildPacket’s Network Analysis and Recorder appliances with not just packets, but rich data on applications, geography and users.” said Tim McCreery, president of WildPackets. “By offloading these vital CPU intensive tasks, WildPackets can provide even more real-time visibility into the entire network while recording high-speed traffic for advanced forensics. The joint solution allows customers faster troubleshooting, reduced time to resolution, and shorter network downtime.”

Thanks to Ixia for the article.

StableNet® Enterprise- Automated IT Management & Business Service Assurance

Infosim StableNet EnterpriseBusiness Critical IT

Current and reliable data is a crucial for making solid strategic and operational decisions. This data is the foundation for budgeting, forecasting, analyzing, reporting and lastly improving your business. Intelligent solutions are necessary to drive cost reduction, enhance resiliency and raise user experience. Solutions must work seamlessly across enterprises as well as business units.

Three Solutions – One software

StableNet® incorporates Fault Management, Performance Management and Configuration Management on a single platform. Not only this reduces the total costs of ownership (TCO), but also increases synergy effects between the three solutions, and it shortens the time to value and market.

StableNet® Enterprise provides end-to-end visibility into the IT infrastructure. This guarantees smooth and stable network operation. Bottlenecks can be localized and eliminated proactively so that link overload and connection losses can be avoided. This leads to an improvement of network efficiency and a reduction of costs at the same time.

Three Solutions – Various Applications

StableNet® provides game changing economics . It is a one-stop solution to virtually manage all needs of your organization:

  • Network Management
  • Server Management
  • Application Management
  • VoIP Management
  • Business Process Management
  • Report Management

StableNet® integrates Fault Management (FM), Performance Management (PM) and Configuration Management (CMBD) on one single platform. This innovation reduces capital and operational expenses. StableNet® Enterprise facilitates the optimal utilization of your network’s capacity at the highest possible level of stability. Infosim solutions integrate seamlessly into existing network management systems.

Real Time & Long Term Reports

StableNet® includes an advanced service level management (SLM) and reporting system for networks, servers and applications. This provides network operators the flexibility to collect and report the KPIs that are most important to them and their customers.

StableNet® runs 24/7 and identifies and reports on IT infrastructure performance and events on a real time basis. In addition, the software performs historical reporting to identify long-term trends.

  • Understand the quality of service provided to end users
  • Increase business revenue by reducing outages that directly affect business operations
  • Increase customer satisfaction and loyalty by ensuring that services used directly by consumers are responsive and available whenever required
  • Plan proactively to meet future business requirements including workload volumes and necessary service levels
  • Increase ROI on IT assets by balancing workloads and obtaining the highest levels of component utilization while still meeting service level requirements
  • Reduce or eliminate penalties associated with contractual commitments to meet specified service levels

StableNet® provides a highly flexible reporting engine. All reports can be fully customized to best meet specific requirements. A graphical report designer is included, which allows the creation of reports in simple point-and-click fashion. StableNet® supports PDF and HTML formats. Reports may be forwarded on schedule, i.e. with hourly/daily/weekly/monthly output or on-demand as desired.

SLA Reports

SLA reports document the network operator’s delivery against contractual obligations. They are often less detailed than performance reports and only show performance at the service layer; lower layer information such as the underlying transport network are usually not included.

Usage Reports

Usage reports show utilization, volume and throughput with baselines, top N, and trends. Going beyond monthly totals to provide time lines can help users understand peak and off-peak loads. In addition, it assists in sizing the network correctly to meet actual demands.

QoS Reports

QoS reports help the customer understand performance and usage per Class of Service (CoS). This is important in converged networks like IP based RANs. For best performance results QoS reports include information necessary for correct classification as well as application traffic tuning.

Root-Cause and Impact Management

StableNet® provides automatic root cause analysis (RCA) and service impact management for networks, systems and services. Hereby, engineers can focus on service-affecting events and prioritize them at the same time.

StableNet® uses a combination of threshold monitoring, SNMP trap processing and syslog processing to perform authentic problem analyses in real time. Events are correlated by the buit-in RCA subsystem without the need to write and update correlation rules. Alarm dashboards and notifications are enriched with business and service information. This provides NOC engineers with understandable and actionable information.

Extensive reporting capabilities provide invaluable data for network planners and network managers.

StableNet® integrates with existing management applications and 3rd party applications. For example, if a trouble ticket application is used to track problems and resolutions, StableNet® integrates with the application to open a trouble ticket upon failure detection and close it automatically upon clearance of the failure.

  • Correlates root cause events automatically without coding or updating rules
  • Enriches alarm information and dashboards with business impact information
  • Provisions alarm monitors for all relevant KPIs of all network assets automatically
  • Supports integration with SMS, pager, email, trouble ticket and script execution on alarm events
  • Provides best-in-class event reports and statistics
  • Provides a real-time status dashboard of all assets and services

Configuration Management

Accurate inventory is essential to any IT department. However, accurate inventory depends on a single trusted repository. StableNet®’s discovery capabilities have powerful and flexible tools that allow you to determine exactly what to be monitored, and how the sub-elements will be labelled and grouped. These capabilities make it possible to initiate automatic data collection, threshold monitoring and reporting on discovered elements.

StableNet® performs topology discovery in the managed network. During the discovery process each managed device is probed to determine its configuration and its relationship to other managed elements. StableNet® creates instances and dependency models with this information. This simplifies event correlation: there are no rules to be programmed and the event subsystem guarantees that critical problems are always identified.

The discovery automatically finds network devices and network topology. The discovery consists of two layers, the device discovery and the topology & network discovery.

The StableNet® activation module (AM) is an incorporated provisioning engine and a pluggable orchestration layer. The built-in provisioning module uses XML JOBs to create, read, update and delete (CRUD) configurations on networked elements. The pluggable orchestration layer gives users the flexibility to optimize the AM according to their project and site-specific particularities. The optimization can be of technical nature, relate to business processes or be budgetary.

The key benefits of device configuration XML JOBs is to allow the predefinition of JOBs for recurring tasks in XML format. The actual JOB may be configured with respective parameterization using a dynamically generated graphical user interface (GUI).

StableNet® & ITIL®

Businesses prioritize service delivery, support processes, and they define the appropriate workflow to gain competitive advantages. The standard guideline for this is ITIL®. Hence, StableNet® supports various ITIL® processes in the configuration management and service delivery sector.

The two critical core sectors of ITIL® are Service Support and Service Delivery. The first one, Service Support, focuses on daily operational management and support, and consists of these six processes:

  • Service/Help Desk
  • Incident Management
  • Problem Management
  • Configuration Management
  • Change Management and
  • Release Management

However, Service Delivery focuses on the delivery of IT services from a long-term perspective. The sector consists of the following five processes:

  • Service Level Management
  • IT Financial Management
  • Capacity Management
  • Continuity Management and
  • Availability Management

StableNet® Enterprise contributes to cost savings and increases your IT departments ability to respond to changes in the business environment efficiently by supporting ITIL® processes such as fault detection, reporting and performance monitoring. The table below shows ITIL® processes in comparison to the StableNet® Enterprise feature set.

Thanks to Infosim for the article.

Network Instruments Seventh Annual State of the Network Global Study

NI-state-of-the-network-2014Network Instruments, a business unit of JDSU (NASDAQ: JDSU), has released the results of its Seventh Annual State of the Network Global Study today. Highlighted in the survey taken by 241 network professionals is continuing uncertainty surrounding the emerging Software-Defined Networks (SDN), which many network administrators view as a “road trip without a map.” While 12 percent of network managers and engineers regard SDN as critical, the rest seem divided as to whether it is important at all, with more than 80 percent of respondents viewing SDN as “unimportant” or just wanting to “ride out the hype.”

What’s trending? The results suggest network teams are investigating and adopting emerging technologies like SDN and 40 Gigabit (Gb) Ethernet networks on a limited basis, while technologies such as Unified Communications (UC) and Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) are approaching the threshold of mainstream adoption, tipping in at more than 50 percent implementation by year’s end.

Study Highlights:

  • SDN is emerging in the Enterprise: One in five of the organizations surveyed plan to have deployed SDN by the end of 2014.
  • Network experts are having trouble defining SDN: Nearly 40 percent of respondents consider SDN to be undefinable.
  • Network bandwidth continues to surge: By 2015, 25 percent of organizations expect their bandwidth demand to grow between 51 percent to 100 percent, while 12 percent predict growth of more than 100 percent.
  • Growing 40 Gb Adoption: By 2015, 25 percent will have implemented 40 Gb data rates in their enterprise networks.
  • Unified Communications have gone mainstream: UC apps have gone mainstream, including videoconferencing, with 63 percent of respondents having implemented it in 2014 compared to only 25 percent in 2009.
  • User experiences with Unified Communications are unclear: More than 50 percent of respondents indicated a lack of visibility into the user experience as their top UC management challenge.
  • Application Angst: 74 percent cited their top application troubleshooting challenge is how to determine the root-cause of network performance problems.

“As with any emerging technology, IT management is grappling over the definition of SDN, as well as its benefit and importance to the organization,” said Brad Reinboldt, manager of Product Marketing for Network Instruments. “As network professionals come to terms with SDN and its relevance, they continue to juggle multiple major initiatives including Big Data, UC, BYOD and 40 Gb deployment. As IT continues to roll out bandwidth-hungry applications to keep pace with the needs of a global, mobile workforce, they lag in the visibility and troubleshooting technologies needed to monitor their burgeoning networks.”

Software Defined Networks

With a wide range of definitions for SDN, the top drivers behind SDN adoption were the need to improve the network’s ability to dynamically adapt to changing business demands (48 percent) and to deliver new services faster (40 percent). Others indicated lowering operating expenses, decreasing capital expenses, improving the ability to provision network infrastructure, and designing more realistic network infrastructures as reasons behind SDN deployment.

Unified Communications

Significant adoption of the many communication applications making up UC have occurred during the past five years as 71 percent have now deployed voice-over-IP (VoIP), compared to 45 percent in 2009. Likewise, 63 percent have rolled out videoconferencing compared to 27 percent in 2009. Nearly half now use instant messaging compared to only 27 percent in 2009.

While UC applications can now be considered mainstream, adoption of application monitoring lags behind. More than 50 percent of the participants indicated that lack of visibility into user experience was their top UC management challenge. This was followed by difficulties assessing bandwidth usage at 39 percent, and an inability to assess UC deployment impact by 38 percent of respondents.

Application Angst

In terms of organizational bandwidth demand, three-quarters of respondents expect increases of up to 50 percent in 2014. In 2015, this bandwidth surge continues unabated with one-quarter of respondents expecting demand to increase between 51 percent to 100 percent, and 12 percent of respondents forecasting their organization’s demand to exceed 100 percent. As applications and networks grow in complexity, the ability to resolve performance problems worsens: 74 percent indicated that their largest application troubleshooting challenge was isolating the source of the problem, a 6 percent rise over last year’s results.

State of the Network Global Study Background

The State of the Network Global Study has been conducted annually for seven years. This year, Network Instruments engaged 241 network professionals to understand and quantify new technology adoption trends and daily IT challenges. Respondents were asked, via a third-party web portal, to answer a series of questions on the impact, challenges, and benefits of SDN, UC, Big Data and Application Performance Management. The results were based on responses by network engineers, IT directors, and CIOs from around the globe. Responses were collected from January 10, 2014 to March 7, 2014.

Thanks to Network Instruments for the article.

Telus Boosts Revenue 5% In Q1; Announces Spending Plans

Canadian quadruple-play operator Telus reported a 4% year-on-year rise in net profit to CAD377 million (USD347 million) in Q1 2014, on consolidated quarterly revenues which increased by 5% to CAD2.9 billion. Telus also reported that it added a net 48,000 post-paid mobile subscribers in the three months ended 31 March 2014, which was lower than the 59,000 post-paid users added in 1Q13, but was a higher rate of customer acquisition than both of its nationwide cellular rivals Rogers and Bell. Telus’ fixed broadband net user additions reached 21,000 in the first quarter, 5,000 higher than the level of take-up a year earlier.

Telus has also reported this week that its consolidated capital expenditure (CAPEX) excluding the purchase of spectrum licences in 2014 will increase modestly to approximately CAD2.2 billion, as it continues investing in wireless capacity and mobile network expansion, alongside broadband infrastructure expansion and upgrades, including bringing fibre-optics deeper into the network, to support ‘Optik’ TV and high speed internet subscriber growth and faster connection speeds.

Of the total CAPEX, Telus will invest CAD1.2 billion across British Columbia in 2014 on projects including the rapid deployment of 700MHz LTE spectrum in rural and urban parts of the western province, to enhance 4G coverage which already reaches 90% of the provincial population, involving dozens of new wireless sites along remote highways. Telus will also connect thousands of homes and businesses in various British Columbia communities with higher-capacity internet and Optik TV. Telus also committed to spending a further CAD1.6 billion in British Columbia in the two-year period 2015-16.

In another regional rollout statement this week, Telus said that CAD640 million of 2014’s CAPEX would be spent across the province of Quebec. Projects this year for Quebec include connecting thousands of households to direct fibre-optic connections in Cap-Sante, Donnacona, Neuville, Pont Rouge, Rimouski, Saint-Apollinaire, Saint-Augustin-de-Desmaures, Saint-Georges and Sept-Iles. Another priority is expanding the 4G LTE network to over 80% of the Quebec population by the end of 2014 (involving utilisation of the 700MHz band). Telus also committed to spend a further CAD700 million in Quebec in 2015-16.

Thanks to TeleGeography for the article.

Ixia’s v7.8 Director and Director Pro Release Empowers Customers with More Flexibility and Security Controls

The Net Optics Director family of smart filtering appliances (Network Packet Brokers) directs traffic of interest to monitoring tools in order to relieve oversubscription, leverage tool investment across groups, and centralize monitoring in the NOC.

As part of the new Director 7.8 software release, we are introducing several new key features for the Director and Director Pro product lines:

  • Port behavior configuration options are enabled for customers: Previously, network ports were bi-directional, that is, they could transmit and receive, even when unidirectional communications were intended. In this release, users can choose whether a port is receive only (RX), transmit only (TX), or keep the default setting (both RX and TX). While not required, this allows customers to further strengthen their security best practices.
  • Syslog enhancements make the product more secure: An enhancement was made to the syslog messages to record histories of every configuration change made by users. Now you’ll know who, what, where, when and how changes were made. Users can enable audit logs by issuing a log set audit on command line. Refer to the Director CLI Guide for more information on this command.
  • Native IPv6 support: IPv6 support was enhanced to allow users to configure logging, NTP, upgrade server, and tunnel settings. This change affects the CLI, Web UI, and SNMP interfaces.
  • Pro engine settings added to the Web UI make it more flexible and easy to use: The Pro Engine feature was added to the Director’s Web UI. Previously, you could only configure the Pro Engine settings using Director’s CLI.

For more information, see this link: http://customer.netoptics.com/portal/login.asp

Additional Resources:

Ixia Director

Allstream Partners Cisco To Expand IP Fibre Capacity

Canadian all-business communications provider Allstream (part of MTS Allstream) has partnered Cisco Canada to add further capacity to its 30,000-plus kilometre national IP fibre-optic network, with the aim of adapting to ‘meet any customer needs’ and offer a larger range of IP communications solutions and services to Canadian businesses. Allstream will deploy a comprehensive IP Next Generation Network (NGN) built on Cisco’s latest technology which will help the company consolidate platforms, streamline its network and enable faster provisioning to customers.

Thanks to TeleGeography for the article. 

3 VoIP Monitoring Black Holes to Avoid

technology_black_hole_300x240When tracking user experience in Unified Communications (UC) applications, like VoIP and videoconferencing, the accuracy of analysis hinges upon your ability to capture, integrate, and analyze multiple data streams that make up a call session including:

  • Control management setup of the conversation
  • Audio and video streams traversing between the callers
  • Protocols used for managing the transfer of audio and video

The primary challenge is that network teams lack visibility into call traffic as it travels from the core to remote office locations and between callers. Typically when VoIP is deployed, setting up points of visibility and monitoring from the network perspective doesn’t receive serious consideration. Rather, network managers often rely on information pulled from the call managers and phones. The result is that they don’t have enough detail to accurately troubleshoot, and have to re-architect the network after the fact to obtain visibility.

To avoid this, as the VoIP network is being deployed, map out and configure the best points for viewing call data (such as the setup) and traffic, as well as aggregation points. Logical aggregation points will typically be in the datacenter at the core of the network. Additionally, understand how your specific system handles calls to best configure these points. Some VoIP solutions are phone-to-phone, where the RTP stream travels between the phones. With other systems like Avaya, the stream goes to a centralized media processor, which can serve as a natural point of aggregation.

Remote Office Communications

If you don’t have natural aggregation points or remote UC traffic isn’t being routed back to the core, look to obtain visibility at the locations where conversations are occurring. This can be achieved by placing probes or retrospective analysis appliances, like GigaStor, to view the traffic going between the call manager and stations involved in conversations. Also, probes can be deployed between stations in a remote office to view interactions between multiple systems.

Transferred Calls

An additional issue when monitoring UC involves tracking transferred calls. For example when a customer dials into a call center, they typically interact with voice-prompted menus. The call may then be routed to a different location based upon their request. Your monitoring system should be able to track the transfer of that call and where it is going. With GigaStor, network managers can utilize SIP Call Extract, which allows an engineer to enter the call “to” and “from” details, and automatically identifies all the streams that are a part of the call building a view of UC conversations for analysis.

Handling Same Building Calls

In the case of viewing traffic between calls within the same office, seeing more than the call setup can be a challenge. For example, you’re monitoring call activity in a multi-storied building. Each floor has its own access switch, and your primary capture point is located next to the call manager on the first floor. When two fourth-floor users are calling each other, you’d be able to see the setup but not the phone-to-phone communication. If you have visibility on the access switch, you could pull in those RTP streams. You’d then not only get the setup but see the interaction between the two callers. Using an aggregation switch like Matrix would allow you to get multiple points of visibility and feed it into one logical rule that gives you all the call information and detail.

By taking the time before deploying VoIP systems to understand how your system functions and intuitive points for collecting the call data and traffic, you can ensure you have full visibility for maintaining high call quality. This not only will keep troubleshooting times short, but also mean you won’t be forced to retrofit a monitoring strategy after the fact.

Thanks to Network Instruments for the article.

BCE’s First-Quarter Bottom Line Jumps 8.7%; 700MHz Expansion Ongoing

Telnet Networks Managing Network PerformanceCanadian telecoms group BCE, parent of Bell Canada and Bell Aliant, posted an 8.7% year-on-year improvement in net income in the first quarter of 2014, with profits reaching CAD615 million (USD561 million), up from CAD566 million in the same period of last year, attributed largely to consistent growth at the group’s wireless (Bell Mobility) division as well as the benefits of integrating the previously acquired Astral Media into its results. Total group revenues increased by 3.7% year-on-year to CAD5.099 billion in the three months ended 31 March 2014. Bell Aliant revenues fell by 1.2% y-o-y to CAD676 million in 1Q14 mainly due to the continued decline in traditional fixed line voice revenue. Post-quarter, BCE noted that following its win of 700MHz band spectrum licences, on 2 April 2014 Bell Mobility launched Canada’s first 700MHz LTE mobile services, initially covering Hamilton, employing lower C-block spectrum that ‘most Bell smartphones are compatible with’ (ahead of rival Rogers Communications’ 700MHz launch later that month). Bell has 700MHz spectrum in 31 national markets, which it is now using to expand 4G mobile broadband services to small towns, rural locations and Canada’s North, with an objective to deliver LTE to more than 98% of the population.

Thanks to TeleGeography for the article.