300 Million DSPs Can't Be Wrong

IP network QA assurance firm Brix strikes a deal with TI to gather data from the chips residing in its network endpoint products.

By Ted Stevenson | Posted Sep 21, 2006
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Massachusetts-based Brix Networks raised a few eyebrows last month when it essentially bad-mouthed the VoIP industry with a pronouncement to the effect that call quality was on the fade. Given that Brix is in the business of monitoring and analyzing network performance for real-time IP applications (like voice), raising the flag of concern was not totally out of line.

Brix's mission—to provide IP service providers and large enterprises with up-to-the-second "visualization and actionable information" on performance metrics, from network core to the end-point—rests on a combination of data-gathering and analysis capabilities. BrixWorx, the correlation and analysis software engine, crunches data—consisting of key performance indicators (KPI), such as jitter, packet loss, latency, etc.—provided by test and measurement points distributed throughout the network.

VoIPplanet.com met with folks from Brix at VON last week, where they shared the news that the company has struck a deal with Texas Instruments, whereby Brix will now embrace TI's PIQUA system, "to deliver pervasive IP endpoint service assurance management."

In essence, PIQUA software is built into TI's digital signal processing chips—chips that reside in "more than 350 million ports across IP phones, residential modems and gateways, set-top boxes, DSL and cable gateways," and other endpoints, according to Debbie Greenstreet, TI director of service provider strategy—and automates the gathering of IP performance metrics.

Brix has added a new BrixWorx Connector (interface) to make PIQUA-generated data available to the Correlation Engine, making the system capable of interacting with TI's enormous installed base of endpoint devices.

"Our customers are increasingly requesting a unified source of quality and IP performance management with visibility into their various endpoints," noted Brix director of solutions marketing, Robert Travis. "The Brix collaboration with IT offers a mechanism for customer satisfaction, service performance visibility, faster problem resolution, and overall efficiency improvement," he concluded.

Brix's analysis uses both passive monitoring of live (real) traffic and active tests of synthetic (system-generated) traffic to give a complete picture, or, again, as the company terms it, visibility.

Based on the overall Brix System monitoring indicators, network operators can make real-time adjustments to tweak performance glitches, head off expensive maintenance and repair issues, and prepare for deployment expansions.

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