Healthy VoIP Nets�Part XXXI�Network Management Architectures: TamoSoft

This New Zealand company's products are relatively inexpensive and have a shallow learning curve

By Mark A. Miller | Posted Jun 24, 2008
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Founded in 1998 as the software division of a Cyprus-based business consulting company, TamoSoft is a privately held company based in Christchurch, New Zealand.

TamoSoft delivers network monitoring and security solutions to both large and small business in over 100 countries, with their products used by large enterprises including Cisco Systems, General Electric, Motorola, Nortel Networks, and Siemens. Defense and law enforcement organizations like the New Zealand Defense Force, the Netherlands Police, and the FBI and many others are also numbered among TamoSoft's customers.

The company's target markets include networking professionals, LAN/WLAN administrators, consultants, forensic experts, and programmers, and their products are supported by a worldwide network of business partners and resellers.

TamoSoft’s flagship product, CommView, is a network monitor and analyzer—designed for LAN administrators, security professionals, and network programmers—that provides a full picture of the traffic flowing through a PC or LAN segment. It is designed to help network professionals maintain efficient network data transmission, deploy LANs and WLANs, test firewalls and intrusion detection systems, and identify problems with network-based applications.

This PC-based application captures every packet on the Ethernet wire (or dial-up connection) and displays key information including a list of packet and network connections, vital statistics, protocol distribution charts, and so on.

CommView supports over 70 different protocols, and allow the user to see the details of a captured packet using a convenient tree-like structure, displaying protocol layers and packet headers (see Figure 1). The GUI is available in English, German, Spanish, Russian, and Japanese.

TamoSoft recently announced the availability of the latest versions of these products: CommView 6.0 for Wired Networks and CommView 6.0 for Wi-Fi, which supports wireless 802.11 a/b/g/n networks. These systems run on Windows 2000/XP/2003/Vista PCs, having a minimum configuration that includes a 1.6 GHz processor and 128 MB of RAM.

These newest CommView versions integrate a VoIP analyzer for real-time capture and analysis of Internet telephony events such as call flow, signaling sessions, registrations, media streams, errors, and so on. By visualizing this data and assessing voice quality, this tool helps the network manager boost productivity in debugging VoIP and VoFi networks, software, and hardware. CommView's VoIP analyzer supports SIP 2.0 and H.323 signaling protocols and RTP 2.0 media streams. The wireless version of the product fully supports packet capturing and analysis in draft 802.11n WLANs.

One of the interesting features of the analyzer is its ability to reconstruct data streams, providing the user with easy-to-read information on both current and past sessions between different network hosts. For example, a call session between SIP-enabled devices can be summarized by the key functions (INVITE, RINGING, ACK, BYE, and so on), with the specific contents of a particular message available for further analysis as needed (see Figure 2).

Details of the call information are also available, including the source and destination, start and end times, calling and called parties, and call quality, which include the Mean Opinion Score (MOS) and R-factor values (see Figure 3).

The system also includes extensive graphing and charting capabilities, which allow the user to better understand the quality problems that might affect the VoIP network, including packet loss, sequence errors, jitter, or bandwidth issues (see Figure 4).

The CommView Remote Agent is an optional remote LAN probe that allows CommView users to capture network traffic on any computer where the Remote Agent is running, regardless of that computer’s physical location. The only requirement is a TCP connection between the Remote Agent and the PC running CommView.

Perhaps TamoSoft’s strong suit is that CommView and CommView for WiFi are plug-and-play products. There is no long learning curve; you just install the application, connect your computer to a point with good network visibility (such as a mirror port of a switch or gateway computer) in the case of CommView or simply put your Wi-Fi-equipped notebook next your 802.11 access point for CommView for WiFi, and start capturing packets. The analyzer automatically does the real-time analysis for you.

TamoSoft has also positioned its products to be very affordable, with a price point of less than $1,000 in the U.S. and Canada, and a 30-day trial version available for download.

Further details on the TamoSoft architecture and products can be found at www.tamosoft.com. Our next tutorial will continue our examination of vendors’ network management architectures.

Copyright Acknowledgement: © 2008 DigiNet Corporation ®, All Rights Reserved


Author's Biography
Mark A. Miller, P.E., is President of DigiNet Corporation®, a Denver-based consulting engineering firm. He is the author of many books on networking technologies, including Voice over IP Technologies, and Internet Technologies Handbook, both published by John Wiley & Sons.

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