VoWiFi Test Suite Launched

Software allows quick setup of repeatable testing schema that let techs determine the readiness of real-world IP data networks to support voice.

By Ted Stevenson | Posted Apr 18, 2005
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Portland, Oregon-based VeriWave Inc., makers of the WaveTest Traffic Generator/Performance Analyzer, today announced the availability of a new test tool that puts a network's voice-transport readiness and prioritization effectiveness under the microscope.

According to VeriWave vice president of marketing, Eran Karoly, what sets this product—the VeriWave VoIP over WLAN Analysis Test Suite—apart from others is that "it lets users run tests on real WLANs, using real phone-to-phone connections."

Simple interface
The software, which Karoly demonstrated via Internet link, lets the tester establish the brand (or brands) of handset to be used (the testing fabric is currently worked out for Cisco, SpectraLink, and Hitachi phones, with more to come); the extensions to be connected, the "flows," or specific extension-to-extension links, codecs (define) to be used, and the duration of the test run. With these parameters saved, a click of an interface button runs the session.

The typical testing scenario, as Karoly described it, consists of two access points on the network, each supporting x number of handsets, and each with a WaveTest unit, which, between them, not only track the departure and arrival of each voice packet, but also, if the particular test sequence calls for it, "injects" data traffic into the stream.

The pair of WaveTest units track jitter, latency, and packet loss between the two APs, and generate an "R-value," a session quality rating, calculated by formula, based on the three factors mentioned.

Real-world results
Karoly discussed the results of a recent testing session: "The maximum number of handsets we were able to run with an acceptable R rating was 16," he said. That, of course, translates to eight phone conversations, AP-to-AP. "All the phones were running 802.11b," because most handsets today only support 11b, he explained, "although on this test, we were running background data at .11a/g rates."

"In a test with a single AP—but no data traffic in the stream—we were able to run seven pairs of phones with acceptable quality," Karoly said. He also pointed out that none of the phones in these tests were running encryption more sophisticated than WEP, and that the prioritization schemes were proprietary in all cases.

"I've found that most of the training we've done is [showing customers] how to set up their handsets," said Karoly.

Target market
VeriWave anticipates three general categories of customers for the WaveTest and the VoIP over WLAN Test Suite. As you might expect, two of the groups are corporate IT staff involved in setting up VoWiFi networks, and carriers deploying VoIP services of various types. The third group mentioned by Karoly is sales staff for Wi-Fi infrastructure and VoWiFi handset vendors. The system lets them demonstrate the strengths of their product lines.

Aruba Networks is a VeriWave customer. The company cofounder and VP vice president of product management, Keerti Melkote, commented: "Aruba's success in servicing mixed voice and data solutions has recently been demonstrated at a number of managed services deployed worldwide. VeriWave's VoIP over WLAN Test Suite has proven to be a most reliable and precise test tool to qualify our offering in real-world conditions."

Pricing for the WaveTest starts at $28,995; pricing for the Test Suite on request from VeriWave.

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