Ready for VoIP: Network Management Architectures: RADCOM

RADCOM, Ltd., headquartered in Tel Aviv, Israel, is a member of the RAD
Group, 15 independent networking and telecommunications companies that develop,
manufacture and market solutions for diverse segments of the networking and
telecommunications industry.

RAD Group companies operate independently, without a holding company, but are
guided by RAD Group founders under a collective strategic umbrella. Companies
may cooperate in the development of their solutions, engage in joint marketing
activities, and benefit from a common management structure.

RADCOM, established in 1996, is a developer of network test and service
monitoring solutions for data communications and telecommunications
networks. The company’s organizational network includes over 70 distributors in
50 countries worldwide and nine manufacturer’s representatives across North
America.

RADCOM first made its mark in the industry as a leading protocol analyzer
vendor with extensive in-house core competencies in protocol stacks and
decoding. The company also had an innovative chipset and hardware design
dedicated to the unique requirements of monitoring and analysis.

In 2001, RADCOM leveraged these core competencies in the shift the company
made toward probe-based service monitoring solutions. RADCOM’s products are
deployed to facilitate the rollouts of next-generation (2.5G, 3G, and 3.5G)
cellular networks, IP Multimedia Subsystem (IMS), Voice over IP, and IPTV
technologies.

RADCOM’s VoIP monitoring solution addresses the many challenges of massive
deployment of VoIP technologies and services and the monitoring of voice
quality. VoIP and NGN networks are fairly complex, often involving network
elements from multiple vendors, technologies, and protocols across multiple
clouds. As a result, delivering voice services in such an environment is
challenging: Customers expect a very high grade of service; it’s not sufficient
to just have the technology work, as was often the case in the earlier years of
VoIP.

RADCOM’s Omni-Q solution is used for network-wide service
monitoring,
which is a relatively new field. The concepts of service
monitoring frequently include the traditional elements of fault and
performance management.

The objective of this discipline is to provide a new paradigm that makes
service providers better able to manage services on their network. The system
continuously collects, monitors, and analyzes the signaling, voice, and data
traffic flowing on the network. This gives service providers, ILECs, and
cable/MSOs complete visibility into the VoIP service running over the network,
enabling early-stage fault detection, pre-emptive maintenance and optimization,
and drill-down troubleshooting that leads to quick and easy fault
resolution.

Thus, the Omni-Q solution lets operators finally really see what their
network is doing, providing the entire user experience in both the signaling and
media planes, and further providing a correlation across the PSTN/SS7 domain and
the VoIP/NGN domains.

The eyes and ears of this architecture are the probes, small hardware
devices or embedded software routines that are placed at strategic points in the
network, and act as the eyes and ears of the human network manager. These probes
extract network performance and service delivery metrics across multiple
dimensions, and have the further ability to break that information down by
network element, letting the operator know which elements are performing better
or worse.

The probes are centrally managed by the Central Management Module, and
are remotely accessed by the Qconsole software, which can be installed on
any PC or laptop. All collected parameters are stored in an Oracle database for
use by the Qexpert web-based analysis and reporting tool.

The Omni-Q product line supports multiple network architectures, including
circuit-switched and packet-switched domains, cellular, IPTV, VoIP, and any of
the numerous next-generation network implementations including IMS.

RADCOM has developed a number of probes that provide specialized
functions.

The VoIP Probe supports three levels of monitoring and troubleshooting
capabilities. The first level includes detailed records of call performance
analysis (jitter, packet loss, MOS, etc.) A second level records detailed
session signaling information. And a third level can provide remote testing,
saving the cost of send a field engineer to the location.

The iProbe is a packet switched active probe, which supports a wide
variety of signaling protocols, including H.323 and SIP, and uses the Perceptual
Evaluation of Speech Quality (PESQ) to provide an automated, MOS-based objective
voice quality score.

The Cprobe provides end-to-end call quality measurements in the PSTN
environment, and determines voice service quality based on a number of active
test measurements including the line availability, quality degradation over
time, and the quality of network trunks.

The UQAN (User Quality Assurance Node) are low-cost hardware- or
software-based components that are deployed at the end-user premises and receive
test calls from the active probes. Results are then stored in the Omni-Q
database, and can also be used to generate alarms to the service provider’s
network operations center.

Further details on the RADCOM architecture and products can be found at http://radcom.com/. Our next tutorial will
continue our examination of vendors’ network management
architectures.

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