Ready for VoIP: Network Management Architectures: TamoSoft

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.


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.

Article courtesy of Enterprise VoIP
Planet
, © 2008 DigiNet Corporation, All Rights Reserved

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