Healthy VoIP Nets�Part XLIV�Network Management Architectures: NetSymphony

NetSymphony Corp., with headquarters in Raleigh, North Carolina, is a startup founded in 2007, and a subsidiary of Datameg Corporation, a diversified holding company with subsidiaries in the technology industry and in food packaging products.

NetSymphony’s first product, the Maestro system, is a VoIP service assurance system with five primary goals:

  • providing value across the entire VoIP deployment and management life cycle
  • a system that can be deployed to the smallest enterprise business customer, yet scale to handle major carriers
  • a small network probe capable of performing both active tests with end-to-end measurements and protocol- and packet-level analysis on each active test call
  • packaging this probe such that it can be shipped to a business customer’s site, plugged in and immediately begin generating active VoIP test calls
  • addressing the requirements for evolution to IMS networks

The Maestro system targets the business VoIP market, including enterprises, existing service providers, and emerging next-generation ITSPs

The Maestro system provides valuable functions in three major network management areas: system assessment; network assurance and service level agreement monitoring; plus fault isolation and troubleshooting.

The system consists of two key components: remote probes that are deployed at strategic network locations, and a centralized server that compiles information on network operations.

Two types of probes are available:

The M10P Probe is claimed to be the smallest in the industry (see image, below), and can be mailed to customers to avoid truck rolls. This probe includes a RJ-45 10/100Base-T interface, and supports both SIP and RTP protocols. It provides active test and passive packet monitoring capabilities on up to eight endpoints, and automatically begins testing when plugged in, with no configuration required.

NetSymphony's M10P probe
NetSymphony’s M10P probe
the industry’s smallest

The M100P Probe is provided with a rack mount chassis, and can monitor up to 100 endpoints. These distributed probes are deployed at user-defined measurement points, and allow network operators to manage their customer’s quality of experience, from initial deployment through and including ongoing network operations, thus ensuring continuing high quality, voice services.

The probes automatically connect to the Maestro Server when they are plugged into the remote network segment, replicating a customer’s call to measure the end-to-end user experience across networks and administrative boundaries.

Examples of call analysis scenarios that can be examined include:

  • testing SIP call setups across a WAN and its associated components such as LANs, routers, and SIP call servers
  • testing IP-to-IP voice quality on an end-to-end basis, analyzing the link between two probes that are geographically dispersed across the network
  • testing analog endpoint-to-IP gateway call setups, including the interactions with the SIP Call Server
  • testing IP to analog voice quality, measured between an analog endpoint and an IP endpoint via a VoIP gateway

The Maestro system can be used for three key areas of network operations.

In the pre-deployment phase, the system can qualify customer network and network access readiness, qualify provider’s network quality and availability; qualify handoffs between networks; and establish customer quality of experience (QoE) benchmarks.

After network deployment, the system can assist with periodic benchmarking or continuous monitoring of service level agreements and collect data for trending, analysis, and support of fault isolation.

If problems do occur, the system is capable of fault isolation and troubleshooting, including isolation across dissimilar technologies and networks; monitoring the attached networks to avoid multi-vendor finger pointing; and proactively detecting failures that can alert based upon pre-established network operational criteria.

According to NetSymphony representatives, the Maestro system is especially suited for use in deployment scenarios where network managers have struggled to get their systems into service and operating cleanly and consistently. In some cases, routers are not friendly to voice, and distortion problems can occur when calls go outside the enterprise. The probe replicates a customer’s call and is able to measure the end-to-end user experience across networks and administrative boundaries. Information is thus provided to the server to determine where and what problem exists.

NetSymphony also offers a unique sales approach. Customers can take advantage of the technology either by subscribing to assessment, monitoring, and troubleshooting services through NetSymphony’s VoIP Deployment and Quality Management Services, or by purchasing their own complete Maestro systems outright for integration into their existing infrastructure.

Further details on the NetSymphony architecture and products can be found at 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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