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VoIP Management: A Conversation With Qovia's Richard Tworek

After a decade of effort, VoIP is going mainstream at both the enterprise and service provider level. The question is no longer when it should be deployed, but rather how it can be rolled out to support mission critical applications today. So just how should network execs manage and monitor this brave new world? Networking Pipeline reached out to Qovia's CEO and founder, Richard Tworek to get a perspective on this issue.

Networking Pipeline What are the unique challenges associated with managing and monitoring VoIP networking environments? I mean, how does it contrast with more traditional networking environments?

Richard Tworek There are a couple of myths out there when it comes to VoIP. One is that VoIP networks, like old phone systems, run themselves. The second is that monitoring and management tools that were designed for data networks can be used to manage VoIP networks.

First, unlike traditional phone systems, where a copper connection ensured reliability, a VoIP network is much more like a data network. It requires "care and feeding" to keep it running at optimum capability. A VoIP network can easily achieve the same "5 9's" reliability as a traditional phone system if it is properly managed. In addition, it has to be managed for more than simple Quality of Service (ie packet loss, latency, jitter, etc.). A VoIP network needs to be managed for reliability; it needs certain emergency service capabilities; QoS management; operational tools; and Security. And all need to be
designed for VoIP.

Which brings us to the second point, which is that: VoIP networks are not like traditional data networks -- in that timing is much more critical. Data networks are designed to compensate for lost packets and with bottlenecks. And if your e-mail is 5 seconds late, it's irrelevant. But with VoIP, 30/1000ths of a second is critical and if packets are off by this much time, you get call quality issues. In addition, anyone -- from the CEO to the janitor -- can detect call quality issues because the call echoes or breaks up or sounds hollow. So tools that are designed for data networks simply aren't robust enough to manage a VoIP network. And it isn't enough to add some additional code to create a "me too" VoIP management capability. You need to be designed-from-the-ground-up for

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