/>
X

VoIP Drives Demand for Better Network Testing

Voice over IP (VoIP) demands a greater emphasis on the pre-deployment testing phase of the technology rollout. Whether managing a roll out in-house, using a service provider or equipment manufacturer, enterprises need a more stringent pre-deployment and testing process for successful VoIP deployments.
zd-defaultauthor-george-hamilton.jpg
Written by George Hamilton on

Voice over IP (VoIP) demands a greater emphasis on the pre-deployment testing phase of the technology rollout. Whether managing a roll out in-house, using a service provider or equipment manufacturer, enterprises need a more stringent pre-deployment and testing process for successful VoIP deployments. This creates an opportunity for testing equipment manufacturers with solid skills in VoIP and PSTN testing capabilities.

During the dot-com boom, pre-deployment testing was often cut short or eliminated to meet time-to-market demands. Network managers would deploy new equipment live and tune the network on the fly. For data applications such as e-mail that were not time-sensitive, this approach, although not ideal, didn’t result in serious problems. However, this approach is not acceptable for VoIP. VoIP traffic is too sensitive to the characteristics of IP networks to be deployed haphazardly. Enterprise network managers should confirm that their IP network will support voice traffic before moving from the lab to production.

Trend Analysis
Testing equipment manufacturers will see increased demand from the enterprise channel, which includes service providers and network equipment manufacturers (NEM). The majority of enterprises are managing VoIP internally because most deployments are in the lab and administrators want complete control of the lab environment. As enterprises consider production implementations, they will seek assistance from an equipment vendor or a service provider for a successful rollout. Consequently, the NEMs and service providers will need strong pre-deployment and testing capabilities. This requires a solid lifecycle approach to professional and managed services—and the right tools to support it.

Testing-equipment manufacturers that saw their sales flatten during the telecommunications industry slowdown are beginning to see a pickup in demand. Both enterprises and NEMs that need to guarantee performance, compatibility and standards compliance will drive increased demand for network testing tools. Testing-equipment manufacturers could see revenue increase 10 percent annually in the next 3 to 5 years.

Vendor Recommendations

  • To appeal to the enterprise channel, leading testing equipment manufacturers, such as Spirent, Empirix and Inet, should focus on service, training and certification programs. They should brand their certification programs and offer skills assessments so NEMs and systems integrators are aware of their skill gaps and how certification creates value. This builds a loyal customer base and creates a talent pool of engineers skilled in their particular testing platform.
  • NEMs should offer a lifecycle service approach for their service provider and enterprise customers. NEMs have offered professional services in an ad hoc manner—in many cases not charging for the services. By delivering a lifecycle approach such as PDIOO (plan, design, implement, operate, optimize) and clearly delineating between bundled service and enhanced professional services, they can increase their value to their customer and increase service revenue.
  • Systems integrators and service providers should focus on service assurance. By implementing a lifecycle approach and implementing leading testing tools and methodologies, systems integrators will be a key channel. Their managed services and pre-deployment skills will give enterprise network managers the confidence to move VoIP out of the lab and into production.
Enterprise Recommendations
  • Determine your future deployment model. Most enterprises that have deployed VoIP manage it internally. Deciding on whether to use a systems integrator, NEM or hosted solution for a production environment is the necessary first step in understanding management requirements.
  • Adopt a PDIOO process for technology implementations. Tuning on the fly is not acceptable for real-time applications. The risks of failure are greater and the costs are higher. Adopt the PDIOO process internally and mandate that your channel vendors follow suit.
  • Make service assurance a priority. Most network managers are comfortable with their fault and performance management tools. However, VoIP requires a focus on service assurance. This means actively testing the network and endpoints regularly to ensure that they work. Passive monitoring is not enough. Service assurance alerts voice network systems administrators that phones and network links are working—even when not in use. This is something voice administrators have always understood. Now network managers need to make it a priority.
The Yankee Group originally published this article on 9 February 2004.


Related

Apple politely explains why iPhone cases are a waste of money
Apple iPhone 13 Pro Max

Apple politely explains why iPhone cases are a waste of money

Apple
The 8 best iPhone models of 2022
iphone-12-models.png

The 8 best iPhone models of 2022

iPhone
Delta Air Lines just made a callous admission that customers may find galling
screen-shot-2022-07-18-at-5-18-46-pm.png

Delta Air Lines just made a callous admission that customers may find galling

Business