Network management specialist, Concord, has released the latest version of its eHealth suite, containing a module to manage VoIP traffic. The company has worked with Cisco to introduce management tools for CallManager, although the company will be introducing modules for Nortel and Aveya PBXs in the new year. Version 5.6.5 has already been launched in the US and is now being introduced to Europe.

Concord principal consultant, Andy Waterhouse said that there was a growing interest in using VoIP. “We had a conference and asked our UK users if they were interested in the technology, about half of them said they were but they also said the current tools were inadequate.” The Concord approach has been to give an indication where problems were likely to occur, rather than waiting for things to break, added Waterhouse. He said that companies would have to get used to managing VoIP more pro-actively.

Up until now, enterprises looking to introduce VoIP over their networks have not had the tools to manage the technology. “There were some tools from the soft PBX vendors,” said Waterhouse, “but there they were based on the principle of ‘if it’s broken, we’ll show how it’s broken’ rather than that of what’s going to happen.

One of the criticisms of VoIP in the past has been that of poor voice quality. Although this aspect of the technology has improved in the past few years, some managers still have a question mark about the viability of VoIP to a business. The new eHealth module contains Voice Quality Monitor to assess the quality of voice traffic; it measures factors such as jitter, delay and packet loss and provides metrics in the form of mean opinion scores (MOS).

Concord claimed that the new module would be of interest to IT managers and financial managers and that it had been designed so both groups could use it.

The company is in the throes of rapid expansion. It recently acquired NetViz and has just had a bond issue to raise funds for another acquisition, although Waterhouse refused to name the target.