WLAN administrators will get much needed help starting this week when AirMagnet uses Interop to unveil one of the first voice-over-WLAN analysis tools, VoFi Analyzer.
The Analyzer will monitor jitter or irregular delivery of voice packets, packet loss and over-subscribed access points which all make a voice over WLAN service highly problematical, according to Wade Williamson, product manager at AirMagnet.
In addition, a problem call can have its roots on the handset, in the network, in the IP PBX or on the AP itself.
"This is the first stand-alone analyser for voice that can track call quality and tell you specifically where the weak link is," Williamson said.
The Analyzer fills a large gap in network administration, according to Paul Stamp, a senior analyst with Forrester, pointing out that when enterprise-level companies began their big WLAN rollouts network administrators were not thinking about voice.
"Voice WLAN requires greater monitoring than standard WLAN deployments and it is for reasons other than security," Stamp said.
An additional challenge for voice-over-IP and voice over WLAN deployments in particular comes from the fact that companies haven't yet defined who in the company should have responsibility for voice over WLANs.
This uncertainty has been to some degree a gating factor in adding voice to a WLAN architecture. The push for the technology is coming from outside of IT but it typically ends up in IT’s lap, Williamson said.
"We wanted to create a packaged tool that IT understands," Williamson added.
The VoFi Analyzer includes an alerting feature that generates alarms designed to identify potential voice-specific WLAN problems such as quality of service issues, including insufficient bandwidth allocation for voice packets.
Real-time statistical analysis will allow viewers to analyze data on jitter and roaming.
Device analysis will map for administrators’ voice WLAN connections and separate it out from data WLAN connections.
Stamp said future products for WLAN administration will combine WLAN security and voice monitoring in one tool.