Packet Island has announced a four-inch by four-and-a-half-inch appliance that plugs into a network and continuously collects and monitors every data packet in real time for Voice over IP quality of service.

The initial solution from the SaaS (Software as a Service) vendor manages all stages of a VoIP service from pre-assessing a network for VOIP readiness to VoIP deployment verification, SLA (Service Level Agreement) monitoring and VOIP troubleshooting.

Packet Island's PacketSmart will include fail-safe operation during a blackout, ability to work with mirrored switch ports, VLAN support, and an LCD display for troubleshooting.

The traditional way of managing networks, using SNMP agents to poll network devices every five seconds to determine whether there is a network problem will not do on a converged network that combines voice, video and data on a single pipe, according to Praveen Kumar, co-founder and president of Packet Island.

"You need to do real time monitoring to look at every packet to understand jitter, latency and packet loss," Kumar said.

With thousands of packets going through a converged network every second, devices need to continuously collect data, Kumar said.

"And with a distributed network it doesn't make sense to put HP Open View in every network. From a management perspective you would need an IT person at every site."

While Packet Island is targeting the SMB market, companies such as Avaya, which target the largest enterprises, have said they are working on deploying real-time performance management devices within handsets and VOIP PBX systems.