Troubleshooting and monitoring your VoIP calls has never been easier!
Today is a big day for all who were waiting for a solution that will resolve VoIP quality and connection troubleshooting problems in their business. SolarWinds has just released VoIP & Network Quality Manager 4.0! This product is an evolution of SolarWinds IPSLA Manager and it adds support for real VoIP calls troubleshooting and monitoring.
If you are an existing IP SLA Manager customer under active maintenance, you can enjoy all of the new features of VNQM for no additional cost (you just need to update your license key within your customer portal. For those that would like to try out VNQM, you can download a free fully functional 30-day evaulation version. You should start your download now and in the meantime let’s take a closer look to all new features that it brings.
Those who were watching our “What we are working on” probably know what the new features are but for the others here is a list of the new functionality:
- VoIP calls troubleshooting based on CDR and CMR data.
- Multi-criteria filtering/searching and sorting based on Call Details Record (CDR) and Call Management Records (CMR) data e.g. “show me calls with the same reason code, same extension pattern, same time frame, same geography or termination reason code”.
- Automatic association of real VoIP calls with IPSLA operations in order to provide details about the call path and participating network hardware devices.
- Added support for Cisco Call Manager version 7.x and 8.x
- Better support for creating TCP operations in firewalled environment. This is mainly related to the case where you are trying to set up an IP SLA operation between an internal router and external device where traffic is going through a firewall.
How to troubleshoot my VoIP?
You don’t need to waste your time and collect CDR data manually from your call managers or even use non-intuitive and complicated vendor software in order to figure out where your problem is. VNQM 4.0 does everything for you! It’s a matter of few clicks to understand who was impacted by poor call quality connection or what switch or router causes problems.
See how easy it is with VoIP & Network Quality Manager:
Step #1 – Spend your time watching VoIP only when necessary!
VNQM brings VoIP summary pages and real-time CDR based alerts in order to notify you if something bad is happening within your VoIP network.
Step #2 – Find exactly what are you looking for!
Even if you have access to CDR/CMR data, it’s not easy to get information that would help you with a call troubleshooting. Those who have tried to do this know what I’m talking about. CDR files contain so much data and it may you take hours to find some clue that will help you. Even worse, CDR files don’t contain information about Region (location) so how do you know what sites facing troubles with calls? Does it means you need to spend hours checking logs, call managers and CDR files – especially in case when your boss says: “Fix it now!”?
Well if you are using VoIP & Network quality and Manager, then NO! VNQM 4.0 provides a comprehensive VoIP search solution. You can not only search by phone extension, IP address or call time but you can also search the calls by the region they are coming out from, or going to! This is extremely useful to find a right pattern and quickly figure out what happened, when it happened, and who is impacted by this issue.
In order to help you troubleshoot even more efficiently, we have pre-defined set of “Call Termination Causes” and “Redirect Reasons” so you don’t need to check Cisco admin guides to understand numeric codes!
You can do a search for failed calls or for calls just with a call quality issue (MOS, latency, jitter or Packet Loss).
The results of your search are displayed immediately below your search condition so no there is no “back & forth” effect when you are tracking VoIP calls issues.
Step #3 – Fix what needs to be fixed!
No “try & wait” approach! Just fix what needs to be fixed. After when you found your problematic call or pattern simply go to the call detail page and see what happened:
Using this page you will quickly see why the call failed, what CDR qualities metrics were or what call manager was involved when connecting the call. You can also see the call signaling flow and see all participants of a particular call and see call topology (normal call, conference call, etc.).
Now here is the great part. How do you see a call path? Easily, just create an IPSLA path operation that will be automatically displayed as part of call detail page depending on origin/destination regions. Regions are defined on call managers and VNQM offers you to pair your IPSLA capable device with CCM Region. IPSLA path operations can show you network devices that were involved in the communication between call origin and destination. It shows you network quality metrics like round trip time or latency also.
Now you can drill into more details about hardware device performance, availability and quality data as well as understand if this is device that causing VoIP issues.
As you can see, finding the switch or router that “produces choppy voice” was never easier! Now it’s just a question of a few minutes to check out this device and configure it properly. Or you can use NPM to get more details about such device.
And by the way, unlike its previous version (IP SLA Manager), VoIP & Network Quality Manager can run either integrated to NPM or standalone.
Once you identify network element you may use NCM to change CBQoS policies and prioritize traffic or you may use NTA and see Netflow data to block traffic that consumes too much bandwidth. Or you can just modify your routing tables and dedicate just one and best path for your site to site connection.
Step #4 – Let technology work for you!
OK, so now when you have fixed all the problems, how do you prevent them from happening again?
Let’s utilize Cisco IPSLA technology and your Cisco IOS devices to produce VoIP traffic and continuously monitor your sites. This will help you to see potential problems before users start complaining. You can use VNQM alerting to send emails or SMS when you have problems.
Stay tuned for more
As always, WE ARE LISTENING! And I can tell you that our DEV, QA and Designers teams are already working on next most wanted and useful features of VNQM based on the RC feedback we got from our community.
You can always share your ideas on our Thwack forum or even better – create an idea/feature request on our Ideation site. Also, you can talk to me directly!
You may find the “What do you need to know about call manager” blog post useful for an even faster setup of VNQM. This article contains additional technical information about Call Managers and their configurations.
Your VoIP & Network Quality Manager download should be finished so go ahead and install it. Installation will be finished in a few minutes.