RonEK Communications: Network Monitoring Services

postheadericon Network Monitoring Services

How It Works

Diagram of Public Cloud

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The purpose of this service is to help IT Departments assess and monitor their existing – or pending – data infrastructure needs for VoIP/Video/Data readiness.  RonEK Communications monitoring services provides 24/7 monitoring with customizable email notification and granular reporting capability to find and resolve even the most stubborn of issues.

Basic Service

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Our basic service is “Outside-Looking-In” and is recommended for customers with three or less sites.  Our NOC will  look at an IP “target” on your LAN through the public network from one of our monitoring centers (currently in Houston and Los Angeles).     The target is usually a device like an IP capable PBX, IP phone or even a PC as long as it is not powered down during off hours.  Devices such as routers, data switches and network printers – while useful to some extent – usually do not make good targets as they will not always respond accurately to the type of test packets that we send.

The service requires ICMP packets to be forwarded to the target which the IT department should be able to do.  If there is no IT department, RonEK will be happy to program that for you.

After the target is

set up, a baseline is developed to determine how the connection is performing.  This process usually takes 2 to 3 business days to get a general feel for how the circuit behaves with and without traffic.  Once a baseline is established, a customized  “overlay” is configured to help match an IT department’s “needs” with the reality of what they have.  The overlay will indicate how often the customer’s circuit is “out of tolerance” for the project at hand.

Included in this service are several bandwidth metrics (capacity, availability and utilization) as well as jitter,  voice and data packet loss, MOS, latency and RTT (Round Trip Time).  Along with this, we also run DPA (Deep packet Analysis) tests if certain thresholds are crossed which give a wealth of detail about the routes their packets are using and their connection’s overall health.

Next Level Up

Inside Looking Out Graph

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Our next level of service is “Inside-Looking-Out” which is recommended for customers with multiple sites that are connected together through MPLS, Point to Point circuit or a meshed VPN.  Setup for this scenario requires the installation of software that operates as a service on a host (either Windows or Linux) and has an unrestricted view of the customer’s entire network (usually a server).  In the event that the IT department does not want anything installed on their servers, a Hardware Relay Appliance (HRA) can be installed.  The HRA is a “sequencer in a box” and functions just like a regular device on the customer’s network.  It is about the size of an AC adapter for a laptop computer and is equipped with a 1G NIC port.  For both sequencer methods, port 3239 (tcp/udp) needs to be forwarded to the device.

Typically in these environments, there is a main site that houses the application servers and satellite offices or remote users which connect to the main site by one or a combination of methods mentioned earlier.   It is also very common to have an IP PBX or Voice Server (think Asterisk) with a centralized voicemail that connects and interacts with users at each office continuously.  VoIP is extremely sensitive to network fluctuations and all too often, poor voice performance is blamed on faulty telecom equipment.  In only about 15% of the time is this the case.  More often, the problem resides with a piece of equipment “upstream” of the voice equipment such as a carrier’s edge router.  In either case, our diagnostics will identify the problem device(s) and arm you with a report that you can present to your provider.

Bar Graph - Voice Assessment Summary

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Predeployment Assessments

When it comes to rolling out a new VoIP or video applications, every hour spent on assessment and planning before the project is rolled out, saves 10 hours of work afterwards.  To avoid surprises about what your network will REALLY handle versus what your carrier may have told you,  it is recommended to take the time to run a few “stress tests” of the site in question before deploying a VoIP or video solution.  Using “synthetic” data traffic, RonEK can, for example,  simulate 1 to 201 concurrent VOIP calls  on a given circuit providing you with a clear idea of how your infrastructure will perform.  Several circuit assessment tests are available to measure performance using different compressions and QoS options.  These tests can be done “on the fly” or scheduled so as not to interfere with users during regular business hours.

And Finally ….

Our goal is to assist the IT department with enough information to know what to expect from their network before are getting into.  Too often, companies find themselves beyond the point of “roll back” when they realize their infrastructure is not going to handle their project.  With the right information, this can be avoided.

Feel free to divulge any and all information and reports with your carrier.  RonEK is also available to go to the carrier on your behalf in order to resolve technical issue.

For more information please email network.services@ronek.com or call us at (661) 251-9800 (California) or (281)-338-2950. (Texas)