Tuning Networks to the VoIP Channel

Lost in the shuffle of — yawn — “top VoIP predictions for 2007” was an announcement today by Santa Clara, CA-based startup Packet Island about its new “plug and play” PacketSmart solution for VoIP-specific network assessment and monitoring. PacketSmart combines a 4” x 4.5” monitoring “micro-appliance” with on-demand network monitoring and management software.

Now, individually, none of these components are unique. Nothing to make the pulse race like, say, video on the Net.

What makes PacketSmart interesting is how it brings the pieces together in a solution that adds up for service providers to fewer truck rolls and lower cost.

First, it marries network management appliances — reducing their size into the bargain — and provides on-demand network management applications that can be accessed via the Internet from a Web browser (no installation required). Then the whole package is tuned for the needs of VoIP.

“Deploying VoIP over pre-existing data networks is a big challenge that many of our VoIP service provider and VAR customers face today,” said Praveen Kumar, Packet Island co-founder and president in today’s press release.

“Troubleshooting VoIP quality problems adds even more complexity to this challenge, because of the need to understand the SMB customer’s internal network. Since our micro-appliance is essential in this troubleshooting process, we’ve taken extra effort to make it easily deployable in a vast variety of SMB network configurations.”

Packet Island also offers an Asterisk version of PacketSmart, which was released in Oct. 2006. Stay tuned for more insight into that.