There is no question that VoIP traffic affects network bandwidth. But there are underlying questions to which network services providers absolutely need answers: To what degree and in what ways does VoIP affect their networks, and how can they can better manage their traffic?
Many of the answers should be provided by a new VoIP Services Assessment tool called CloudSentry VSA from CloudShield. CloudShield is a Sunnyvale, California-based deep-packet-inspection platform company.
CloudSentry VSA is aimed at large-scale VoIP service providers and claims to perform comprehensive VoIP traffic analysis that encompasses security concerns as well as service assessment.
Dan McBride, product marketing director at CloudShield explained that communications service providers are moving very quickly into VoIP, and instrumentation to monitor their own servicesas well as competing services from non-facilities-based VoIP providersis not necessarily in place.
"CloudSentry will give service providers a snapshot of what they do not currently know," McBride told VoIPplanet.com.
For example McBride noted that CloudSentry would let service providers identify what VoIP services are most in use on their networks, how the services are performing at different times of the day, and what attacks are being launched against their own infrastructures. In addition, CloudSentry identifies infrastructure vulnerabilities and "non-standard" usage patterns, which may not be known to the service provider.
"Active monitoring of the network can also help service providers protect revenues," McBride said. He recounted a story from one service provider customer that illustrated a real worry over users actively seeking to avoid agreed-to service charges. From a dual band (voice / data) handheld phone, a user who purchased the bare minimum phone service used a free-rider phone service to avoid burning phone minutes. The subscriber made two calls with the cell phone, and more than 75 using the IP connectivity of the handheld.
"Policies can be implemented with CloudShield solutions to detect this type of activity and alert operators," McBride commented.
CloudSentry VSA pricing starts at $40,000 per engagement.