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Test suite checks VoIP-over-WLANs

Posted: 26 Apr 2005 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:wireless local area network? wlan? wlan test? veriwave? voip?

Wireless local area network (WLAN) test vendor VeriWave announces what it bills as the industry's first realworld VoIP (voice over internet protocol) over WLAN test approach. The company's VoIP-over-WLAN Analysis Test Suite assesses voice-quality metrics of realworld VoIP over WLAN networks. Pricing starts at less than $29,000.

"This test suite lets equipment vendors, carriers, and enterprise users deploying wireless LANs to measure the real capability of such a network to handle the demanding requirements of corporate mission-critical networks," avows Eran Karoly, the company's VP of marketing.

In use, the system analyzes traffic prioritization, evaluates network behavior in the presence of non-voice traffic, and measures overall call quality when users roam between WLAN APs (Access Points).

Open-air testing

VeriWave claims its test suite is the only tool to provide open-air testing of mixed voice/data networks. It's also claimed to be the only tool to support a variety of real handsets to generate voice trafficscaling network capacity from just a single handset to the maximum number of handsets the network can support (before voice quality degrades to below user-acceptable levels).

The test suite also evaluates mixed-use networks. It does that by introducing precisely controlled data traffic, generated by VeriWave's WaveTest Traffic Generator/Performance Analyzer.

According to Karoly, the new VeriWave system will permit equipment vendors to debug and enhance traffic prioritization schemes and maximize voice call handling capabilities, without adversely affecting the end-user experience. "For those deploying, or planning to deploy a WLAN network offering mixed voice and data services, this suite is the first to compare and evaluate solutions from various vendors to assess overall user satisfaction before actual deployment," says Karoly.

The test suite uses VeriWave's WaveTest Traffic Generator/Performance Analyzer to capture all traffic on the WLAN medium. WaveTest then automatically calculates a variety of performance metrics, characterizing network behavior with the most important metric being the R-Value scores for each voice call, as well as for the aggregate of all calls. A typical screen image is shown here.

R-Value scores are the VoIP equivalent of the MOS (mean opinion score) scores used to characterize voice call quality in conventional telephony networks. Broadband telephony MOS is derived by having people rate the quality of test sentences read aloud by male and female speakers over a communications circuit.

In addition to creating base-line quality measurements of a VoIP over WLAN-only network, this test suite also adds background data traffic. That can help evaluate how a wireless network handles voice call prioritization in the presence of precisely controlled data traffic. It also assesses individual call quality when handsets roam between wireless APs.

- Alex Mendelsohn


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