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Tek suite expands support for IMS

Posted: 16 Jan 2007 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:Tektronix? Unified Assurance? IMS? Unified Assurance? UA?

Tektronix Inc.'s Dallas-based communications business is launching a comprehensive performance-monitoring and -testing suite for service providers moving to Internet protocol (IP) multimedia subsystems (IMS). The Unified Assurance (UA) platform correlates end-user quality-of-experience (QoE) parameters with specific QoS parameters in a network.

The 3GPP developed the standards for IMS. The first IMS adopters were wireline carriers anxious to upgrade their soft-switch programs for Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) clients. But now, wireless operators of dual-mode Wi-Fi/cellular and UMTS networks are upgrading to full IMS support, said Gary McFarlane, marketing director for communications products at Tektronix.

The company has expanded its IP and circuit-based protocol support to cover more than 2,500 telecom protocols, he said.

"The issue is not a wholesale turn to SIP as part of the IMS evolution, but carriers want feature parity for network management across protocols," said product-marketing manager Nicole Bogard. "That means supporting not only SIP, but H.323, Diameter, Megacoany protocol in working networks."

This implies that a network-management console must view traffic across media gateways, IP PBX platforms and soft switches running any combination of protocols. Mobile users must also be tracked across radio access networks, a weak spot in many existing network-management systems.

Dashboard control
In the lab and predeployment phases, elements of the IMS architecture must be taken through functional and load tests, and monitored for performance in merged environments of VoIP, video-over IP and data, Bogard said. After deployment, networks must be monitored in real-time to correlate network QoS with end-user QoE.

Using the Service Management Dashboard, managers are able to track the generation of key performance indicators and key quality indicators with the UA software.

Tektronix has regularly upgraded its passive real-time monitoring capability, and its acquisition of Montreal-based Minacom International Inc. in early November enhances Tek's active monitoring arsenal. Minacom has developed a series of active distributed probes for analyzing VoIP, video and fax-over IP.

McFarlane said Tektronix had done rigorous buy-or-build due diligence before acquiring Minacom and had determined that the Canadian company's products fit a well-defined need in the company's overall IMS testing strategy.

- Loring Wirbel
EE Times

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