Apposite, Shunra optimize testing tools for VOIP net

WAN-emulation vendors have unveiled updates to their testing tools that promise to give network managers more insight into how applications will perform under real-world conditions across the wide area network.

Apposite Technologies and Shunra separately unveiled upgrades to their technologies that let network managers test applications against conditions that may be present on the WAN. For instance, Apposite Technologies’ Linktropy appliances can act as a WAN infrastructure to let network managers determine how application traffic will react to various bandwidth constraints, packet loss and other WAN parameters.

Last month at Interop the company introduced its Linktropy 1700 and Linktropy 7500 Pro appliances capable of simulating WAN links of as much as 1 Gigabit/sec at full line rate. The Ethernet-based WAN emulator appliances plug into the network as bridges or routers connecting two local network segments, with network equipment and applications installed on either side of the emulator. Network managers then configure the emulator to simulate WAN conditions and watch how the application traffic performs under the conditions.

The Linktropy 7500 can capture traffic on a single Gigabit link, and the 7500 Pro can perform WAN emulation on as much as four aggregate links with a total throughput of 4 Gigabit/sec. The appliances are 1U-sized, rack-mountable chassis and include copper and modular fibre/copper Gigabit Ethernet interfaces to integrate into any test networks, says D.C. Paltor, president of Apposite.

“The idea is to make WAN emulation very simple. Customers buy a box, and there is no other hardware or software to install,” he says. “The appliance can run the gamut of helping developers in the application design phase to troubleshooting performance problems to optimizing applications after they have been rolled out.”

Scheduled to be available in mid-June, the Linktropy 7500 and 7500 Pro are priced between US$7,500 and $20,000, depending on the WAN bandwidth.

For its part, Shunra is making available an updated version of its Shunra VE (Virtual Enterprise) appliance, which can now measure voice quality, provide playback of voice conversations and craft a SIP conversation diagram for troubleshooting purposes.

Shunra VE 5.0 is a network-simulation tool that can emulate any network environment, the company says, including wide-area links to remote and branch offices. It comprises two applications: VE Predictor and VE Profiler. Predictor is an application that automatically runs transactions over a recorded production network and measures the performance of the application against predefined service-level metrics. Profiler generates network impairments, such as latency, packet loss and use, which are run against the application to further test its merit against changing network conditions.

This version now includes root-cause analysis and reporting capabilities that will help network managers isolate performance issues in the network or application. For instance, the product can now report breakdown transactions on networks, clients, and servers, and provide application efficiency analysis as well as network- and application-error rates.

“With 5.0 we added the ability to do some deep packet analysis and understand if there are any performance bottlenecks that can be found in the testing stage,” says Amichai Lesser, director of product marketing at Shunra. “It can detect errors and warnings down to the protocol level and break out reports for each transaction. It can pinpoint at which point in the business process the slow down occurs.”

Pricing for Shunra VE 5.0, available now, starts at $25,000.

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