Beyond VoIP TMC

Residential VoIP Service Testing on a BlackBerry

September 7, 2006

This caught me eye recently, and I thought it was worthy enough to share: Minacom, a leading maker of VoIP test systems for telcos and cable MSOs, recently introduced residential VoIP service quality tests that can be performed using standard BlackBerry handheld devices.

Here's the guts of the announcement:

Minacom Introduces Residential VoIP Quality Testing for BlackBerry Devices

Service providers can perform complete day-of-install VoIP service quality testing, including speech MOS, noise, echo, inside wiring, and connectivity tests using standard BlackBerry devices.

Minacom recently introduced residential VoIP service quality testing using BlackBerryTM wireless devices, which now support Minacom’s PocketDQ® web-based VoIP testing client. Using PocketDQ on their BlackBerrys, technicians can initiate VoIP tests and review results that benchmark the existing phone service under replacement, verify Multimedia Terminal Adapter (MTA) installation, validate VoIP service quality, and identify inside wiring problems. Results are presented in a simple pass/fail on-screen report. Troubleshooting is facilitated by easy click-through access to a complete set of over 60 detailed service quality measurements.

Tests are conducted by Minacom’s PowerProbe® 6000 Service Level Test Probe, featuring all common VoIP and TDM test interfaces and signaling standards. To perform the test requested from the BlackBerry, the PowerProbe 6000 calls the phone number of the subscriber under test. The test call is answered by a PowerProbe 30 VoIP responder, connected to any 2-wire line jack in the house. In less than a minute, the test system measures Speech Quality (MOS), Call Connectivity, Network Responsiveness, codec performance (Packet Loss, VAD), Echo, Noise, Voice Path Delay, Frequency Response, DTMF (touch-tone) and Fax transmission metrics. Results are immediately available on the technician’s BlackBerry.

PocketDQ is the portable web-client for Minacom’s DirectQuality® R7 service level test automation platform, currently used by over 70 cable MSOs and telcos worldwide for VoIP, IPTV, Internet and Fax/Data service monitoring, installation, and troubleshooting. In addition to the BlackBerry, PocketDQ is also supported by other Internet-enabled devices, including a wide range of common handheld Cable, DSL, and FTTx test sets. The DirectQuality R7 server centrally stores results from all day-of-install tests, allowing technicians and operations engineers to retrieve results from previous tests to facilitate troubleshooting.

The winner of numerous industry awards, the PowerProbe 30 VoIP Responder and PocketDQ web-client are used by the world’s largest cable MSOs, telcos, and WiMax providers for day-of-install testing during large-scale deployment of their digital voice services.

Tim Hall, Technical Operations Manager for Mountain Cablevision has deployed PocketDQ on the BlackBerrys every field technician regularly carries with them. “Thanks to Minacom’s PocketDQ running on Blackberry wireless devices, our technicians now have another high performance tool to qualify and troubleshoot services on our advanced HFC (Hybrid Fiber Coax) networks. Deployment of Digital Video, High-Speed Data/Internet, and Digital Voice requires extensive due diligence from field technicians to ensure service quality meets our exacting standards. Having technicians carry a compact, multifunction, cost-effective wireless device to perform VoIP testing, and to access test and management data from the field, reduces manpower requirements and the amount of test equipment needed for installation and troubleshooting.”

Michel Nadeau, President and CEO of Minacom further explained “Handheld testsets are required for network-layer troubleshooting, but can be cost prohibitive to deploy to a large number of technicians installing VoIP. By using their existing BlackBerrys with the inexpensive PowerProbe 30, service providers can take advantage of the most complete VoIP testing in the industry within efficient operations budgets. A recent survey conducted by Minacom showed that VoIP now sounds better and connects faster than the PSTN service it is often replacing. Solid service quality starts with effective, comprehensive day-of-install testing that keep technician return visits to a minimum and ensure satisfied customers day-one.”

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