A. Cisco Unified Service Monitor 2.0 is part of the Cisco Unified Communications management suite. It provides a low-cost, reliable method of monitoring and evaluating the quality of voice in Cisco Unified Communications solutions. It continuously monitors active calls supported by the Cisco Unified Communications system and provides near-real-time notification when the voice quality of a call, represented as end-user experience expressed by a mean opinion score (MOS), fails to meet a user-defined quality threshold. It also provides a variety of reports that characterize the user experience as measured by the system and provide details on the endpoints that are most frequently related to voice quality alerts.
Q. What are the components of Cisco Unified Service Monitor 2.0?
A. The Cisco Unified Service Monitor voice-quality solution consists of central Cisco Unified Service Monitor software and Cisco 1040 Sensor hardware. The Cisco 1040 Sensor can be deployed in campus and remote locations (such as branch offices) to analyze voice-specific Rapid Transport Protocol (RTP) data streams and calculates a MOS value for each stream. The end-user experience is captured, analyzed, and reported every 60 seconds. The Cisco 1040 Sensor is the required hardware for the Cisco Unified Service Monitor application software.
The Cisco Unified Service Monitor application software operates on a Windows 2003 server platform and receives voice-quality information from Cisco 1040 Sensors and Cisco Unified CallManager 4.2 or 5.0 systems. Users can configure MOS thresholds on a per-codec basis; alerts are sent to an upstream application such as Cisco Unified Operations Manager when an MOS threshold is violated. It allows users to understand the service-quality experience at a system level through Cisco Voice Transmission Quality (VTQ) support and in real time through Cisco 1040 Sensors.
Q. What are typical deployment scenarios for Cisco Unified Service Monitor 2.0?
A. Two typical deployment strategies include strategic monitoring and tactical monitoring.
In strategic monitoring, the Cisco 1040 Sensor is installed to continuously monitor Cisco IP phones in the managed environment. Depending on the monitoring goals, sampling techniques are used to select representative sites for monitoring and determining the sensor locations. Each instance of Cisco Unified Service Monitor central software can be licensed to support up to 50 sensors to provide real-time alerting on call-quality issues as well as data for evaluating general service levels and validating performance of service-level agreements (SLAs).
In tactical monitoring, the Cisco 1040 Sensor is installed at a site (such as a branch office) having voice-quality concerns or problems. Once installed, it can immediately begin to monitor and assess the quality of IP-based calls without elaborate setup.
Q. What's new in Cisco Unified Service Monitor 2.0?
A. Cisco Unified Service Monitor 2.0 adds significant functionality in the following areas:
• Comprehensive service-quality measurement, through support for Cisco VTQ phone-based voice quality in addition to Cisco 1040 sensor-derived voice quality
• Configurable thresholds based on MOSs, codec, endpoints, and sensors
• Customizable voice-quality reports, including Most Impacted Endpoints reports that provide details of the endpoints experiencing the most severe voice-quality issues over a period
Q. How does Cisco Unified Service Monitor compare with other quality of voice measurement tools?
A. As worldwide adoption of IP-based telephony progresses, many offerings provide quality of voice metrics for the enterprise. Although many of these provide broad monitoring and analysis of general network performance, Cisco Unified Service Monitor has several inherent advantages and features that help ensure an easily integrated solution for monitoring voice quality:
• The Cisco 1040 Sensor evaluates the actual Real-Time Transport Protocol (RTP) data streams of monitored calls and evaluates calls using standards-based techniques.
• Cisco Unified Service Monitor provides a distributed, scalable solution for cost-effective quality of voice monitoring.
• Cisco Unified Service Monitor uses the same ease of deployment, scaling, and redundancy mechanisms as Cisco IP phones.
• Cisco Unified Service Monitor voice-quality alerts integrate with Cisco Unified Operations Manager 2.0, in which their specialized display provides a launching point for diagnostic tools and processes.
• The Cisco 1040 Sensor uses IEEE 802.3af Power over Ethernet (PoE) and integrates with IP telephony devices such as Cisco Unified IP phones, gateways, and telephony service such as voice mail to measure voice quality.
• The Cisco 1040 Sensor is FCC Class B-compliant and can be installed in any office environment.
Q. What operating systems support Cisco Unified Service Monitor?
A. Cisco Unified Service Monitor requires a hardware platform executing Microsoft Windows Server 2003. In some scenarios (generally less than 1000 phones), Cisco Unified Service Monitor can coreside on the same platform with Cisco Unified Operations Manager.
Q. How does Cisco Unified Service Monitor interoperate with other CiscoWorks management products?
A. Cisco Unified Service Monitor can coexist in the same network with any member of the CiscoWorks family of products. It executes with CiscoWorks Common Services Software, as do other CiscoWorks management applications such as the CiscoWorks LAN Management Solution (LMS). Cisco Unified Service Monitor can use CiscoWorks services, including:
• CiscoWorks security roles
• CiscoWorks server process and backup management services
• Device and credential repository
• Cisco Secure Access Control Server (ACS) integration
Q. Is Cisco Unified Service Monitor a Web-based application?
A. Cisco Unified Service Monitor has a Web-based user interface. The server component is installed on a Windows Server 2003 platform. The client component is browser-based and is accessed through Microsoft Internet Explorer.
Q. What kinds of northbound interfaces are provided by Cisco Unified Service Monitor?
A. Cisco Unified Service Monitor provides Simple Network Management Protocol (SNMP) trap notification that can be sent on northbound interfaces to Cisco Unified Operations Manager or other "manager-of-manager" applications. The Cisco 1040 Sensor evaluates voice RTP streams and produces MOS values for each one. Cisco Unified Service Monitor evaluates these against a user-defined threshold, sending a notification to Cisco Unified Operations Manager if a threshold violation is detected. There it can be displayed on a real-time alert dashboard that provides a launching point for a variety of diagnostic tools. The notifications (in the form of SNMP traps) can also be sent to other management applications.
Q. How does Cisco Unified Service Monitor integrate with Cisco Unified Operations Manager?
A. Cisco Unified Operations Manager uses the information sent by Cisco Unified Service Monitor to present service-quality (quality of voice) alerts on a real-time basis. Cisco Unified Operations Manager processes the SNMP traps that come from Cisco Unified Service Monitor and associates the endpoint information in the trap to the IP phones or Cisco Unified Communications devices it is monitoring. The alerts from Cisco Unified Service Monitor appear in a specialized Service Quality Alerts display that provides a launching point for diagnostic tools and processes.