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The Tools Needed for VoIP Troubleshooting, Part Four: SNMP Collectors

Sep 29, 2015

photo-salesperson speaking on phonePicture this: One of your salesmen is engaging in high level talks with a potential client. But midway through the conversation, the call starts to get choppy. The salesman is only able to decipher every other word the customer is saying. After a few minutes, he’s forced to hang up—thus making it more difficult to complete the sale.

As this example shows, VoIP call problems can make it very difficult for employees to complete their tasks. It’s therefore critical that you have access to the right tools so you can ensure that when problems arise, you can put a stop to them.  

To learn more, download our white paper:  The Root-Cause of VoIP Call Quality Problems

In this series, we’ve been focusing on some of the most common VoIP troubleshooting tools on the market: packet sniffers, application performance monitoring and call detail record analysis.

Now, let’s take a look at another tool: the Simple Network Management Protocol (SNMP) collector.

What it is: An SNMP collector is a probe that seeks out and collects data from switches and routers on the network. The goal of an SNMP collector is to collect this data, and report faults back to the network administrator.

Why you use it: This tool is used to measure information related to specific conditions that are occurring on individual network components. By analyzing this information, you can better understand important metrics like WAN utilization rates, resource limitations and packet loss.

What it’s good for: Think of an SNMP collector like a stethoscope, which provides targeted insight into a specific area of the human body like the heart or lungs. Like the other tools mentioned in this series, it can confirm whether a device is working or not working.

What it’s bad for: Going back to our medical example, using an SNMP collector is a bit like going to your friend, complaining about a chest pain and expecting a proper diagnosis. Most likely the friend will not be able to dig deep for information, and string together correlating points in order to get to the bottom of your condition. For that, you need the expertise of a doctor.

Likewise, an SNMP collector will provide you with advanced insight into how your devices are performing. But it won’t be able to correlate that data with any other device on your network. Many professionals therefore attempt to tweak their networks based on data gleaned from an SNMP collector without actually addressing the root cause of the issue.

The other problem with many SNMP collectors is that they don’t collect enough information to render a diagnosis.  They might look at only one or two error counters on a couple of interfaces on a router and declare the device as “healthy” when in fact it may be throwing tons of packets away due to a number of other error conditions.

If you’re looking for this type of advanced insight, the tool you need is PathSolutions TotalView. For more information about how TotalView can provide your organization with root cause VoIP troubleshooting technology, click here.

Related posts:
The Tools Needed for VoIP Troubleshooting Series
Part I: Packet Sniffers
Part II: VoIP and Application Performance Monitoring
Part III:  CDR Analysis

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