Singlewire Software has developed two simple software tools that network engineers can use to determine whether your organization has multicast, SNMP, and AXL set up correctly on the network. These tools offer a great “quick check” of the network and are an easy way to validate that your systems are configured correctly. The Singlewire Multicast Tester can be used when your organization is not getting audio but insist that multicast is working on the network.
Learn more about this tool from Singlewire by listening to the podcast or transcript below.
The Singlewire Multicast and SNMP Testing Kit is available at no cost. Click here to learn more and download.
Yeah, the SNMP networking tool or the CUCM tester as I like to call it and the multicast testing tool are things that I developed for our support team mainly and for implementation engineers because when some of the more common errors that people run into involve these items.
So looking at the multicast tool, InformaCast requires multicast to get the audio out to the Cisco IP phones, the IP speakers and any other audio in point on the network.
Multicast is something outside of the scope of something we really provide support for because every network environment is different and based on network vendors we really suggest that the customer use the network vendor's best practices when deploying multicast on their network.
However generating multicast on a network can sometimes be challenging and then listening to that, or find that multicast traffic is another challenge. What this multicast testing tool does, it has 3 options.
It can run as a server to generate traffic, it can run as a client to listen for traffic and then outside of that option it can also, for lack of a better word, high jack to Cisco IP phones and have one send multicast and the other receive multicast. Using this tool then I can put a multicast to work and then have clients listening for this multicast stream and various other points of my network.
Thereby I can start to trace hop by hop how I want to route that multicast traffic and where it might be failing on my network. The SNMP CUCM tester does a few varying tests and this works by querying Call Manager directly for information that InformaCast might be looking for when it's gonna gather, it's data from the CUCM cluster or clusters.
The main purpose for this is you can verify the setup and configuration you've done on CUCM to make sure that all the steps that were taken to get the CUCM configured were done properly and that the CUCM gives you values that you expect to see. So it can ask for how many nodes are in the cluster, how many phones are registered to a particular node.
It also makes an AXL query to the call manager to make sure that AXL is enabled. It could also look at individual phones on the network to make sure that web access and the authentication URL are set properly.
Really the main goal behind these tools are to make sure that during the planning phase of an InformaCast installation installation, the various pre-requistites are met before a network engineer goes on site to deploy the solution.
How far ahead of time is that typically done? The weekend before or an hour before that momentation or does it vary?
It's pretty varied. A lot of the times, you know, people, it's kind of an afterthought. So that's why these become really helpful for our support team. If somebody goes on site to install InformaCast and all of a sudden audio doesn't work, it' s a pretty big red flag to say that multicast isn't routing on that network.
At that point our support team can offer the multicast tool where that network engineer can then use the multicast tool to properly help them properly configure multicast on their network. And what do you hear from engineers at customer sites? This is something that I'm assuming very well are valuable to them.
Very much so. I've got great feedback about the multicast particular even for network engineers who aren't using InformaCast, it's very helpful if they're trying to deploy and troubleshoot multicast. Yeah, most network administrators are at least aware of multicast, you know, some organizations might not be running it.
This is a fairly common occurrence that you see.
It really is. A lot of the times a lot of customers don't have any other applications on their networks using multicast. Music on hold source from CUCM can be unicast or multicast and if the customer had not reason to have multicast enabled on their network before it sometimes strange concept when they want to use InformaCast, because this is the first tool.
This is the first network application that's going to require multicast on their network. The SNMP Network testing kit which includes also the multicast tester and they're both available as kind of one unit on our web site you simply go on to Singlewire.com, you need to be registered use of Singlewire and the Singlewire web site, partner or customer to get this content.
Customers and partners can download but if by simply logging on to Singlewire.com, clicking on Support, and then clicking on Additional Resources.