QoS over IP is fine, declares Voyager chief

An Auckland ISP is already "well down the track" with beta-testing new quality-of-service-over-IP software - and its boss has hit out at doubts expressed by a Telecom spokesman over IP-based services. Voyager has been trialling PacketShaper, the flagship product from the US company Packeteer, which has been presented to major ISPs in recent weeks by its local distributor, Datacraft.

An Auckland ISP is already “well down the track” with beta-testing new quality-of-service-over-IP software — and its boss has hit out at doubts expressed by a Telecom spokesman over IP-based services.

Voyager has been trialling PacketShaper, the flagship product from the US company Packeteer, which has been presented to major ISPs in recent weeks by its local distributor, Datacraft.

Voyager general manager David Mackie says the company has installed Packet-Shaper, which rewrites header information inside IP packets in order to prioritise traffic and allocate bandwidth to different streams of traffic, “and it works brilliantly — we’re very impressed”.

Voyager’s business product offerings are increasingly based around IP-based virtual private network (VPN) services across its own network and via Telecom’s IPNet dial-up network. Mackie says his company was “a little concerned” at comments made by Graham Rowe, head of Telecom’s computer communications group (which developed IPNet) about the viability of IP-based VPNs.

In a Computerworld story and an @IDG Friday Fry-up interview, Rowe expressed doubts about the ability of an IP network to guarantee sufficient quality of service for business-critical applications. Bryan Rowe, of Voyager’s parent company, OzEmail, had earlier outlined a scenario where its VPN services would “cannibalise” the conventional private network services offered by telecommunications companies.

“We were a little concerned from an industry point of view that someone like Graham, whose opinions would carry a fair amount of weight in the market, would make those comments, because we don’t think they’re actually current,” says Mackie.

PacketShaper, says Mackie, will allow his company to make the kind of guarantees businesses will want.

“It allows you to, say, make sure you’ve always got 128Kbit/s going to a specific site, throughout the system. Once it’s installed and configured we can offer and guarantee certain levels of service, and customers will be able to see whether or not we meet the service-level agreement.

“The thing about PacketShaper is that it has a large number of classes we can use. It might be time-of-day-specific, application-specific, protocol-specific — or I might say I want guaranteed delay or packet loss or throughput or whatever.

“You can also specifiy levels of service, to which you can add a premium if you want.”

Mackie says he is currently drawing a business case to warrant what is a virtually certain purchase for the company.

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