VoIP Spear: New VoIP QoS Monitoring Service

Earlier this week I found a newly launched VoIP QoS monitoring service called VoIP Spear. It works by sending a ping to the end-point in question at a certain interval, then analyzing the timing of the resulting responses. The service is free for monitoring a single end-point so I setup an account and pointed it at my office IP address.

It didn’t work initially as my m0n0wall router was set to block ICMP, so no response at all to ping requests. I later added a rule to the firewall to allow it to response to pings. After that VoIP Spear started reporting that it could see my address.

The report reminds me a lot of ping plotter, which had always been a favorite tool. However, VoIP Spear is oriented the other direction, pinging my LAN from an external vantage point. Also, it provides an interpretation of the results as a traditional telecom MOS score.

We’ll see just how useful the monitoring service might be. The companies blog has a interesting initial post describing the significance of various network measurement to VoIP QoS.

  • alan

    I don’t see any value in it in a real world situation. What you care about *bearing* it’s a off-net voip application, is the latency between your WAN endpoint and the service providers. Different routes, different networks, how the BGP moves the data packet, etc IMO

  • It seems that they provide test streams from three locations, generically West, Central and Eastern US. Of course it would be best of these were sourced from the same facilities as my preferred ITSPs.

  • alan

    The issue is not the facility to a degree but the root of the issue which would be voip and in how the packets are delivered…off net vs. on net. What would probably make more sense is if they had a client that ran on your *LAN* that ran tests back to your ITSP proxy and then the cient program would send the stat information over back to voipspear.

    As much as I don’t like how ATT has been dealing with their network paths over the last couple of years, here is a perfect example of the differences I clearly can see day to day. On a Qwest or MCI POP network, tracing back to a SIP proxy with Level 3, we see anywhere from 10-14 hops on Average. When we run the same trace back on ATT, it’s literally only 2-3 hops with averages on 10-15ms latency between each hop.

    Granted, this may only be notice to people like me, who have Golden Ears and can discern a sound quality difference between a PSTN call or even a VOIP inbound call.

    BTW, MJG, love the blog !

  • I’m one of the creators of VoIP Spear, so I thought I would follow up on the comments.

    We realize it’s not that useful to know what your QoS is like from our server to your endpoint. After all, it’s possible that there might be a problem on our end that causes the quality to dip. This is the reason we offer tests from 3 different VoIP servers around North America. If you see a quality problem to/from multiple servers, it’s more likely that there’s a problem on your end.

    Over the next few months, we plan to offer testing from a few other servers in North America, as well as servers around the globe.

    Alan says that it would be nice if VoIP Spear had a client that could run on your own LAN. We agree — in fact, this is something that is available. With our Advanced Testing, it’s possible to install a VoIP Spear server on your own computer and to test from your own server to the endpoints. We created this solution mainly for service providers because we believe that they want to know what the VoIP QoS to their own customers is like. Advanced Testing is available on our Bronze, Silver, or Gold plans.