Today we're handing over the reigns to Tim Klein, a Technical Service Representative II here at VoIP Innovations. Working on the front lines assisting our customers, Tim is well versed in the many different types of tools available to find solutions for our callers. Without further ado, take it away, Tim!
As a Technical Service Representative II, I encounter many tools in the VoIP world that can assist you in troubleshooting everyday problems that may arise and cause issues for you and your end users. Below is a list of five tools that you can use to mitigate and resolve these problems. Next week, be sure to check back with us, as I'll share the remaining five tools in Part II.
Wireshark is the world's foremost network protocol analyzer. It lets you see what's happening on your network at a microscopic level. It is the de facto (and often de jure) standard across many industries and educational institutions. This will allow you to capture SIP and RTP (media) traffic entering/leaving your network to help troubleshoot issues such as jitter, delay, echo, faxing (T.38) that you or your end usersser may be experiencing. This is a very robust tool that will capture every packet on the interface that you specify. You can capture traffic on your WAN Public side while simultaneously capturing traffic on the Private LAN side to see if any issues are present as the SIP/RTP traverses through your firewall. You can also analyze the audio portion of the call in Wireshark under Telephony > VoIP Calls. This will allow you to listen/isolate the audio streams from your public interface to the carriers, or if you capture on the LAN side, from your phone to your PBX.
Putty allows Windows' users to connect to remote systems over the Internet via Telnet and SSH. This can be used to run SIP Traces to determine if traffic is reaching your network. This can be captured on the LAN side to check the traffic between PBX and SBC or the WAN side between the SBC and carrier. Either way this is a great tool to troubleshoot using the divide and conqueror algorithm.
SIPVicious suite is a set of tools that can be used to audit SIP based VoIP systems. It currently consists of four tools:.
svmap – a sip scanner that lists SIP devices found on an IP range
svwar – identifies active extensions on a PBX
svcrack – an online password cracker for SIP PBX
svreport – manages sessions and exports reports to various formats
svcrash – attempts to stop unauthorized svwar and svcrack scans
It is no secret that weak telephone passwords can lead to termination fraud to domestic and international destinations. A post written by IT expert Andrew Prokop shows how weak pins can be hacked to place these fraudulent calls. Per his findings, the below table shows you the maximum time it would take a hacker to break into an unprotected system.
A 4-digit pin (0000-9999) can be hacked in 142 seconds.
A 5-digit pin (00000-99999) can be hacked in 23.8 minutes.
A 6-digit pin (000000-999999 can be hacked in 3.9 hours.
A 7-digit pin (0000000-9999999) can be hacked in 1.6 days.
An 8-digit pin (00000000-99999999) can be hacked in 2.3 weeks.
Hackers use SIPVicious to hack into unprotected systems, but you can also use it to find potential security compromises within your system. You should have your users get accustomed to longer passwords. You can always implement software that keeps track of the age of the password and prevent end users from reusing the same ones frequently. SIPVicious can be used to harm weak systems, but it can also be used to help by fighting fire with fire.
4. Internet Health Report
This allows you to view up-to-the-minute metrics on overall internet performance, monitoring availability and latency between major Tier One backbones. This is helpful in determining if there are any issues with your ISP or any of their peering partners.
5. Neustar UltraTools
This robust website provides many free and useful tools in troubleshooting such as DNS Tools, Email Tools, IP Tools, Tracing Tools, etc. You can easily see what ISP an IP Address resides on, find out Geolocation information, and even find an ASN (Autonomous System Number). AS numbers are important because the ASN uniquely identifies each network on the Internet. This will also allow you to see who your ISP is peering with, and where they are routing all of their traffic.
The programs and websites outlined in this post are just suggestions for what you can use as there are many other tools out there. Tune in next week for the second part of this post, where I'll list five more handy VoIP tools to help VoIP businesses.
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