Apparent Networks Unveils Midmarket Product

AppCritical SME (Small to Medium Enterprise) is designed to give solution providers an affordable way to pinpoint the causes of IP network latency in businesses with between 100 and 1,000 employees, according to Apparent Networks. The Vancouver, British Columbia-based vendor unveiled the product Monday at VoiceCon Fall 2006, a San Francisco conference held by CRN publisher CMP Technology.

Priced at $40,000 and targeted at the market for VoIP network assessments, AppCritical SME is the baby brother of AppareNet Enterprise Voice, the vendor's top-shelf VoIP network assessment tool, which costs about $170,000.

Dennis Bailey, network consultant at Invictus Converged Solutions, a New York-based solution provider that uses AppareNet Enterprise Voice, said AppCritical SME can do far more than just return an assessment about how well a network will carry VoIP traffic. With AppCritical SME, Apparent Networks essentially has restructured the licensing of its enterprise-class product, so most of the enterprise functionality has been left intact, he noted.

The licensing changes, such as a limit to the number of certain tests that can be performed, lower the barrier of entry for midmarket solution providers and prevent Fortune 500 companies from circumventing Apparent Networks' enterprise licensing by using the less expensive product, Bailey said. So solution providers can use AppCritical SME almost exactly like the enterprise product, conduct IP network latency testing to far more systems than just VoIP and easily pay for the new product by rolling it into the price tag of just one job, he explained.

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"One VoIP project has a budget to buy this product, but then I can troubleshoot network backups, SAN replication, file errors. Anything Layer 1 through Layer 3 I can look at and get a problem resolution quickly," Bailey said. "Every NOC should have this tool."

The ability to use AppCritical SME to remotely diagnose network latency problems also can save solution providers money by reducing the number of instances in which on-site technicians are required, Bailey added. AppCritical SME lets solution providers send executable files via e-mail to customers, which then launch them in their networks and subsequently return the network performance data to the solution provider for analysis, he said.

"It really cuts the time to repair down dramatically," Bailey said.