As more and more of our traditional, offline transactions move into the virtual world, it’s increasingly important that network managers keep abreast of how this affects capacity planning requirements, network data and performance baselines. For example, look at the use of VoIP and video call data on most networks today. Traditionally, Call Detail Records (CDRs) are used for reporting on telephone calls, and specify criteria such as the source and destination numbers and the length of the call. A Netflow analyser works on a similar premise: it reports on data transactions (albeit more regularly than a CDR analysis) that happen in your network environment. In the past, these two reports would likely draw their data from very different sources, but with the centralisation of communication technology over IP in recent years, it’s easy for this information to become entangled.

In the context of the modern network, there are two definitions of CDR that must be kept in mind: traditional Call Data Records, and Committed Data Rate.

What is Committed Data Rate?

To understand the Committed Data Rate, we first need to discuss the Committed Information Rate, or CIR. The Committed Information Rate in a Frame relay network is the guaranteed average total bandwidth for a virtual circuit, under normal conditions, specified by an ISP. At any time, the bandwidth should not fall below this figure. A Committed Data Rate, by contrast, is the guaranteed average bandwidth reserved exclusively for the data portion of the CIR. In other words, the Committed Data Rate is the total committed bandwidth minus voice and non-data packets.

What do Call Data Records entail in a modern context?

As traditional communications technology becomes increasingly obsolete in the face of high-bandwidth networks and the rise of disruptive technology, Call Data Records will take up new importance as a component of Netflow management. Broadly speaking, the nature of CDR analysis hasn’t changed, and many of the traditional criteria still apply – the source and destination IPs, the length of the call and call quality – but CDR analysis takes on a new dimension in the context of the modern network: the regulation of assigned bandwidth, usage and quality of voice and video call data. The practical benefit is that voice and non-data packets are regulated separately, and acceptable rates can be defined for each. This makes it possible to optimise voice and data channels independently of one another, while taking into account the total bandwidth and traffic in your environment.

Why is Committed Data Rate important?

A CDR has the benefit of acting as a baselining tool for the flow of data on your network. Whether you’re dealing with geographically disparate servers in a Wide Area Network (WAN) or managing Service Level Agreements (SLAs) with clients, it’s useful to have an accurate and reliable estimate of the average performance of your network. A Committed Data Rate aligns the real flow of data on your network, minus voice and non-data packets, with levels of acceptable performance and usage. It’s also important to emphasise that Committed Data Rates deal explicitly with data minus Voice over IP (VoIP) traffic and non-data packets, while Call Data Records deal with this exclusively.

How do I make CDR and CDR work hand-in-hand?

While we still have a way to go before traditional Call Data Records are obsolete, we’re rapidly moving into a culture that relies on network connectivity for everything from gym equipment to air-conditioning units. As more transactions come to rely on central network connectivity, solutions that streamline different data types and facilitate easy management of separate data channels will become more popular. Essentially, Committed Data Rate is a committed average rate of data transaction, while Call Data Records, in the context of a modern network, deals specifically with the acceptable transfer rate of voice and non-data packets.

IRIS offers a comprehensive and flexible CDR analysis and reporting tool that can cater to the requirements of any network, regardless of scale or requirements. To find out more about IRIS-SD Reporter and what it can do for your network, please visit the product page for more information.

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