Regardless of what you believe about the current state of IP networks’ ability to handle online video, delivering video and voice over IP networks is a far less forgiving experience than routing data packets for email or documents. Brief glitches and network congestion don’t result in garbled email, but with voice or video they can lead to dropped words or jittery pictures. Enter New York-based startup Iptivia, maker of next-generation IP network management software, which as carriers and cable companies focus on the triple-play and quadruple-play offerings over IP networks, is crucial to delivering consistent quality of service.
Iptivia is one of the newest startups to offer more granular monitoring and a focus on assuring voice and video traffic across a network. It will compete with Packet Design and Hewlett-Packard to provide real-time monitoring of the exact path a packet of data takes across the network. Network testing companies are also pushing into this sector, with firms such as Apparent Networks upgrading its software this month to add proactive real-time monitoring capabilities.
Iptivia, which raised an undisclosed amount last year in a Series A round from Paladin Capital and OmniCapital Group, expects to announce a second institutional round in the first half of 2008. The startup has yet to focus on selling itself (having only hired a vice president of marketing earlier this month), but it’s already landed some big-name customers, among them Comcast and Cox Communications, as well as a few undisclosed carriers. On the enterprise side, JP Morgan uses Iptivia’s software to monitor the bank’s internal network. Both carrier clients and larger enterprise customers are the prime target for the company, which does not disclose revenue.
Iptivia’s software essentially acts as a surveillance video of every path of an IP network, monitoring the surveillance footage in real time. With thousands of devices on a network, the constant surveillance can help detect problems that previous generations of software would pass over. In earlier years network slowdowns had little effect on the service delivered to the end customers, but with the addition of video and voice, even minor problems can leave their mark. Additionally, Iptivia can determine how problems on the network manifest themselves and where. For example it can tell carriers that a software incompatibility on a specific hub affects VPN traffic for customers in the Northeast.
Iptivia’s co-founder and CEO, Inder Gopal, was formerly the chief technology officer of Prodigy, an ISP purchased by what’s now known as AT&T. He has also worked for several networking startups, including ReefEdge, a defunct wireless LAN startup, and Serenti, a remote home networking service that’s still around. With Iptivia, Gopal appears to be solving a real problem at the right time.