Tool unites Net reporting with phone call accounting

A new network accounting tool from Telemate Software Inc. of Atlanta integrates
Internet usage reporting with telephone call accounting.


“The federal government long ago bought into the fact that it has to control
telephone use,” marketing director Kent Jones said.


Jones said Telemate’s bread-and-butter business has been three generations of
software to extract log data from agency private branch exchanges for usage reports and
billing.


The company in 1997 added an Internet reporting product and last year responded to the
integration of voice and data networks by merging the accounting tools into Telemate.Net.


The application requires a 200-MHz or faster Pentium server running Microsoft Windows
NT 4.0. Telemate.Net extracts voice traffic data from PBX and network traffic data from a
proxy server, firewall or router. A Microsoft SQL Server database builds the reports about
traffic patterns and where costs are generated.


Users can display the information by categories of telephone numbers and Internet
sites, time of day or usage patterns. They can drill down to individual users, numbers and
sites. Telemate.Net also supports costing for mileage-based Wide-Area Telephone Service
and rate-step or usage-based methods. It can calculate in foreign currencies. On the data
side, it can monitor or block up to 250,000 categorized Web addresses.


For government administrators, liability concerns outweigh productivity as a reason for
monitoring Internet use, Jones said. But site-blocking rarely is necessary, he said,
because detailed reports usually are enough to deter misuse.


“IT managers don’t really want to be the cop,” he said.


Billing back to departments or offices for network usage, long a staple of telephone
accounting, is a growing issue for network managers, Jones said.


Regardless of an organization’s size, a $3,000 monthly telephone bill—the
cost of a leased T1 connection for data traffic—appears to be the threshold for
starting to bill back for voice traffic, Jones said.


Telemate.Net starts at around $10,000 for a variety of configurations.


Contact Telemate at 770-936-3700. 

About the Author

William Jackson is a Maryland-based freelance writer.

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