Cisco SAA

The Cisco Service Assurance Agent (SAA) is a Cisco IOS feature that allows users to monitor network performance between a Cisco router and a remote device (which can be another Cisco router, an IP Host or an MVS host). Performance can be measured for real world scenarios through the configuration of SAA operations that are executed periodically. Metrics measured include round trip response time, connect time, packet loss, application performance, inter-packet delay variance ( jitter), and more.

The SAA Support for Frame Relay, VoIP, and MPLS VPNs feature enhances the functionality of the Cisco SAA network monitoring solution as follows:

  • SAA Frame Relay - operations allow the user to monitor key performance metrics (round trip latency, packet loss, and data integrity) over Frame Relay permanent virtual circuits (PVCs).
  • With VPN Awareness, SAA allows monitoring within Multiprotocol Label Switching (MPLS) Virtual Private Networks (VPNs), enabling service providers to plan, provision, and manage IP VPN services according to the service level agreement (SLA) for a customer.


  • Frame Relay Monitoring - The SAA Frame Relay operation allows users to measure parameters such as response time (round trip latency), frame loss, and data integrity over frame relay circuits (PVCs). By measuring these parameters, providers can verify if the protocol is working correctly to meet customer needs.
  • Path Jitter Monitoring for VoIP Networks - The SAA Path Jitter operation allows the monitoring of interpacket-delay-variance a hop by hop basis. The Path Jitter operation provides measurements not only for jitter, but for other parameters such as response time, packet loss. The ability to monitor jitter is a key performance metric for VoIP networks. By using this operation, providers can monitor the performance of different paths in the VoIP network to insure Voice transmission quality for customers.
  • MPLS VPN Monitoring (VPN Awareness) - This enhancement to the SAA allows users to launch SAA operations on an MPLS VPN PE router. Being able to launch SAA operations allows providers to plan, provision, and manage IP VPN services according to the SLA for their customers. VPN Awareness means that montoring can be performed for a specific VPN by specifying a VPN routing/forwarding (VRF) name.


  1. Cisco SAA Support for Frame Relay, VoIP, and MPLS VPN Monitoring
  2. Network Performance Management with Cisco SAA
  3. Cisco Systems Service Assurance Agent (SAA) (pdf)

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