Category Archives: Compass

Finding Bandwidth Hogs with the Compass Dashboard

Given the low cost and feature-rich networking equipment available today, it’s easy for bandwidth hogs to quietly operate in the background. Most corporate networks have plenty of bandwidth and lots of additional features, like traffic shaping, that significantly reduce the impact of bandwidth hogs. But they can certainly still be a problem, especially on slower, remote office networks, or wireless networks. And problems can be aggravated when “hogging events” occur, like video streaming of live, popular events, which bring even casual bandwidth hogs out of the closet.  With WildPackets Compass dashboard, you can easily navigate your way through the network to find exactly who the bandwidth hog(s) is and what he or she is doing to suck up so much bandwidth.

Identifying Spikes in Network Usage
The Compass dashboard in OmniPeek allows you to get an overall view of network utilization, whether by bits, bytes, or packets. It is an excellent starting point for identifying overall spikes in network usage, the first step in identifying the culprit behind the spike. As we can see in the following screen shot of the Compass dashboard, our overall network utilization on our wireless network has been erratic, with several spikes over the last hour or so. We can now use the interactive nature of the Compass dashboard to determine which user(s) are responsible for the various spikes in network activity.

Identifying Bandwidth Hogs
All that needs to be done is to isolate a spike, and the Compass dashboard will do the rest. Let’s choose the right-most spike in the above screen shot. Simply highlighting the area of the utilization graph directs the Compass dashboard to drill in on that area, focusing all of the Compass dashboard windows on only that period of time. This is illustrated in the following screen shot.

As you can see, not only have we focused on the utilization from just this time period, but the Top Protocols, Top Flows, and Top Nodes also reflect network utilization from just this time period. Looking first at Top Flows, we see that the conversation between and on port 80 is by far the largest flow, and we know that is a user on our network. Both the listed port and the Top Protocols pie chart confirm for us that this is web traffic, and the Top Nodes histogram clearly shows that the web activity was YouTube traffic. So, a single step using the Compass dashboard provides us will all the data we need to know exactly who our bandwidth hog is, and what they’re doing on the network.

Further Analysis
Knowing that there was a spike in network traffic, and who caused it, is certainly valuable information. But spikes happen all the time. As network engineers, what we’re most interested in is whether or not this event created any adverse effects on our network, and one of the best metrics to determine this is network latency. The Compass dashboard continuously analyzes for network latency, and displays this information over time. Simply change the parameter in the graph from “Mbits” to “Worst 2-Way Latency,” and we can now see the latency for the period of time when the spike took place, as illustrated below.

As the graph shows, our worst 2-way latency continues to increase while the YouTube download is occurring, reaching a maximum value of almost 13 seconds. In our book this is certainly an adverse effect!

The Compass dashboard is a flexible, extremely versatile view into overall network activity. With its rich set of network metrics and the ability to instantly drill into specific time periods, it guides you to exactly where network problems are occurring, in this case, identifying a potential bandwidth hog, along with the negative impacts this activity is having on the network.

5 Ways OmniPeek 7.0 Can Adapt To Your Growing Network

Network monitoring and analysis has been the core value that WildPackets has offered for the past two decades. With each new release, we support the latest advances in networking technology, in the most powerful and usable product in its class.

This time around, we are excited to introduce OmniPeek 7.0. Our newest version addresses issues that can be experienced with growing networks: end-user problems, latency and performance, and new abilities in wireless.

In this blog entry, we have pulled together five ways that OmniPeek 7.0 can adapt to your growing network, and help maintain consistency for all network users.

1. Send a Software Assistant, not a Network Engineer
OmniPeek 7.0 now offers remote analysis without requiring a network engineer to go onsite to capture data. OmniPeek Remote Assistant lets nontechnical users capture data from their workstations and send the information back to the network engineer.

2. Enhanced Visibility with Compass Dashboard
Compass is a signature feature of WildPackets’ network monitoring. Now we are offering enhancements to this interactive dashboard to provide more results with less effort.

OmniPeek 7.0 integrates our expert analysis into Compass to allow direct visual correlation of network traffic and network health problems. Just click on an event, and Compass will show you the corresponding flow.

Performance problems also become easy to identify and diagnose with the new latency views in Compass for graphical analysis of network and application latency.

3. Tracking Latency to its Source
As you add more subnets and segments to your network, you may inadvertently add more potential problems, or increase the demands on your existing infrastructure to uncover problems that were hidden.  OmniPeek 7.0 gives you a solution with Multi-Segment Analysis, which correlates capture data from across your network, in a single screen, to identify which segments are experiencing the most packet loss and latency. Leverage the power of OmniEngine software probes and Omnipliance and TimeLine network recorders to enhance your network visibility as you expand your network.

4. Complete Wireless Coverage
When your wireless network grows, the result will be multiple access points, usually on non-overlapping channels. This presents a dilemma: how can you monitor all of your network’s channels without encountering the lag time and data gaps that go with round robin channel sampling? Channel aggregation in OmniPeek 7.0 enables users to capture data across multiple channels simultaneously without experiencing gaps in captured data or missing packets.

OmniPeek 7.0 also provides automatic client roaming tracking. Multiple access points may result in user devices jumping from AP to AP, roaming within the wireless network. Roaming is generally a sign that a client is having signal problems, so excessive roaming may be an indication that there are gaps in Wi-Fi coverage. Additionally, there’s no standard to specify what should cause a client to roam: different vendors use different algorithms. The automatic roam tracking in OmniPeek 7.0 can therefore help you decide what Wi-Fi clients work best in your environment.

5. Adding more 802.11 Protocols
There are new capabilities that have been added to 802.11 and Wi-Fi, and OmniPeek 7.0 supports them. Whether you need analysis on 802.11k, r, u, v, w or even 802.11ac, we’ve got you covered.

As network technology continues to advance, and demand grows for more data faster, OmniPeek continues to provide the simplicity and visibility to keep up with your growing network.

For more information about OmniPeek 7.0, click here.

Interop New York: The Countdown Begins!

We’re a day away from the Interop Conference in New York, and we are excited to be in the Big Apple! The expo runs from Wednesday, October 3 through Thursday, October 4 and our booth number is 737.

This year, we’ll be demonstrating the latest features of our OmniPeek Network Analyzer for Wireless v7 which was introduced during the Wireless Field Day on September 12. These features include:

  • Advanced Roaming Detection: Ability to identify when wireless clients roam from AP to AP to accurately report on the timing of these transitions for better analysis.
  • Latency Measurement: Reporting one and two-way latency for network flows to see when the user experience is degraded
  • Visibility Enhancements: Enhanced Compass dashboard that provides network engineers with the ability to correlate detailed analytical results, including WildPackets Expert analysis.
  • OmniPeek Remote Assistant: A new option that allows non-technical end users to capture and collect data from their workstations and return the data to network engineers for deeper troubleshooting.

If you are attending Interop, be sure to stop by our booth for a demo. Put our experts to the test with your network challenges; we’ll be happy to show how the Omni Distributed Analysis Platform helps large or small networks.

To register for Interop New York, please click here.