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Tag Archives: omnipeek

Wireless Network Analysis Rapidly Becoming a Must for Businesses

Offering free Wi-Fi can be a huge asset to business establishments like hotels, coffee shops, bookstores and anywhere else people want to connect. But for guest Wi-Fi to be beneficial to a business, the connection has to work—and it has to work well.

Organizations that advertise free Wi-Fi service and offer only a slow or broken connection can actually do themselves more harm than good. Customers who come to these establishments expecting a strong connection—particularly those planning to do job- or school-related work—may grow annoyed, take their business elsewhere, and perhaps even take their frustration out on online reviews—doing further damage to the business.

A wireless network analyzer can mean the difference between retaining customers and forfeiting revenue. A top-flight wireless network analysis solution like WildPackets’ OmniPeek manages the entire life cycle of a network, including both wired and wireless segments simultaneously, ensuring optimal performance at all times. The product significantly reduces network outages by monitoring performance 24×7, 365 days per year.

Of course, OmniPeek is a game-changer for mission-critical operations within a company as well. With more companies using wireless as a primary medium for data service, a wireless analyzer that can manage both wired and wireless segments of a network to ensure the entire ecosystem is operating at capacity becomes critical. Just as customers grow frustrated with unstable Wi-Fi, employees are bothered by underperforming applications they need to do their jobs effectively.

A lackluster Wi-Fi network can adversely affect your business—but tools to avoid this issue are readily available. The bottom line is that a wireless network analyzer can save you time, money and frustration. Isn’t that worth an investment?

How Much Do You Really Know About Your Application Performance?

Oftentimes, when we think about network performance and reliability, downtime and its massive financial impact immediately spring to mind. But as executives and IT professionals understand, a network doesn’t have to crash completely to sap a company’s revenue. Sometimes it only takes one troublesome application to sap the bottom line.

Indeed, most business leaders are well aware of how important quality of service for applications is to customers. From online shopping carts to customer service chat, users simply won’t wait for an application that lags or stalls. In an era when consumers expect instant gratification, waiting is a thing of the past.

Unfortunately, many of the available tools for application and network monitoring are overly simplistic, reporting the application’s response time but offering no detailed analysis about what is causing the problem. In that regard, the difference between WildPackets’ solutions and other products is night and day.

The OmniPeek Network Analyzer allows network engineers to drill down through detailed analysis and reports to get to the heart of any problem and troubleshoot quickly. These detailed data views provide engineers an unprecedented understanding of how networks and applications are performing and how that performance is affecting end users. OmniPeek also offers application performance monitoring in the context of overall network activity with metrics like:

  • Round-trip network delay
  • Server responsiveness
  • Database transactions per second
  • Application vs. network response times

Even if your development team creates dynamic applications your competitors don’t offer, they can’t create value if they don’t perform optimally. Like any offering, applications are assets that should be protected—and with the OmniPeek Analyzer, yours will be safe and sound.

Click here to download our white paper, “Application Performance Index: Measuring the Quality of Experience.”

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 10.2.0.56 and 206.169.145.205 on port 80 is by far the largest flow, and we know that 10.2.0.56 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.