Users are calling in hot and heavy… things are slowing down. Why?
It's mid morning, everybody is already logged in but they complain loudly about response times. Quickly checking the server shows nothing wrong, CPU is humming at 20%, memory usage is only 50%. What the heck is going on?
You may have a Broadcast Storm on the network, or something else sucks up your bandwidth!
So how do you find out about that? You need a Network Protocol analyzer. These tools capture and decode the traffic between two or more systems or devices. Decoding allows you to view the conversation in English, as opposed to "binary" language. Packet Capture and Packet Decode help you to isolate problems. Viewing specific packet details shows exactly what is happening.
Protocol analyzers provide you information about the traffic flow on your network. LanHound also includes network monitoring – that is statistics and trend information on your network traffic.
The Different Ways Admins Utilize LanHound. LanHound has become very popular very fast. It's a great packet sniffer at extremely low cost. We asked system and network admins who bought it what they are using it for:
Slow response times: See traffic congestion quickly.
Broadcast or multicast storms: Set an alarm for unusually high traffic of these types.
Traffic by station: View traffic generated by each station and server to see which stations are consuming the most bandwidth.
Hanging network sessions: Find who sent the last packet, and which system failed to respond.
User can't logon: Capture login negotiations, retransmits and response times to determine where the problem is, and where to focus your attention.
Security Lapses: Find out if users are checking POP3 email or going to FTP sites using unencrypted passwords.
Duplicate IP numbers: See if there are duplicate IP addresses on a monitored segment.
LanHound has two major components:
Let's start with Network Monitoring, in what situations would you use LanHound?
Network monitors provide statistics that help you to justify new hardware.
If the network response times are slow, network monitors can display the traffic congestion.
Network monitoring displays the percentage of your LAN bandwidth that a particular protocol is using. This helps determine efficient segmentation, and allows for problem isolation based on application or server type.
Find the hogs! The LanHound 'Traffic Matrix' and 'Host Table' options show the traffic generation by each station and server. This information shows who is using bandwidth. For example, if a station is generating a significant portion of the network traffic, this could indicate a hardware problem (e.g. defective network adapter) or an individual/application generating more network traffic than expected.
So now, what would you use Protocol Analysis for?
If a network session "hangs", protocol analyzers can show who sent the last packet, and which system failed to respond.
Problems with network printing – Packet Capture shows you if the station actually sent the job to the printer.
Users complain they can't log in - Packet Capture shows you login negotiations, retransmits and response times to determine where the problem is, and where to focus your attention.
What are the major features of LanHound?
Protocol analyzer & network monitor with Internet traffic analysis
Native Win32 application program for Windows 98/NT4.0/2000/XP/2003
Uses existing Ethernet, Fast Ethernet, Token Ring or WAN NIC
Intercepts packets in and out of the workstation or server
Captures all packets from the network segment (promiscuous mode)
Decodes 802.3, 802.5, VLAN, AppleTalk, IPX/SPX, NetBEUI, TCP/IP protocols
Displays accumulated and historical network statistics in graphical formats
Shows historical statistics with threshold and alarm
Tells who was connecting to what Internet site
Automatically records host names, IPs, MAC Address
Shows host name or MAC/IP address in all application windows
Queries DNS to translate remote IP address into Internet site name
Supports Token Ring networks
Distributed LanHound Agents for remote monitoring; remote agent are sold separately
LanHound requires the following:
Windows 98, ME, NT 4.0 (SP6a or higher), 2000 (SP1 or higher), XP, 2003
Pentium 200 with 32MB RAM
Ethernet, Fast Ethernet, or Gigabit Ethernet network interface card (NIC), Microsoft TCP/IP protocol installed
Due to the nature of packet capture software, it is recommended installing LanHound on a workstation that has sufficient CPU cycles available. Installing it on a busy (or mission critical) server is definitely not recommended.
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