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Research and Development

 

Xena Networks’ testing platforms have been built to test network components in laboratories and development environments. The world's leading network equipment manufacturers use Xena’s testers.

Function tests - Companies who develop new Gigabit Ethernet devices or technologies in their R&D labs require a solution with all the important functions to perform experiments and function tests on new devices and networks. Xena combines easy-to-use GUI-based software applications with a powerful yet simple CLI (Command Line Interface), which is why Xena Networks test solutions are used in development laboratories across the globe.

 

Conformance testing

Xena Networks and Veryx Technologies have created a test platform that combines Xena's extremely fast, powerful Ethernet test hardware with Veryx’s large portfolio of test suites for functional and conformance tests in IP and Ethernet environments. This results in a unique test platform, which allows network and device managers to carry out functional tests for a variety of network protocols, including Carrier Ethernet CE 2.0 (as well as MEF 9, MEF 14 and MEF 21), Carrier Ethernet OAM and Carrier Ethernet Ring Protection Switching, such as IPv6 Forum host and router conformance tests.

 

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Xena's strong price/performance ratio is the best in the industry and allows R&D departments to test scenarios on large numbers of ports at a fraction of the cost of other test solutions. This includes tests on Ethernet speeds from 10Mbit/s to 100GBit/s as well as mass testing of OTN network components with a high number of ports.



Production and quality assurance

Testers who use Xena benefit from an indispensible precision, reliability, scalability and scripting capability for testing in manufacturing environments and quality assurance. Xena’s test equipment is used in production environments for testing telecommunication networks, optical transceivers and upgraded network devices for businesses and end users. Quality assurance - Standard test suites such as RFC 2544 are used to check systems and hardware and the test results can easily be documented for quality assurance purposes. Xena’s test suites can run in both GUI and script environments, which means that interleaved debugging is possible for both.

Manufacturing - Quality and yield statistics can be documented to test manufacturing performance, which helps to improve production. In automated production environments Xena provides powerful yet simple CLI (Command Line Interface) controls via scripting through languages such as TCL, Python, Perl, Java, and Visual Basic. Due to its simplicity and ease of use it has an excellent reputation in the industry.

 

Network tests

The demand for Xena’s devices is rising across the world along with the steady increase in Ethernet access and regional transmission networks. Users are deploying Ethernet transmission services of up to 100G between sites and aggregation points and using high-speed backhaul links for mobile technologies such as LTE.

Pre-deployment and component selection - This includes functional and conformance tests to MEF 2.0 standard for Carrier Ethernet and Ethernet Ring Protection Switching. Other pre-deployment and component validation applications include real-time chart-based analysis for different QoS/DSCP traffic types (jitter, latency, loss) as the network is loaded. There’s also a highly accurate analysis of the network’s convergence time following a line failure.



Service delivery

Network service providers use Xena Networks’ test devices to ensure that network performance meets their service level agreements (SLAs). They use standard test suites such as Y.1564 for testing mobile backhaul services, or to handle mass activation of Ethernet services for business customers at central and remote office locations. Other applications include RFC 2544, which determines suitable GFP mapping for Ethernet over SONET applications. Xena’s unique test suite can also be used to run automated Ethernet transparency tests. 

In-service tests: Network service providers use Xena to test the SLA compliance of Ethernet backhaul circuits for throughput, jitter, delay and burst using Y.1564. Xena applications offer flexibility through scripting which enables service providers to easily integrate tens to hundreds of tests or SLA checks into their automated network infrastructure at the same time as network maintenance is taking place.

 

Monitoring

Xena’s tools can be used to monitor performance in various ways, including long-term monitoring and logging throughput, packet loss in wireless connectivity, performance analysis in multicast video networks and precise real-time analysis of latency and jitter. Applications that aren’t related to performance monitoring include characterisation and analysis of OAM flows in networks.

 

Sales and customer support

Xena Networks testers are ideal for any customer who is trying out a new device and needs performance analysis. Demonstrations: Thanks for the light weight and compact nature of XenaCompact the products can be easily transported from the lab environment and technical sales and marketing staff can set up test scenarios from the R&D laboratory at fairs and other events. This includes, for example, Synchronous Ethernet (SyncE) demonstrations as laboratory feasibility studies. 

Site troubleshooting – Debugging network problems on a customer’s site can often require a tool with diverse functions for performance testing. Xena’s testers provide a cost-effective alternative to traditional testers for in-field troubleshooting.

Technical support offices-The unique price/performance ratio of Xena’s test equipment means they’re the ideal solution for remote applications and customer support offices.

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The best price in relation to performance - modular 100Gbps solutions

 

Xena Networks provides a new class of professional Gigabit Ethernet testers which set new standards when it comes to price vs. performance including load and functional tests on Ethernet devices and networks.

Suppliers of Ethernet network devices and service providers will benefit from the fact that Xena Network’s test platform is easy to use, cost efficient, interoperable and scalable. It’s also the world’s best test port since it has the highest density and lowest power consumption, providing a test platform that’s fit for the future. Developers, systems integrators and those who provide solutions for Ethernet network equipment can implement Xena Network’s test platform along with, or as a substitute for, test equipment by Ixia and Spirent. The price offered beats developing in-house test solutions.

High-precision, stream-based, wire-speed traffic is generated and analysed to test network devices under specific predetermined conditions including errors, different loads and random events. Packet formats are defined through individual packet bytes, packet spacing, transmission rates and bursts, which are measured with byte and Kbps accuracy. Manufacturers of network equipment and service providers can prove their guarantee of triple play QoE for the end user when faced with network congestion. This is achieved by generating traffic loads that mimic tens of thousands of individual users.


For ad-hoc testing, a free Windows interface is included (XenaManager). In addition, remote management is provided for test equipment in different locations as well as GUI clients for automated testing for RFC 2544 (known as Xena2544) and Y.1564 (using Xena1564). Users can automate testing in any software environment thanks to an open TCP/IP-based text API and convert both to and from generic Xena's Command Line Interface (CLI) using Perl, VBA, Tcl, Java wrappers and Python. The Xena Networks test platform offers a full suite of copper and optical Gigabit Ethernet products as well as 10/40/100 Gigabit Ethernet modules. The 10/40/100 Gigabit Ethernet interfaces include optical SFP+, XFP, SR4, LR4, and SR10. The Gigabit Ethernet interfaces include 10/100/1000M copper Ethernet and optical 100/1000M Ethernet.

 

Test Components

Xena Networks has developed a flexible layer 2-3 testing platform with a high port density, which can easily be used alongside test software from third parties, including Veryx ATTEST. The clients are connected to the test platform by means of Gigabit Ethernet interfaces and this method supports remote access through IP addressing. Xena’s wire-speed test module comes in two highly compact versions, which are 1U (XenaCompact) and 4U (XenaBay). These provide full support in multi-user environments for GUI and automated test sessions.

 

Data stream-oriented traffic generation

A user can generate hundreds of transmit/receive streams, each with their own traffic profiles. Each data stream can produce up to 100,000 individual traffic flows using programmable packet field modifiers for incremental or randomly generated field values, such as MAC addresses, IP addresses or VLAN identifiers. This helps you to scale your tests based on the maximum parameters of your device or network.

Users can specify the stream rate to reflect a certain percentage of the total line rate. The stream rate can also be set according to bit rate and frames per second. Data packets can be introduced as a one-off packet shot or as multiple packets based on duration in terms of time. Continuous mode is also an option. Users can set traffic profiles that are either uniform or run in bursts. A graphic field editor processes individual packets and using predefined packet templates, various packet formats can be created for Ethernet, Ethernet II, ARP, VLAN, IPv4, IPv6, UDP, LLC, TCP, GTP, SNAP, MPLS, ICMP, STP, SCTP, RTP, RTCP, PBB, FCoE and IGMPv2/3. The user is also able to specify their own format.


Analyzes and reports in real time

Flow statistics are produced per stream or based on user-defined filters, which can be specified to use different combinations of programmable field values. Automatic test payload fields can be optionally inserted to identify incoming packet streams. Analysis of traffic latency, throughput, jitter, sequence, loss and request errors are created for each stream of realtime data with an accuracy of 16/32 ns. This depends on the type of interface and whether it's optical or electrical. Users can record the wire-speed of packets for analysis from any port and export using the Hotbutton to Wireshark or OmnniPeek analysis tools. The latter offers unique opportunities to identify and isolate performance problems associated with event triggering and programmable filters.

API scripting from any tool environment with XenaScripting-XenaScripting is a free and open API specification of a Command Line Interface (CLI) and users can create scripts so that tests are automated regardless of the scripting environment or tool used. The only condition is that the scripting environment must support text and line-based TCP/IP communications. Changes made using XenaScripting are automatically displayed in the user interface. Users can log in to Xena's test platform from any scripting environment including local and commercial settings thanks to Xena's user-friendly unique scripting that can be used anywhere. The scripting environment uses languages such as Tcl, Python, Perl, VBA and Java. Wrappers are used to convert existing script APIs into the generic Xena API. 


Microsoft Excel provides another option for the user to configure and run tests as well as produce reports. This is an alternative to GUI and other test scripts and allows a user to configure, use and log statistics through the familiar Excel application. Xena provides templates for MS Excel using VBA to communicate with the test environment. This is achieved using Xena TCP/IP settings and anyone who’s familiar with MS Excel will find it’s a powerful way to operate.


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Data stream method and network flow
transfer method

  • Overlapping or sequential data stream
  • Generation of bursts or continuous sending of a fixed packet number of 1 to 4 billion packets
  • Latency measurement over several ports with an accuracy of 16/32 ns, depending on the interface type (optical/electrical)
  • Constant (100% uniform) as well as distributions in bursts
  • Loads can be set to be a percentage of the line rate, frames per second or Megabytes per second
  • Burst parameters are defined in the packet header by burst length and density
  • Specified by the user or Ethernet, Ethernet II, ARP, VLAN, UDP, IPv4, IPv6, TCP, SNAP, LLC, GTP, RTP, RTCP, ICMP, STP, SCTP, PBB, MPLS, IGMPv2/3, FCoE 
  • Any field within the packet template can be set to invalid values for negative tests
  • Incremental 8-bit pattern
  • PRBS-31
  • Automatic fill with a user defined pattern
  • Up to five field modifiers can be applied within the packet for each stream. The modifiers can be chained together.
  • A field modifier can be set to increase incrementally or decrease to a random value within a specific range. For example, incremental VLAN ID and traversing the IP ToS field. 
  • Fixed - sämtliche Frames des Datenstroms werden mit derselben Länge gesendet
  • Incremental increase/decrease - from a specified minimum and maximum length
  • Random - random selection from a range between a specified minimum and maximum length
  • Butterfly - uniform selection from a range between a specified minimum and maximum length
  • MIX - approximation of Internet traffic with typical packet lengths from 56-1518 Bytes

 

Test-load

There’s an option to automatically set up a proprietary test load in packet form. This allows the test platform to show packet loss per stream, min/max/average latency, load integrity, sequence errors and incorrect request statistics.

Checksum calculations

The FCS and CRC values of packet templates can be calculated automatically or set to incorrect values.

 

Statistics per port

  • Packets/octets per port, FCS errors, packets/octets for traffic with and without a test load
  • Packets/octets for up to six custom traffic filters which are fully user-definable, using up to six individual patterns and length comparison values 
  • Technical specifications during equipment tests can be changed, even if packets are received with different encapsulations or with modified content
  • Test packets/octets, sequence errors, packets that are requested incorrectly, load integrity, minimum and maximum latency, average latency, minimum noise, average noise, maximum interference

Packet Capture

  • Triggers and filters can be set so that they are triggered in the event of certain events and tap into packets that meet specific criteria
  • Using AND/OR expressions more criteria can be specified
  • The criteria can be completely user-defined or determined by using a predetermined filter
  • Export via Hotbutton to the Wireshark analysis tool

Capture criteria

  • Any combination of custom multiple packet field values
  • Packets with FCS errors 
  • Packets belonging to a specific data stream
  • Packets that meet user-defined filter criteria, for example, IPv4, IPv6, VLAN, UDP 

Capture Triggers

  • Jeder empfangene Frame
  • Packets that meet user-defined filter criteria, for example, IPv4, IPv6, VLAN, UDP
  • Packets with FCS errors


Lab Tests

Xena Networks’ test platform is designed to carry out hardware tests and negative tests in development environments. This allows tests can be carried out across multiple ports at a fraction of the cost of existing test solutions. In the past, manufacturers made commercial test platforms with internally-built PC/FPGA platforms and the Xena Networks solution is an ideal replacement for these. For network devices with a lower capacity of only 1 or 2 Gbit or 10Gbit Ethernet ports, a single 1U is enough for the Xena test system to generate wire-speed tests and analysis. Key features include wire-speed generation of traffic and analysis, a GUI framework, an open protocol for TCP/IP scripts and integration with a wide range of function and conformity tests.

 

Network infrastructure testing

Ethernet access, aggregation and regional transmission networks are increasingly used all over the world. Many operators already use anything from 1 to 10 Gbit/s Ethernet transmissions between sites and aggregation points. To remain competitive, network service providers must check their network performance SLAs according to peak times. This will help to determine what can be guaranteed to the end user in various network scenarios. Xena Network’s test platform promotes efficient remote IP management, compact form factor and wire-speed Layer 2-3 stress tests to help the transmission link or network to work at full capacity. This is achieved by sending hundreds of Gbit/s of test traffic through multiple network access points.


New Gigabit wireless technologies require new monitoring solutions

 

Wireless networks are used everywhere and the number of connected devices is growing exponentially. A quick Google search reveals that, every day, billions of devices are tethered. If you depart from the "Internet of Things", these estimates are too small.

We’re also experiencing another Wi-Fi revolution in terms of the speed and capacity of wireless network infrastructures. With the introduction of 802.11ac, WLANs are now moving in Gigabit speed range and introducing new versions of 802.11ac should easily see data rates up to 6,93Gbit/s.

Wireless users are excited about this new transmission speed but the rapid expansion of WLANs causes considerable difficulties for those who are responsible for managing Wireless Local Area Networks (WLAN). The solutions and methods that worked for 208.11a/b/g networks with 54Mb/s are out of date and can't be adapted to today's Wi-Fi technology. New solutions and methods must be found to ensure the performance and safety of 802.11ac networks.

 

OmniPeek for Wireless performs, is easy to use and flexible

OmniPeek’s WildPackets WiFi analysis solution takes into account the demands of today's wireless infrastructure. It was specially developed to capture data in high-speed networks and can even work in its entirety within the fastest 802.11ac network environment. The award winning user interface simplifies WLAN analysis and enables network engineers to quickly solve problems. Flexible solutions for data analysis and storage enables administrators to work with OmniPeek in the way that suits them best - be it mobile, dispersed or remote. Wireless forensics can be used for business-critical applications to record wireless data for subsequent detailed analysis and examinations.

 

OmniPeek provides the most advanced technology currently available for the analysis of Wi-Fi infrastructure and is:

  • The first solution to support the capture and analysis of 802.11ac traffic
  • The only solution to support portable analysis of 802.11n 3-stream (450Mbps) traffic
  • The most comprehensive analysis of VoFi (voice over wireless)
  • The only solution that supports the recording of remote data for commercial enterprise APs
  • Perfect for 24x7 real-time remote analysis in distributed network environments
  • The only solution to evaluate even non-technical data packets
  • A solution for analysing and monitoring wired and wireless networks
  • The most complete solution equipped with an industry-leading UI, making troubleshooting easy

 

Flexible data collection in high-speed networks

Mobile Analysis
Mobile analysis has been a common approach for wireless analysis for the last two years. OmniPeek’s WLAN analysis software can be switched to listening mode along with special wireless adapters to simultaneously analyse data packets on multiple channels. Field engineers and IT consultants greatly value this type of software since mobility is one of the most important requirements.

Remote Analysis
The number of wireless networks is increasing constantly and managers need reliable 24x7 monitoring solutions for WLAN environments. If you use remote analysis, on-site troubleshooting is superfluous and you can easily evaluate errors together with other important safety aspects regardless of your location. OmniPeek's remote analysis uses the existing network infrastructure to evaluate wireless data through the analytical processor. Using the remote capture process, information needed to monitor the access point via the existing LAN infrastructure can be forwarded to the appropriate administrator’s PC. This approach is always useful if the problem isn’t located in your immediate vicinity.

 

Element 1
Element 2

 

Distributed WLAN analysis
For distributed WLAN analysis in distributed and larger WLAN environments, data to be captured for analysis can be easily forwarded through WLAN Controllers to the Omnipliance Wi-Fi solution in just a few steps. Continuous and uninterrupted Wi-Fi analysis takes place locally within Omnipliance. This approach is particularly recommended for networks with a large volume of Wi-Fi data and in dispersed operating environments.
 
WLAN Forensics
Omnipliance’s dispersed WLAN analysis enables you to carry out uninterrupted continuous Wi-Fi traffic recording. You can then analyse wireless problems in real time or through the process known as WLAN forensics. Using wireless forensics, you can shorten your response times to service shortfalls and failures, which helps to increase availability while saving IT costs. WLAN forensics is of great benefit in mission-critical environments and also enables security analyses to be carried out.

 

The advantages of OmniPeek professional wireless

WLAN capture from any location – independent of technology
WiFi networks are widely dispersed. In most cases, it’s almost impossible to be there on the spot when the problem has been reported. You must be able to remotely collect and analyse data with what's out there and record wireless traffic over the latest wireless devices, including 802.11ac 3-stream and 4-stream. OmniPeek provides just the right support that you need to do this. No other product offers this level of flexibility.

Display who is connected and the APs used
Before beginning an analysis, you first need to get an overview. The wireless aspect in OmniPeek helps you to display all available networks, including which APs are supplying which networks and which clients are connected through which APs. You can also see in detail all associated configuration information (bands, channels, security settings, signals, noise, data rates, etc.).

Detailed analyses, suitable for any situation
Using its unrivalled fully fledged analytical skills, OmniPeek can trace the cause of any problem in your WLAN. OmniPeek’s applications range from dealing with problems such as poor availability or complete loss of an AP, to complex problems such as intermittent dropouts for individual BYOD devices.


Multichannel analysis - transparency for all Wi-Fi traffic
Most WLANs are operated on several channels to prevent each AP from interfering with the others. Analysis solutions that only consider individual channels don’t provide the level of detail essential for analysis and troubleshooting. Your WLAN analysis solution must be able to record all data simultaneously on several channels with no gaps and this is exactly what OmniPeek does!

Expert events - alarms when wireless problems occur
What use is WLAN network analysis when you need to spend all your time sitting in front of it? A solution that's efficient, runs around the clock and performs the complete analyses for you leaves you free to attend to other important things. When problems occur, you’re notified immediately and can then take action quickly. OmniPeek provides more than 50 different wireless-specific expert analysis functions that continuously monitor and analyse your WLAN for you.

Roaming analysis - analyse past events as if they had just happened
Wireless networks are designed for mobile applications and this infrastructure is becoming increasingly important for users because it now also runs business-critical applications. As analysts, we know that we're dealing with a broad range of problems, which we’ve never come across in traditional LANs. Once users connect to a wireless network, roaming will be "the" problem that has the greatest impact on user satisfaction. Passing from AP to AP (known as hand-off) takes time. Although a variety of 802.11 standards and enhancements have been introduced, this can cause serious problems for the user, such as bad VoFi (voice over Wi-Fi) quality due to falling VPN connections. OmniPeek’s permanent and 24/7 WLAN analysis identifies and records all roaming activities, whether these are from AP to AP, from channel to channel, or both. It reports on the roaming times from clients and APs and, with just a single click, displays detailed and transparent roaming activity with accuracy to the millisecond.

Filters only the relevant data
The Network Analyser captures large amounts of data very quickly. OmniPeek is obviously capable of this but, when it comes to analysing the data, smaller datasets can be much easier to manage, especially when you know exactly where to find what you’re looking for. OmniPeek allows you to set filters before you start recording so the data collected will be reduced or temporarily filtered out so it can be shown more easily. The collected data remains completely unaffected, so you can change the filter if necessary to find exactly what you’re looking for.

OmniPeek provides over 100 built-in filters, of which about half are specially designed for WLANs. Custom filters can be easily created using a graphical kit and integrated immediately.

Manage BYOD using rogue detection
Given the rapid development of BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) distinguishing friend and foe in your WLAN is an essential task. OmniPeek helps you to do this by using independent device classification. Once you’ve classified a device, it’s stored in the OmniPeek name table and is always recognised and classified in the same manner. Devices can be trustworthy (Trusted), known (Known) or unknown (Unknown). Trusted devices are usually your own or those over which you have control. Known devices may be, for example, neighbouring APs in that you know they're there, but have no control over them. Unknown devices should always be examined because these could include prohibited or malicious IEDs (rogue devices).

Practical reports and applications

For nearly every organization whose business processes rely on IT, there is a need for network and application performance management.

 

The special challenges of IT management, which have a direct impact on performance management, include:

  • A large number of different applications
  • High sensitivity to availability and performance
  • Large impact of many applications on operational productivity
  • Increasingly rapid changes (mergers, centralization, IT integration)
  • limited IT resources
  • Open systems in the direction of external users / partners

 

Why is performance management an indispensable part of the IT management toolset?

  • Avoiding operational and productivity losses
  • Support for complexity
  • The need for collaborative problem-solving processes (internally and with external partners)
  • Appropriate handling of changes

 

This whitepaper is based on many years of customer feedback and represents a selection of application scenarios in which Performance Vision is used by SecurActive.

Challenge IT performance


Enormous application diversity

1141/5000 The number of applications running on the company's own infrastructure is increasing: each has now become double-digit applications, and larger organizations can go into the hundreds.

Each department now has special applications that support its operation. In some cases, individual departments process the same operations with applications from different manufacturers.

The result is an infrastructure that is used by a very large number of applications. Accordingly, it is difficult for IT administrators in the infrastructure sector to get a complete overview of how each application runs on the network. Furthermore, many manufacturers are highly specialized and relatively small companies. Their technological basis is sometimes no longer up-to-date, in some cases even inadequate with regard to new implementation scenarios (WAN provision, WiFi, remote access, etc.). This diversity culminates in an extremely high complexity for the infrastructure administrator.

 

High sensitivity to availability and performance

By definition, many organizations run 24 hours and 7 days per week without exception, and all business operations must be available at all times.

Time is a critical factor in providing products and in terms of the ability to support processes that in turn support your services.

Many applications have a great impact on your employees:

  • Einige Applikationen sind geschäftskritisch und Ausfälle oder Fehlfunktionen lassen sich unmittelbar in Form von Umsatzeinbußen messen.
  • Andere, weniger kritische Anwendungen haben direkte Auswirkungen auf die Produktivität Ihrer Mitarbeiter und ragen weit in kritische Abläufe und Prozesse hinein.

 

Increasingly faster changes

Many companies have quickly introduced computer applications to support many processes. Very few processes are still independent of IT applications today. IT and business operations are now closely interrelated, which has led to great productivity gains but also to high dependency on the IT infrastructure.

 

The need to open up and share common systems

Companies must now have the ability to make information available outside their corporate network. For example, resellers, dealers and customers who are based in other locations need access to deal with the company.

 

Limited IT resources

Despite the increasing support of business operations through computing and general growth, as well as the merging of companies, the size of IT administration teams has hardly changed.

 

What will bring you performance management?

Performance management solutions support IT:

  • to recognize the performance as perceived by the end user
  • find the cause of speed losses quickly
  • understand how their infrastructure is used
  • as well as to continuously improve overall performance



Given the complexity of the IT systems and the available resources, N / APM solutions are needed that support the IT infrastructure team in providing the right foundation for business operations.

Organizations that implement network-based N / APM solutions typically undergo the following four phases to significantly improve performance with their N / N / APM solution:



Performance Review

Immediately after implementing the N / APM tool, the teams usually begin collecting current performance data from their IT systems. They identify a list of problem areas that have accumulated over time and various IT migrations over the past few years. Some of them affect the end users, some do not, or not.

Within a few days they determine:

• The applications with the worst performance

+ A transparent presentation of the applications with the worst performance from the end user's point of view.
+ Clear view of the origin of deceleration / insufficient performance (server, application, network, etc.)

• Performance gaps within the network

+ Which segments are affected?
+ For which applications?

• Name resolution problems

+ DNS / WINS server performance
+ Incorrect DNS targets
+ DNS configuration on system level (eg no cache)

• Incorrectly configured hosts / servers

+ Systems with an inherited inadequate configuration
+ Poor network configuration
+ Blocked network traffic

• Abuse / bandwidth

+ Unnecessary network usage (unauthorized applications)
+ Consumption-intensive applications
+ Processes that are in unfavorable timeframes (eg backups).

After this initial assessment, the IT infrastructure team has typically provided a clear picture of a whole series of problem areas, and is thus able to create a design to improve overall IT performance.

 

Accelerated problem solving and reduction of operating losses

Once the N / APM solution is ready for use, it should reduce the time that end users are affected by poor performance. The cost of performance degradation is directly related to the speed at which the problems are resolved (for more information, see the following whitepaper: "The cost of performance degradation").

 

The solution should be able to influence MTTR (Mean Time To Resolve) in various stages of the problem solving process:

 

Improve response times

Organizations that do not have a performance management tool for their network and business critical applications are informed by end users about the issues.

This information source is very slow because:

  • Users usually only call when they are angry or desperate.
  • Because the performance statements are based on the user's subjective feedback, they are not a reliable source of information from the administrators' point of view, as long as no large number of users are affected or the problem is escalated.
  • User feedback is too inaccurate or not sufficiently specific to allow the administrator to diagnose the problem. This is often confronted with statements such as "the network is too slow," where clear information about the problem, such as the affected application, the time of the disruption, which transaction was currently running, and exactly when it was executed, etc. would be important to him.
  • Performance bottlenecks often occur only on a temporary basis, that is, even when they are reported, the administrator can not analyze what has just happened without an adequate tool.



An N / APM solution reduces reaction times in many ways:

  • Administrators are informed of the most serious limitations before users reach the phone.
  • Administrators can rely on objective, unambiguous metrics to evaluate the Quality of Experience and clearly identify deterioration.
  • Administrators have a detailed information history of the incident and can start the diagnosis.

Find the origin of the problem

At this point, most enterprises that do not have any tools fail: performance perception is subjective, the problem only occurs in a timely manner, and traditional monitoring tools focus exclusively on availability and resource consumption (and do not track performance) , This means that most IT departments in their environment (network, server, database, etc.) can not find anything extraordinary and then limit themselves to the proof that the infrastructure section for which they are responsible is not responsible for the problem.



Until the problem is escalated and a clear decision to analyze the problem may take several days or even weeks. During this time, valuable productivity is lost on the user's side, enterprise productivity drops, and frustration is spreading on both the user and the administrator side.

 

A performance management solution follows the development of the Quality of Experience and also provides a user-friendly interface to display using a set of metrics that allow the administrator to answer the following questions with a single click into the main dashboard:

  • Is there a deterioration in performance?
  • For which applications?
  • For which users?
  • Where is the cause of the deterioration? (Network, server, data volume, etc.)


A few additional clicks allow the administrator to view the activities and transactions of a single user in detail. Once you have automatically passed all this information to all (internal and external) stakeholders, the joint problem-solving process can begin, with each department taking over the part that falls within its competence.

 

Determine the cause

Once you have access to the information above, and your performance editor automatically makes a record of the slow transactions, it becomes easy to determine the cause. To gather the same information, you would have to evaluate protocols, configuration files and graphical analyzes from traditional monitoring solutions in order to get to the root cause.

 

Application

We received a screenshot of a customer who wanted to share his experience with us. A lot can be learned from this. We can see exactly how the Quality of Experience has evolved for a given application during the day.

  • It is clear that the server response time (blue) has deteriorated more and more over the course of the morning and only a limited number of transactions have been processed.
  • at 12:15 pm the application crashes.
  • After 15 minutes the application restarts and the response time of the server 8In Blue) normalizes. There are now significantly more transactions processed, probably to catch up those that could not be processed in the morning. Our customer has reported to us that the application ran a "suboptimal" RAM usage by keeping any file opened by a user and then not closed (and it seems to be a large number of files to go) in the RAM stored. As soon as a certain number was exceeded, this was no longer possible, the server began to transfer the files to the hard disk, thus slowing down.


Proactive management

Once the organization has the ability to deal with performance degradation, the next step is to protect users from restrictions. A performance management solution helps by focusing the attention of the administrator on potential problem areas and supporting it in improving performance even if there are no user complaints. In fact, users take the initiative only when the poor performance seriously affects their productivity. It is important to seek improvements for particularly critical business applications to contribute to the efficiency of the company.


Performance management solutions provide you with the following:

  • Track errors / problem areas within your infrastructure
  • The actual performance levels and drivers
  • The ability to communicate clear and unambiguous data on performance

A performance management solution reports problems, even if they do not result in user side complaints: configuration errors, such as systems that call a primary DNS server that does not respond, lacking a system's cache, non-availability of a system in An application chain, bandwidth guzzlers, network capacity abuse, etc. It is likely that these problems are currently causing a slowdown. In combination with other problems, they can be the cause of future performance degradation. By identifying these problems, a performance management solution can help prevent future losses.

A performance management solution also reports trends and performance drivers of individual applications. Based on this, intelligent adaptations are possible, which proactively improve the performance of this application.


Excerpt from the presentation of a software developer who describes the application improvements using Performance Vision.
On this slide, the software manufacturer explains that the elapsed time in the server response time (blue part of the cumulative graph) has dropped nearly 800 ms. The server performance is now much more stable (see second graph) and rarely exceeds 60 ms (with increased application activity - from 12,000 to 16,000 transactions at peak times).
(Note: This graphic shows three colors: blue for server response time, pink for data transfer times, and yellow for response time of the network.


Excerpt from the presentation of the software producer, which represents the reduction of the average server response time (SRT).
On the second slide the software house shows the reduction of the average server response time from 160 to 40 ms. According to our customer, the feedback of end users has already been proven to improve.

 

Change Management

Companies see themselves exposed to a high number of rapid changes from year to year. These may differ in size, but always involve a certain risk with respect to the performance level for the end user. Changes that affect the IT team range from the simple provision of new application versions through application migrations to the merger of IT landscapes.

To minimize the risks associated with such changes, IT administrators need to evaluate the current state of their infrastructure (efficiency, current problems, network and application performance), the impact of the changes, and control the real impact during and after migration. Lack of transparency leads either to performance degradation or to an over-dimensioning of capacity and thus to a waste of financial resources.

 

How can you select your performance management solution?

 

Various performance management approaches

There are three main approaches to performance monitoring. All three are based on different methods for collecting data and measuring response times:

  • Monitoring from the end user perspective (a robot plays predetermined scenarios to evaluate general and user-specific transaction times.)
  • Network and application performance monitoring (Application traffic across the network (between clients and front-end servers as well as within the application chain) is recorded across a number of measurement points.
  • Agent-based application performance monitoring (agents on all servers in the application chain monitor execution of the application at program and system resource levels.)


Obviously, one would pursue all three approaches under ideal conditions (unlimited resources in the form of employees, time and money). However, since this is rarely the case, prioritization is necessary. Here you can see the advantages / disadvantages of the individual approaches:

 

N/APM-TypEnd user viewAgent-basedNetwork Based
Questions answered: • How has the Quality of Experience developed in relation to the standard procedures of my most important applications? • Which link in the application chain causes the slowdown?
• Which transaction is slow?
• Which part of the program code has long durations?
• Is there a slowdown?
• Which applications and users are affected?
• What causes the slowdown (network, server, data transfer)?
• For which transactions?
Border: • Not matched to actual usage / user behavior
• Not self-explanatory (does not tell you what or why something fails)
• No view of the application availability in the network
• No view of the application environment (network, other applications ...)
• no view of the cause of server-side problems (program code, server resources ...)
Limitations: • Agent or robot must be deployed on each client
• Configuration of each scenario
• Agent must be deployed on each server
• Impact on server performance
• Traffic recording via SPAN or TAP
Scope: • One or more critical applications • One or more critical applications • All applications distributed over the network
The main users: • Helpdesk, reporting for management • Development teams, quality assurance • Infrastructure team, helpdesk

 

Why is network and application performance monitoring more appropriate for most organizations?

We believe that among the various performance management solutions, the network-based approach is the most common approach for most companies. Here are the reasons why these solutions are better:

  • Number of applications: Hospitals can not afford to implement an implementation for each application chain. It would be far too expensive for these multiple scenarios to implement server agents or to set up robots - both financially and personally.
  • Network provision is indispensable for many applications. The network-based approach is the only one that takes this into account.
  • Operating costs: Most companies can not afford immense financial and human capital investments for performance management. They need easy-to-implement and maintain solutions.

 

Selection criteria for your performance management solution

 

When you select a network and application performance monitoring solution, it is important to choose one that is specifically tailored to your needs.

 

ElementDescription
Number of applications: A performance management solution has to deal with tens of thousands of different applications. You should reject approaches that are based on filtering applications to restrict performance measurements to a few critical metrics. Many applications are critical. Infrastructure teams do not always know in advance, which is critical for each department. It is indispensable that the solution collects performance metrics for all processes that are cut-to-size. In the same way, the analysis environment should be restricted to a set of predefined applications (HTTP, SQL).
IT resources required: The solution should not require additional resources, but save your current resources time. It is very important that all administration aspects of the Performace Management solution remain as simple as possible:
Simplicity of installation
Simplicity of administration (updates, etc.), integration into your SNMP-
Operating costs (TCO): The cost of the application must be within the budget of company IT. You should consider the cost of extending the coverage through the performance management solution for your future architecture (e.g., multiple active data centers, virtualized)
Distributed solution: The additional cost of providing the solution should be in one
Support for virtualization: The solution should provide several options for collecting virtual traffic, for example, traffic between multiple virtual machines

The highest level of service quality for your wireless network

 

Increasingly mobile professionals expect their wireless network to provide the same quality of service that they’re accustomed to from cable networks. Mobile networks, however, place very specific demands on network analysis. Access points may be static and users aren’t guaranteed, moving from one access point to another and expecting services to continue to run seamlessly. So what happens when this isn’t the case? You can’t continue to analyse data on a single AP, or even on a single channel, because your network uses a variety of non-overlapping channels to avoid interference from AP to AP (co-channel).


Multichannel analysis

Savvius is currently the only manufacturer on the market to provide a solution to handle this type of complexity. Savvius provides multiple APs and channels with complex analysis to quickly identify problem areas - all in real time. Wireless clients move from AP to AP and from channel to channel without any user awareness. This can happen even if the user remains at the same location and a busy AP can reject a user, so the wireless client moves to another channel to go through to another AP. To detect such events, your network analysis tool must simultaneously record all data on all affected channels. Traditional solutions scan from channel to channel, creating large data gaps. For example, if you use a typical scanning tool for the three non-overlapping channels 1, 6 and 11, about two-thirds of all data is overlooked since the scan is on a channel to channel basis. How do you expect mobile users to live with this solution in today’s world? Savvius OmniPeek’s Wi-Fi adapter captures network traffic simultaneously across multiple channels and the application data is analysed to reflect what’s really happening, recording and analysing all data on all channels in real time.

 

Roaming Analysis

 

Roaming is one of the main reasons why users encounter problems in wireless networks. Excessively long roaming hours can be held responsible for the poor quality of voice-over-Wi-Fi (VoFi), leading to calls being dropped and data connections interrupted. Roaming analysis needs data to be collected and compressed in real time across multiple channels and APs. The aim is to produce an integrated analysis delivered in a simple report detailing who’s using the roaming facility, how much time individual events take and how high average AP values are. The bottom line is simple but the process is complex. OmniPeek Enterprise automates the entire task and generates a simple report that contains all the data you need.


Maximum flexibility

 

OmniPeek and OmniEngine offer maximum flexibility and configurability when supported by our inexpensive WLAN analysis adapters. You can record various wireless traffic on different channels in different places within the company, for example, in a warehouse or from any other place across the world. This provides an affordable way to carry out remote recording and analysis of various channels and roaming. The benefit is maximum flexibility in configuring and extending your network analysis according to your needs. In conjunction with the script-based automation of recordings, these attributes are the ones which make OmniPeek and OmniEngine the ideal platform for building extendable and scalable solutions that fulfil the specific functional analysis requirements of your wireless network today and in the future.

Quickly identify and solve problems in your wireless network

 

Service and support technicians can be sent out at any minute to customers in remote or temporary locations to analyse and resolve performance problems in wireless networks. When looking over the customer’s shoulder, it’s important to have the right tool to solve the problem immediately and this is the only way to show you know exactly what to do. OmniPeek provides your company notebook with the most powerful portable solution to analyse wireless networks and, in using it, you can carry out wireless network analysis, quickly react to problems in the field, and solve them. OmniPeek, together with the Savvius WLAN Adapter, is the ideal rapid response to wireless network problems with a view to finding their solutions. The OmniPeek network analyser enables you to:

  • Quickly recognise performance and network connectivity problems;
  • Run and implement new technologies or services in the production environment or before roll-out;
  • Monitor wireless networks and quickly identify those devices that present problems.


OmniPeek provides the best capacity for mobile wireless network analysis when needed on an ad-hoc basis, either at the customer’s site, in the field, or at a remote site. Software is provided for mobile analysis, fault detection and rapid isolation of errors on laptops in wireless networks.


Channel aggregators

Out in the field, you can never be sure exactly where to find the cause of a problem so you need a solution that provides the greatest level of wireless network transparency possible across all channels used. Only then can you rule out that you’re not losing any part of the data when working out a solution. OmniPeek enables you to collect data simultaneously on all channels used so you can create an exact image whole WLAN with 100% accuracy and quickly find the point of failure. You can find everything you need to do this in a supported WLAN adapter, for example, our Omni Wi-Fi adapter together with the OmniPeek-Software.

 

Device Roaming

Wireless networks are designed for mobility and this is precisely what your users need today when equipped with high-speed Wi-Fi technology on their mobile devices. However, mobility in wireless networks creates a unique problem found in roaming. Wireless access points (APs) only have a limited range and, once users move, they have to change their AP. While this is an invisible process for the user, it can be a significant source of performance or connectivity problems because the user must be passed from one AP to the next. It's your job to identify and solve these problems. If you’re roaming and want to perform adequate troubleshooting, you need to be able to record data on all WLAN channels used so you can see exactly what happens when the user selects their AP and changes channel.

OmniPeek’s function for channel aggregation allows you to collect all the data required to ensure OmniPeek can perform a roaming analysis, identifying each roaming step per client or AP and reporting important metrics, such as the time required to complete a roaming step.


Analyses for experts

OmniPeek performs ongoing analysis, during which each packet is collected with all analyses available for you to retrieve as and when you need to. OmniPeek can track more than 60 different performance and security problems typically found in wireless networks. A simple click on one of the problems shows you exactly where your network problem is, from connectivity problems to wireless network attacks. OmniPeek’s expert function provides clear WLAN analysis and leaves no room for speculation.

Advanced packet & decodeanalysis

OmniPeek can perform a detailed analysis that allows you to view the respective packets and decode each of them. OmniPeek supports 802.11 a/b/g/n and ac as well as almost any other 802.11 standard. This is essential if you want to analyse advanced wireless networks that are standard in today’s world.


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Contact Details

NEOX NETWORKS GmbH
Otto-Hahn Strasse 8
63225 Langen / Frankfurt am Main
Tel: +49 6103 37 215 910
Fax: +49 6103 37 215 919
Email: info@neox-networks.com
Web: http://www.neox-networks.com
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