Network Associates Inc. at Networld +Interop added a new form factor to its Sniffer Wireless protocol analyzer that allows network engineers to troubleshoot 802.11b wireless LAN problems without having to carry a laptop around.
The new Sniffer Portable Wireless PDA (Personal Digital Assistant) option works on Compaq Computer Corp.s iPAQs, allowing network technicians to detect and troubleshoot security breaches and performance problems with the 802.11b WLANs.
The option provides physical layer only protocol capture and analysis. "It cant look at the application layer, but it can do things like automatically detect rogue access points, see if encryption is enabled, look at bandwidth consumption," said Gretchen Hellman, manager of market intelligence for the Sniffer unit of Network Associates in Santa Clara, Calif. The PDA option is interoperable with the Sniffer Wireless protocol analyzer, allowing operators to use it to collect data, perform some analysis and hot-sync the data to send to a network engineer for further analysis.
The $3,995 price tag for the PDA option could mean that more network engineers can use the wireless protocol analyzer, which itself sells for about $10,000. It is due by mid-June.
The Sniffer unit also at N+I added voice over IP protocol decodes and analysis capabilities as well as enhanced reporting to the Distributed Sniffer protocol analyzer. The Sniffer voice option for Distributed Sniffer is designed to provide voice quality monitoring and performance analysis for VOIP implementations, allowing network engineers to determine the level of jitter and amount of delay as well as check packet sequencing to insure voice traffic is flowing appropriately across an IP network.
New reporting in Distributed Sniffer provides a graphical view of Asynchronous Transfer Mode, High-level Data Link Control and Point-to-Point Protocol traffic. When performance issues arise on such WAN links, a network engineer can use the reports to look at protocol distribution charts to determine whether an excess if one protocol could indicate a mis-configured device, a ping flood, or a denial of service attack, according to Hellman. "Knowledgeable administrators can create an action plan for what to look for," she said.
The new Distributed Sniffer release is due early next month.
Network Associates also added VOIP support and enhanced reporting in the Sniffer Investigator, a network performance management option for small and medium-sized businesses with under 1000 employees.