Appliances Monitor Remote Networks via Ethernet

Three new appliances from Visual Networks provide monitoring for remote networks connected via business DSL and Cable links, marking the first time that Visual Networks will supply an Ethernet LAN interface.

Veteran CSU/DSU supplier Visual Networks Inc. on Monday will continue its move into remote network and application performance monitoring when it delivers three new appliances aimed at remote sites.

The new appliances, which provide monitoring for remote networks connected via business DSL and Cable links, mark the first time that the telecommunications WAN interface vendor will supply an Ethernet LAN interface.

"This is our first foray into Ethernet. This lets us cover those [DSL and cable] services with an Ethernet handoff," said Jeff Schmitz, senior vice president of marketing at the Rockville, Md., company.

The appliance suite, part of the Visual UpTime Select product family, provides detailed, real-time and historical network and application performance data to manage network availability.

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The suite is intended to operate in remote offices using compression and/or IPSec encrypted VPNs, monitoring application traffic before it is encrypted or compressed. The appliances connect to the span port on a LAN switch or router.

Compared with Simple Network Management Protocol-based polling monitors, the appliances gather more granular data than is possible by remotely polling at predefined intervals.

"We collect information locally. We can see errors at Layer 1 or Layer 2, then do deep packet inspection to decode the applications that run over the network," Schmitz said. "That is all done locally, then we bundle that data in compressed way and send it to our back-end server, where we correlate data and run reports to see how much each application consumes."

The ASE (Analysis Service Element) appliances save data for as long as two weeks and then push the data to the centralized, back-end server.

The Model 120 10/100 Ethernet Inline ASE Light Edition is targeted at business DSL/Cable links and can analyze data over links as fast as four Mbps (megabits per second). The Model 122 10/100 Ethernet Inline ASE IP Transport is targeted at sites using multiple T-1 or Fractional DS-3 WAN links.

It can analyze data over links as fast as 20 Mbps. The high-speed Model 220 10/100/1000 Ethernet ASE IP Transport is aimed at Ethernet WAN transport over DS-3 or multiple DS-3 links. It can analyze data over links as fast as 200 Mbps.

The ASE models, which range in price from $795 to $20,000, are due by the end of April.

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