Light Sniffer Targets Smaller Businesses

Netasyst Network Analyzer handles wireless.

The sniffer technologies division of Network Associates Inc. is set to address the small and midsize business market with a light version of its Sniffer protocol analyzer.

The new Netasyst Network Analyzer is a software-based protocol analyzer designed for more cost-conscious SMBs with IT generalists on staff, according to Steve Finegan, product manager at Network Associates, in Santa Clara, Calif.

The Microsoft Corp. Windows 2000- and Windows XP-based protocol analyzer works with the most common network topologies, including 802.11a and 802.11b wireless as well as 10/100M-bps Ethernet on copper.

Although two competitors, WildPackets Inc. and Network Instruments LLC, are well established in the SMB market, Finegan said Netasyst Network Analyzer is the only protocol analyzer for SMBs that provides protocol decodes for both Microsoft Exchange and Microsoft SQL Server. According to a recent report from Gartner Inc., of Stamford, Conn., 80 percent of SMBs use Exchange and 70 percent use SQL Server.

Network Associates simplified the user interface in the tool. Users can also get an overview of network performance with Sniffer Dashboard. Customers have the option of using Netasyst Network Analyzer with Sniffer Expert for more automated analysis of network problems.

Netasyst is the first protocol analyzer early customer John Shamasko has used, and he found it to be useful within a few hours.

"Im not using it to the full potential without training, but it has easy-to-understand charts and graphs and has a very presentable [interface]," said Shamasko, systems administrator for BG Products Inc., a Wichita, Kan., automotive lubricants manufacturer. Shamasko used it to verify that problems he was having with a proprietary application were not due to the network, as the developer had suggested.

Netasyst Network Analyzer is available in six versions, which range in price from $2,000 to $6,500.