Packet Design Extends Route Explorer Support

Packet Design is adding key support in its IP route analysis tool for the Border Gateway Protocol.

Startup Packet Design Inc. on Monday will add key support in its IP route analysis tool for the Border Gateway Protocol.

The Palo Alto, Calif., company will announce Version 2.0 of Route Explorer, which collects and analyzes routing path data in real time to troubleshoot logical layer network problems. Traditional network monitoring tools cant track in real time the routing changes that occur in IP networks.

"IP routing is resilient. It can reroute [around failed links], but you dont see that rerouting. That makes it impossible to know what routes traffic is taking," said Jeff Raice, vice president of marketing for Packet Design.

Packet Designs tool, which is available now, operates as a passive router on the network, listening to the routing protocols being exchanged and building a routing table for every router in the network. It also tracks routing events and stores them in a central database to maintain historical knowledge of what went on in a network.

A handful of startups are working to resolve the complex routing problems that occur in IP networks, including providers such as IPsum Networks Inc. and Networks Physics.

But despite widespread acknowledgment of the problem, which is typically handled by IP routing experts within large enterprises and service provider organizations, few of those startups have gotten significant attention from the market, said Elisabeth Rainge, director of network management at International Data Corp. in Mountain View, Calif.

"The whole idea of traffic management with BGP [Border Gateway Protocol] multihoming has gotten a lot of attention, but these companies havent been successful in making a run at it. Its a logical layer of the network thats never been managed as a discrete task. But the concept is dead on in terms of where so many problems lie," she said.

The Internet, made up of a network of networks, uses BGP as the glue to tie all the separate networks together. A growing number of enterprises have also employed BGP within their own networks, or between their networks and a service provider, to better manage network traffic.

The new, optional BGP route analysis module brings additional analysis to the tools existing interior gateway protocol analysis for Open Shortest Path First and Intermediate System-Intermediate System.

Packet Design repackaged its route analytics appliance with the addition of BGP support. A campus edition for small enterprise networks with up to 20 routers and one interior gateway protocol domain starts at $19,000. An enterprise edition supporting up to 50 routers and multiple users starts at $35,000. An Internet edition supporting up to 50 routers, BGP and either OSPF or IS-IS starts at $50,000.

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