Best of the Tests

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Our extensive WLAN testing in 2009 results in several products which received a perfect score of 5.0. But the best of the best is the AirPcap Ex tool from CACE Technologies. This comprehensive yet simple packet-capture tool is perfect for those all-too-common situations faced by practitioners and operations professionals alike when it's necessary to dig into the dialog between client and access point to really understand why performance is so unexpected, why security is now so tight that no one can in fact connect, or why erratic client behavior is just that.

It's based on the very popular WireShark tool, and integration is seamless. It's available at a bargain price, and developer tools are available.

Formidable tools for capturing and analyzing WLAN traffic abound

11. Networking

Vendor: Cisco

Product: ASR router

With enterprises looking to consolidate data centers and devices, Cisco's new ASR 1000 series router offers a compelling message: Do more with less.

In our exclusive test, the ASR not only moved traffic at 20Gbps but also did so while running QoS, security and monitoring functions on 120 million flows from hundreds of concurrent routing sessions.

The ASR also proved a capable performer when handling multicast and IPSec VPN traffic. And with a 40-core processor, the ASR has enough headroom to run firewalls, load balancers and other services without requiring additional hardware.

That's not to say the ASR isn't still a work in progress. Its data-plane capacity still needs to grow, and Cisco hasn't yet rolled out all the services that ASRs eventually will support. But this is a strong effort, well worth considering for the many enterprises looking to replace tiers of aging Cisco 7200 routers with a single more powerful system.

Cisco's ASR 1000 router built for 10-year tenure

Runnerup: 3Com

Product: H3C switch

3Com says it has an alternative for network managers considering high-end switches from Cisco and others. And our exclusive test of this core switch backs up 3Com's claim. The chassis-based, 288-port device delivered line-rate throughput in all performance tests, supported more Open Shortest Path First routing sessions than we've ever set up and consumed remarkably little power all the while.

While the device doesn't have all the features of some competitors (for example, the switch doesn't yet support hitless upgrades), its strong performance and low power consumption make it a viable option for large and midsized organizations in the market for core and aggregation switches.

3Com's high-end switch: A fast, green alternative to Cisco

Learn more about this topic

Testers pick their favorite products

Blogger favors Windows 7, iPhone 3GS

Mindjet Catalyst brings back 'aha' moment

Shoutouts to Dell Equallogic, Apple Xserve, HP 580 servers

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Copyright © 2010 IDG Communications, Inc.

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SD-WAN buyers guide: Key questions to ask vendors (and yourself)