WAN Management

WAN management and monitoring, traffic compression tools

Visual Networks remains at the top of the heap in providing products that help maintain WAN links at their peak levels.

Winning company: Visual Networks Visual UpTime 7.1

Winning product:

Visual Networks remains at the top of the heap in providing products that help maintain WAN links at their peak levels. Its tools alert you when outages occur, pinpoint the root cause of the outage and help you re-establish communications as quickly as possible. Reports provide utilization trends, outage statistics and service-level agreement compliance.

"Although it only works with Visual Networks' DSU/CSU devices, Visual UpTime's precise and accurate monitoring ability is unsurpassed," writes Barry Nance of the Lab Alliance. "Its many reports are practical and well designed, the user interface is intuitive, and it scales well."

While all products we tested in the WAN link management market performed well, they didn't have the level of detail or monitor as closely as Visual UpTime (see review).

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The key to Visual's success is the close relationship between software and the Visual ASE devices (what Visual calls its DSU/CSUs). The combined system measures link availability and activity on a second-by-second basis for each data link connection identifier. It could inform us of the network's current status without sucking up much bandwidth in the process.

The system's accuracy is another high point, as it could provide a precise measurement of network delay for each permanent virtual circuit. It does all this through a responsive and intuitive user interface that fits the workflow and individual tasks within a large network operations center. Its ability to print a network configuration report that documented changes and our work was just the icing on the cake.

Concord Communications eHealth Version 5.6

We highly recommend this product for companies with heterogeneous networks. The eHealth package includes superior reports and an amazing breadth of recognized and supported devices to help monitor your company’s WAN links. Its four modules can monitor the performance and availability of WAN interfaces, routers, switches, frame-relay circuits and remote-access equipment. Its System Health module can monitor servers and clients to alert administrators to application performance problems, server crashes and disk space shortages. The breadth of its ability to recognize and understand more than 900 management information base definitions continues to amaze us. Its Network Health module could efficiently and accurately collect network statistics from DSU/CSUs on our WAN links. Read more.

Adtran N-Form 1.4

We liked that Adtran added traffic-shaping features to its system. When you combine the N-Form software with Adtran’s IQ 7150 traffic-shaping DSU/CSUs, you get the ability to recognize application-specific traffic and prioritize the traffic during busy periods (in addition to monitoring WAN links for availability). The software could recognize more than 300 different kinds of application-level network data streams, including Citrix WinFrame, HTTP and AOL Instant Messenger traffic. It also gave us frame relay metrics similar to Visual UpTime, but without as much depth. Read more.

Network Instruments Observer 8.3

The version we saw was more than just a protocol analyzer or packet decoder. The system we tested could accumulate network activity statistics and display them in useful ways. Along with the vendor’s hardware and software probes, Observer could collect network activity statistics from the probes and poll them every 5 seconds (by default), or even every 2 seconds if you wanted. We think this is the perfect tool for those times when you might need to drill down from a top-level summary right to the individual problem packets. Read more.
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