• United States
Neal Weinberg
Contributing writer, Foundry

VisualRoute 8.0a

Apr 29, 20043 mins
Enterprise Applications

* The Reviewmeister takes a look at VisualRoute software from Visualware

Visualware says its VisualRoute software graphically displays traceroute network path information, including destination and intermediate hop locations on a zoomable world map that tells you precisely where and how traffic is flowing between two Internet nodes.

The company says its highly visual network path analysis can help network managers more easily and productively troubleshoot network connectivity problems.

VisualRoute 8.0a (the company recently released Version 8.0b) is certainly better than a typical command-line traceroute utility. VisualRoute graphs hop-to-hop time intervals to help identify network bottlenecks, and its Internet Control Messaging Protocol-based network path information is accurate and runs on several platforms.

VisualRoute is Java-based software that installs on Windows, Mac OS X, Solaris and Linux platforms. The install process put some Win32 Dynamic Link Libraries on our hard drive and inserted several entries in our Windows registry, implying that VisualRoute’s architecture, despite its “write once, run anywhere” Java underpinnings, relies to some extent on operating system-specific helper software and might run differently on a non-Windows machine. The VisualRoute Server version adds a Web server component (which lets you use a client computer’s browser to remotely access the VisualRoute functions), and applications Ping Grapher and E-mail Tracker.

VisualRoute’s traceroute data accurately and graphically depicted the routers, switches and other pingable connection points between our source node and any remote site we specified.

For more intensive diagnosis of network ills, VisualRoute can look for other open ports besides Port 80 (HTTP). It told us, for example, whether POP3, FTP, Simple Mail Transfer Protocol or DNS services were running on a particular server.

With a set of mail headers, the E-mail Tracker application geographically locates an e-mail’s sender. Ping Grapher displays a line graph resulting from a series of pings of a specific URL or IP address. Another feature is the VisualRoute Server, which is a Web server that lets users view VisualRoute statistics from their own client computers. Security options provides restricted access for specific clients. 

VisualRoute displays a zoomable global map in one window and a table of columns (containing the route trace data) in another. For each hop, the columns show IP address, node name, location, time zone, response time (in milliseconds), a vertical line graph of response time and the name of the network that owns the hop. The columns update dynamically during each tracing operation, and VisualRoute takes no more time to perform a trace than the command-line traceroute utility.

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