Powerful All-in-One Multi-Technology Handheld Network Testing Solution

NetAlly - Wired and Wireless Network Test Solutions

Powerful All-in-One Multi-Technology Handheld Network Testing Solution

NetAlly EtherScope™ nXG Portable Network Expert is a powerful handheld network tester that enables network engineers and technicians to quickly discover, test, verify and troubleshoot enterprise access networks.

As the first handheld tool to offer a single user interface (UI) that fully integrates both wired and wireless network test data, the EtherScope nXG dramatically increases network visibility, accelerates and simplifies testing, and simplifies team collaboration. This is the first portable tool with the right combination of capabilities to “break the Layer 2 ceiling” – allowing users to easily identify wireless clients not just by MAC address, but by IP, name and type, delivering visibility most Wi-Fi tools cannot provide.

“As today’s networks continue to grow in complexity, network teams often struggle to keep pace. They need better solutions that help streamline their network testing and troubleshooting process,” said Mike Parrottino, CEO at NetAlly. “To help address these challenges, we designed EtherScope nXG to be the most comprehensive and powerful portable network tester available.”

EtherScope nXG’s all new UI combines wired and wireless data analysis and purpose-built hardware to support a broad range of technologies like line-rate 10G (over copper and fiber), NBASE-T, Wi-Fi 5/Wi-Fi 6, and high-power PoE (Power over Ethernet).

Parrottino continues, “With EtherScope nXG’s advanced out-of-the-box auto-testing capabilities, network engineers and technicians get unprecedented visibility that accelerates testing and drives collaboration, all in a truly portable, light weight tool that can easily be brought to problem areas. With it, teams will simply get more done, faster.”

According to a recent Spiceworks survey, IT professionals face a variety of challenges that include implementing planned changes, managing unexpected changes, ensuring network security, and a lack of time and resources. These challenges are caused primarily by the disparity in staff skills and tool sets (between engineers and technicians), and visibility gaps across wired and wireless networks. The EtherScope nXG was designed to overcome these issues with key features and capabilities that enable users to:

  • Test, Validate and Troubleshoot the Latest Network Technology – Users can assess support for NBASE-T, 10G, Wi-Fi 5/Wi-Fi 6, with advanced Android-based troubleshooting apps and purpose-built test hardware. Additional test capabilities include packet capture at line-rate to 10G, network discovery and path analysis, 24-hour RF traffic analysis, cable testing, and PoE TruePowerTM load testing.
  • Quickly Verify Performance – The product offers 10G line-rate performance testing for critical servers, uplinks and key end devices over Ethernet, iPerf testing over Wi-Fi or wired links, and testing against another EtherScope nXG or other NetAlly tools for end-to-end tests.
  • Bridge the Gap Between Engineer and Technician – Users can dive deep to verify, troubleshoot and document complex networks with multiple VLANs and Wi-Fi SSIDs, or take advantage of out-of-the-box AutoTests that require minimal skill and training. Through the EtherScope nXG, offsite engineers can extend their expertise via remote control to collaborate with technicians at distant sites to solve tough problems without the need for travel.
  • Assess the Health of the Network – With Wi-Fi air quality tests for over-subscribed channels, Wi-Fi channel utilization analysis, and network discovery, EtherScope nXG can help “prove it’s not the network” or pinpoint root cause faster than other non-integrated methods.
  • Discover Security Risks – EtherScope nXG’s powerful network discovery technology identifies unknown switches, hidden SSIDs and probing Wi-Fi devices, while categorizing devices by security status, detecting rogues and more.
  • Seamlessly Capture and Manage Field Test Data – Users can enjoy automated and centralized reporting and analysis, documentation, and integration with network management systems via NetAlly’s complimentary Link-Live cloud service.

“NetAlly continues a long history of putting ever more troubleshooting power in the palm of your hand with EtherScope nXG,” says Lee Badman, wireless network architect at Wirednot. “It’s not easy finding a tool that goes deep enough for senior engineers and developers, while also being junior technician-friendly, but EtherScope hits that sweet spot effectively. Combined with Link-Live, EtherScope is a new top-tier weapon in the war on wired and wireless network problems.”

About NetAlly
NetAlly® offers testing you can trust, from your new ally. Our family of network test solutions have been helping network engineers and technicians better deploy, manage, and maintain today’s complex wired and wireless networks for decades. From creating the industry’s first handheld network analyzer in 1993 to being the industry pacesetter – first as Fluke Networks®, then as NETSCOUT® – NetAlly continues to raise the bar for portable network analysis. With tools that include LinkRunner®, OneTouch™, AirCheck™ and more, NetAlly simplifies the complexities of network testing, provides instant visibility for efficient problem resolution, and enables seamless collaboration between site personnel and remote experts.

Link to product pages: NetAlly – Network Test Solutions

Capturing in Time-Sensitive Networking Environments with ProfiShark 1G

Solutions for Complete Access and Visibility into Network

Capturing in Time-Sensitive Networking Environments with ProfiShark 1G

Time-Sensitive Networking (TSN) is a set of standards defining mechanisms for the time-sensitive transmission of data over Ethernet networks. Deterministic communication is critical to multiple industries (Audio Video Bridging, Automotive, Industrial and Power automation, Mobile Fronthaul Networks).

The purpose of this article is to demonstrate the benefit of ProfiShark 1G in TSN environments and to describe its usage. In order to support TSN, a TAP has special requirements in terms of latency, jitter and capture capability.

Time-Sensitive Networking

Transparent In-Line

Like all Profitap’s in-line TAPs, the ProfiShark is protocol agnostic and L1 passthrough for all frames, tags, and encapsulations. This includes preempted frames (IEEE 802.1Qbu/802.3br), fragmented and CRC-invalid frames.

The in-line latency and the jitter introduced by the in-line circuit is minimal, making it suitable for IEEE 802.1AS and 1588 v2.

ProfiShark 100M
2 ns
100 ns
ProfiShark 1G/1G+
400 ns
32 ns
ProfiShark 10G/10G+
300 ns
40 ns

Capture Capabilities

The ProfiShark 1G is capable of capturing any type of frame, including preempted frames (IEEE802.1Qbu/802.3br), fragmented and CRC-invalid frames.

Standard / Express
SMD-lx Premptable frame start
0xE6, 0x4C, 0x7F or 0xB3
SMD-Cx Non-initial fragment
0x61, 0x52, 0x9E or 0xAD
CRC ^ 0xFFFF0000

Moreover, the ProfiShark Manager offers an option to capture the entire L1 Ethernet frame in direct capture. When ‘capture full frames’ option is enabled, the frames are captured with the preamble (0x55), the SMD and the CRC.

Wireshark Integration

With ‘capture full frames’ option enabled, the PCAP-NG Link-Layer Header is set to LINKTYPE_ETHERNET_MPACKET. This Link-Layer type is fully supported by Wireshark since 2.6.0 and allows proper dissection of L1 frames (see Wireshark view below). Once dissected, the additional L1 data is displayed in the Packet detail view and doesn’t conflict with higher protocols. Additionally, fragmented preempted frames can be reassembled in Wireshark.

The ProfiShark Manager offers different capture options. The different capture options and their effect are listed below.

All-In-One Advanced Gigabit Network TAP

ProfiShark 1G is one of the most powerful, compact portable network tap devices. It’s a portable troubleshooter dedicated to network monitoring, combining both performance and flexibility.

This pocket-sized Gigabit TAP is the equivalent of an aggregator tap and two NICs, requiring only a laptop or a desktop PC with a free USB 3.0 port. ProfiShark 1G is the ultimate solution for your field testing and monitoring performance.

All our ProfiShark products also include other important features, as are hardware filters, statistics and configuration options, through our own ProfiShark Manager application.

ProfiShark 1G+ combines all the features of ProfiShark 1G but with added GPS and PPS features for advanced timestamping.

All-In-One Advanced Gigabit Network TAP
ProfiShark 1G+ with laptop
Link to product pages: ProfiShark Portable Network TAPs

Allegro Network Multimeter – Simultaneous historical and real-time data traffic analysis

Allegro Packets - Network Multimeter Analysis Tools

Allegro Network Multimeter – Simultaneous historical and real-time data traffic analysis

Allegro Packets Network Multimeter is the only device on the market capable of simultaneously analysing historical traffic and real-time data. The Allegro Network Multimeter is a powerful real-time network multimeter for detecting network problems. It measures many performance parameters from Layer 2 to Layer 7 and is used for troubleshooting and network analysis.

All information recorded by the device is available in real-time, including traffic history graphs (per MAC address, IP address, protocol, per connection). In addition, the graphics can be clicked to zoom into a specific time window and display the results only for this time window. The Allegro Network Multimeter uses two different databases to display and process the recorded information:

  • the in-memory database and
  • the packet ring buffer on the hard disk or SSD.

In-Memory Database

The Allegro Network Multimeter uses an in-memory database to store the metadata of the processed packets. This means that all recorded measurement data is available without time-consuming disk access and can be called up for instant searches.

The Allegro Multimeter can operate without an internal or external hard disk and only use in-memory for the metadata, i.e. no data is written to the hard disk.

The in-memory database capacity varies between 2 GB and 1.5 TB depending on the model. As an approximation, the history of about 150,000 connections and their aggregations can be stored per gigabyte in-memory database.

The Allegro Network Multimeter adapts its memory configuration to the quantity of traffic. It always stores all data. If the memory is full, the longest inactive connections and IP addresses are deleted. This means that in smaller networks the device stores historical data for a longer period, while in larger networks the device stores more IP addresses and associated information, but only for a shorter period of time.

The Allegro system’s memory fills up automatically over time (except for a memory reserve) to provide measurement data for as long as possible. Afterwards, old data is automatically deleted to ensure optimal system memory.

Ring Buffer Database

If a packet ring buffer is used, the packets are stored on a connected storage medium. The following systems can be used for this purpose:

  • Internal hard disks or SSDs (Allegro 500 and higher),
  • External hard disks via USB3 (all Allegro Multimeters),
  • iSCSI systems via the management port (all Allegro Multimeters).

The ring buffer makes it possible to create a fixed size packet buffer on which all recorded packets are stored – on one or more external storage devices. When the buffer is full, the oldest packets in the buffer are replaced by new packets.

The ring buffer can also be created over several hard disks. Up to 64 hard disks with a ring buffer of several petabytes are supported. Additionally, a data redundancy with 0 up to 3-fold redundancy is supported.

To prevent misuse, the storage device can be formatted with AES256 encryption (Caution: subsequent access to the disk without a password is not possible).

Whitepaper: In-Memory-DB and Packet Ring Buffer

Download full content as PDF by clicking this link.

The Benefits of Using ProfiSight Network Traffic Analyzer

Solutions for Complete Access and Visibility into Network

The Benefits of Using ProfiSight Network Traffic Analyzer

As networks get faster and more complex, new performance issues appear. Conventional network monitoring takes too much time, that’s why network analysts are looking for tools that not only help them get to the source of problems as fast as possible, but also optimize their workflow.

So, how can we get from a broad view of the network to a pinpoint view of the traffic, anywhere, in seconds, drill down and find the potential weak spots, server congestion, ports usage and more?

With a network traffic analyzer

Before getting into how this type of traffic analyzer can make a difference to your network forensics and troubleshooting techniques, let’s talk first about the most common methods used these days: packet analysis and flow analysis.

Packet analysis technology is widely used to dig down into what is happening over a network by focusing on the individual packets that cross your traffic rather than on the flow of the network.

Even though this method generally provides the most insights into your network traffic, as complete packets can be captured and further analyzed, it also gives you huge amounts of data. This makes it almost impossible for you to take real-time decisions and immediately expose the worst-performing parts of the network. You need time to shift through a lot of data for evidence of an issue or an intrusion, just like finding a needle in a haystack.

Also, in high-speed networks, packet analysis requires expensive hardware and substantial infrastructure for storage and analysis.

And that’s where a flow analysis tool can come in handy

Instead of giving you loads and loads of data that will also come with added cost, a flow-based tool focuses on the flow of the network, the “who,” “what,” and “when” of network transactions.

Flow analysis tools are based on a technology that provides insights about who is communicating with whom, with which devices or end-points, and which protocol. It gives you a lot of visibility of your network’s traffic without the added weight of a packet analysis tool.

It makes it easier to dig into certain conversations, giving you a fast and efficient way to understand what type of traffic is traversing the network. Also, since this data is so light, you can store it for as long as you want, and network forensics and security monitoring tools can make use of it to monitor and alert for traffic abnormalities.

For all those reasons and more, our engineers created ProfiSight

ProfiSight is Profitap’s Network Traffic Analyzer, specially built to give you fast visibility into the traffic that matters. What does that mean? Its accurate insights about your network bandwidth utilization, application usage and statistics, LAN, talkers and conversations, performance and errors, or user activity will tell you how your network resources are allocated and used in real-time.

Basically, it’s a network monitoring tool that tracks the flow of applications and key services over all areas of the network — devices, servers, link connections — and offers insights into network bandwidth utilization, helping you adjust resources for optimal performance.

It’s optimized for fast indexing and has the ability to filter large amounts of network traffic, improving your monitoring workflow and saving valuable troubleshooting time.
All its dashboards support flexible user queries by fields and timestamps to allow a faster analysis of the problems. ProfiSight covers a large array of network troubleshooting indicators, designed to help you pinpoint issues or highlight trends that would otherwise pass unnoticed.

Moreover, when a deep packet-level analysis of the traffic flow is needed, you can choose to pair it with top packet analyzers (like Wireshark) for multiple visual histograms, graphs and statistics.

So, can I use packet analysis and flow analysis together?

Profitap ProfiSight Network Traffic Analyzer

Yes, you can. As you know, even though flow analysis is perfect for determining traffic statistics overall, it can fall short when you need to analyze a specific issue in depth.

For example, in the event of a data breach, you need to be able to quickly understand what or how it happened, and which systems or data sources have been compromised. Packet capture and analysis provides a complete and accurate historical record of network traffic, giving you the means to reconstruct events and dig down to the actual network packets to pinpoint exactly what took place.

That’s why ProfiSight can be integrated with any of our ProfiShark portable packet capture devices (or any other capture tool of your choice). In this way, it allows for a quick view of the flow data by extracting the metadata of a captured packet stream. This can help you get an overview of the main talkers in a few clicks and determine if they are a security or performance issue.

When combined with our portable packet capture devices, you can capture every packet on the line and get a complete overview of the network for in-depth analysis. Also, you can easily connect to your ProfiShark remotely so that you can track down network issues anywhere, anytime.

For a hands-on experience of how you can capture, monitor and analyze network traffic with ProfiSight, watch the video below made by Chris Greer:

The benefits of a network traffic analyzer paired with the deep-dive of a packet capture device are multiple, but one of them is that you can reduce the load that a packet capture requires while still providing the raw data when you need it. Time is essential in most of the cases, and pairing these tools will help you spot network issues in minutes rather than in hours or days.

Max Planck Institutes Rely on Allegro Packets for Network Troubleshooting

Allegro Packets - Network Multimeter Analysis Tools

Max Planck Institutes Rely on Allegro Packets for Network Troubleshooting

The Allegro Network Multimeter network analysis tool is now being used by the Max Planck Facilities and Institutes in Berlin / Brandenburg for network troubleshooting and long-term network security. These tools from Allegro Packets impressed the staff at these locations with their fast diagnostic capability, ease of use and portability.

The fifteen facilities of the Max-Planck-Gesellschaft (MPG) located in the Berlin/Brandenburg region are connected via the Joint Network Centre (GNZ) of the Berlin/Brandenburg Max Planck Institutes located at the Fritz Haber Institute.

An Allegro 1000, optimised for monitoring and troubleshooting for all environments with Gigabit and 10-Gigabit cabling has become an integral part of the IT architecture. Gerd Schnapka, head of the GNZ, explained in an interview which criteria led to the selection of the Allegro Network Multimeter.

What was decisive for the selection of the Allegro Packets solution?

Above all, the Allegro Network Multimeter impressed us with how few clicks are required to view and analyse certain traffic data. In the past, we used several tools that occasionally caused problems. The mobility of the device was also important to us. We act as a service provider for all institutes and facilities of the MPG in Berlin and Brandenburg. However, not all problems can be checked remotely. In such a case, the Allegro can easily be taken along or sent.

Gerd Schnapka
How do you use the Allegro?

For us, the Allegro 1000 is both a monitoring and troubleshooting tool. Currently, the connection between backbone switch and firewall is mirrored to the Allegro 1000 and analysed in detail to identify weak points and possible error causes. In the future, we are planning to gradually mirror one building, one cabinet row or one network area at a time to analyse the traffic and optimise it with the help of the Allegro Network Multimeter. All in all, we use it to make ourselves even more productive. We see errors faster and can take action before problems arise.

Have you already diagnosed vulnerabilities with the Allegro 1000?

Yes, right from the start we recognised problems that we either haven’t seen before or only with a lot of effort. On the one hand, we had network traffic which from time to time put a lot of strain on the firewall. This was caused by the use of network storage and other connections that traversed the firewall several times due to unfavorable installations. On the other hand, we found unusual traffic in VLANs that had not been noticed before. Both vulnerabilities were fixed as soon as they were detected.

The Allegro Network Multimeter measures network traffic from Layer 2 to 7 and displays it in real-time. With just a few clicks you can navigate from the dashboard to the most important parameters (most active protocols and IPs, largest connections, etc.) to unusual traffic. You can also examine previous incidents in detail using pcaps. The Allegro 1000 Series allow you to monitor the last 80,000 seen IP addresses and up to 32 million connections for retroactive debugging and investigation.

Link to original article published on Allegro Packets’s web pages: Allegro Packets Wins Max Planck Institutes as Customer

Monitoring the Industry 4.0 Network Infrastructure with Profitap IOTA

Solutions for Complete Access and Visibility into Network

Monitoring the Industry 4.0 Network Infrastructure with Profitap IOTA

Profitap IOTA 10G All-in-One Network Analyzer

The Internet of Things, commonly known as IoT, is no longer “the next big thing”. In the last two decades, the technology has evolved massively transforming the industrial and manufacturing operations. But there are also other hot topics that are just as prevalent, the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) and Industry 4.0. Chances are that you might have used them interchangeably. No big deal, right? Wrong.

In summary, IIoT is a subset of IoT which is specific to industrial applications. The manufacturing phase of the product lifecycle is where the IoT and Industry 4.0 meet, originating to the IIoT with smart manufacturing currently on the forefront. So, what is the Industry 4.0 anyway? Here is what you need to know.

The rise of digital industrial technology

Industry 4.0 is driven by trends on connectivity, advanced materials and processing technology, along with collaborative advanced manufacturing networks controlled by computers combining them into a physical – digital environment. Anything from the smart robotic machines in a factory to the engines inside an airplane, there has been a wide range of innovative uses of this industrial evolution.

Going forward, the question is not to be left behind and prepare for the fourth industrial revolution. If enterprises can’t evolve with continuous changes, they will shortly find themselves left behind while the ones who learn to keep pace will receive the rewards.

The fourth industrial revolution also begins with the development of new technologies applied to production processes. Today, this industrial revolution has impacted almost every sector be it healthcare, finance, manufacturing or any other industry. That said, the most critical technologies for this revolution are expected to be Intelligent Production, Simulation, Connected Devices, Systems Integration, Business Operation and Big Data.

Ultimately, it’s the network of machines or devices that are digitally connected with one another which then create and share information that results in the true power of Industry 4.0. With digitalization and IoT, there is no doubt that it will continue to be the biggest driving force behind the revolution as it will have a potential economic impact of up to $6.2 trillion by 2025 according to McKinsey.

How to monitor network infrastructure

An unfortunate fact of everyday life

Most of the disclosure around the Industry 4.0 focuses on Information Technology (IT) aspects. However, for industrial sectors, there is an equally important technology, which is the Operational Technology (OT). Simply put, OT includes any hardware and software that are used to sense and capture data as well as monitor and control the behavior of physical devices, processes and events of entire Industrial Control System (ICS). Typical OT networks are comprised of switches, monitors, sensors, valves and manufacturing devices managed by an ICS system.

Supporting all these systems requires a network and server architecture that enables the essential interoperability and provides the appropriate resilience. As the output of ICS relates to physical processes, avoiding unplanned downtime is a huge motivator for enterprises embarking on Industry 4.0. Outdated OT represent significant downtime risk. And when they fail, the costs are high.

How much money is your business losing with every minute, hour or day when your systems are down? Not sure? Well, according to research by IHS, downtime is costing over US$700 billion a year. This is no surprise. Every passing second when there’s trouble on the network, equals loss of production, data and even your company’s credibility. It is an unfortunate fact of everyday life. Network or process failures due to misconfigurations, software or device errors, and erroneous commands still can occur daily.

Today’s digital marketplace requires enterprises to integrate things, for instance real-time data collection and analysis as well as real-time remote management tools into OT networks. Constant operational issues have increased the demand for a special tool that can help to handle troubleshooting quickly and keep the connections healthy.

As industrial networks have grown larger and more complex than ever before, network monitoring tools are quickly becoming a necessity. Network access control solutions can help with managing industrial devices, including keeping track of every connected device on your network.

Help is on the way! What is needed?

To get a fast and reliable real-time overview of what is happening on your network, your enterprise requires visibility and control over your OT and IT environments without impacting the integrity of the network. As many modern enterprises have their operations spread over multiple locations, the ideal scenario is to have network traffic analysis tools that can be easily transported and deployed onsite, but controlled remotely. This eliminates the time-consuming and expensive onsite travels for IT specialists, while still offering fast drill-down to the network issues.

All-in-one network traffic analysis solution

Profitap recognizes the digital industry evolution and wants to make things even quicker and easier for you. An easy-to-use, lightweight and intelligent network probe is available for the industry to ensure productivity and ultimately increase your revenue.

IOTA has been developed to meet the needs of the industry’s top network analysts and engineers. As an all-in-one network analysis solution, IOTA can be deployed easily anywhere in the field, both as a portable and as a rack-mounted data center solution. This way, IOTA gives you full remote access and analysis capabilities into your 1G/10G networks, anywhere you want.

IOTA’s combination of features in a single and compact device, make it a complete network capture and analysis solution, and an essential addition to any network engineer’s toolkit.

Profitap IOTA functional description
Link to product pages: IOTA All-in-One Network Analyzer