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Ethernet Performance Monitoring

Ethernet Performance MonitoringRecently, I had a brief discussion on performance monitoring with a network engineer that works for an Internet Service Provider. After showing him a product tour of NetBeez, he mentioned that he could do the same with Ethernet performance tools (e.g. ITU-T Y.1731), which are available on most networking platforms, without the need of deploying additional hardware or software probes.

To support his statement, the network engineer mentioned that his requirements were to monitor individual Ethernet links, or portions of the overall network. I agreed with him that, for that specific use case, Ethernet performance monitoring was the right solution.

However, I reminded him that most enterprises and service providers that we work with use NetBeez to measure the end-user experience, and that Ethernet performance monitoring only runs at Layer 2. For this reason, the best way to monitor the network from the end-user perspective, is to use Layer 3+ protocols that allow to run true end-to-end connectivity and performance tests against cloud applications, WiFi networks, and other services offered to users. This is not possible with Ethernet performance monitoring tools. If you want read more about this topic, please check out this blog post that I wrote few weeks ago.

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NetBeez Named Winner of 2017 Best of Interop ITX Awards Cloud Category

BeezKeeper showcased at Interop ITX, May 15-19 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.

Interop Award WinnerInterop ITX, the independent conference for tech leaders, presented NetBeez with a Best of Interop ITX Award as an Emerging Vendor, recognizing their BeezKeeper product for its role in advancing the Cloud space and addressing real-world customer concerns. In each of the award program’s 5 categories of innovation, the event named the exhibitor whose new product or service is helping the IT industry to grow both successfully and strategically.

“We are honored to accept the Best of Interop Award as an Emerging Vendor in the Cloud category,” said Stefano Gridelli, CEO of NetBeez. “NetBeez is on the forefront of providing proactive visibility and detection of network outages and the BeezKeeper provides unprecedented views of network health on the world’s most sophisticated enterprise networks.”
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iPerf Performance Testing on Single Board Computers

I have done iPerf performance comparisons in the past between several well known single board computers (SBCs), which you can see here, and more recently, here. The most popular SBC is the Raspberry Pi, but its limitation is that it has a 10/100 interface, and the maximum traffic it can push is about 95 Mbps. The SBCs with gigabit interfaces I tested in the past, Odroid C1+, Banana Pi, Utilite Standard, couldn’t achieve 1 Gbps as receivers or transmitters of iPerf traffic. Recently, I came across the Odroid C2 and Up Board, which can achieve 1 Gbps iPerf bandwidth in both directions. [···]

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NetBeez Named as Finalist for Best of Interop Award

NetBeez has been named as a finalist in the Cloud category for their BeezKeeper network performance monitoring solution and will be exhibiting at Interop ITX at booth 440 in Las Vegas from May 15-19.

Best of Interop AwardPITTSBURGH, PA, May 10, 2017 –  NetBeez, a four-year-old network performance monitoring company, has been named as a finalist for the Best of Interop Award in the Cloud category for their BeezKeeper product. The award recognizes exhibitors at Interop ITX who have made significant technological advancements in some of the most important facets of the IT industry. Interop ITX is happening May 15-19, 2017, at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, NV. NetBeez is exhibiting at booth 440.

The NetBeez BeezKeeper is a solution that reduces the amount of time network administrators and IT teams invest in identifying, troubleshooting, and resolving performance issues of enterprise infrastructure and cloud applications. The BeezKeeper deploys proactive, end user simulations that deliver real-time data results to the NetBeez dashboard for multi-site administration.
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Meetups for Network Engineers

Meetups for network engineersUnless you’ve lived in a cave for the past ten years (and if you have, I totally respect that), you are most likely familiar with meetups. Meetups are planned events where members regularly get together to network and talk about a particular topic that they are interested in. It could be a sport, a language, a discipline, etc. Currently, there are more than 270,000 meetups in 182 countries, for a total number of 30+ million of members. That’s pretty significant.

If you’re interested in meeting with other network engineers, then you should know that there are several meetup groups around the country that are focused on network engineering. All you have to do is go on meetup.com, search for a topic of interest in your area, and then follow the group guidelines on how to become a member. Some groups are open, while others may require permission or vetting from the organizer. If you don’t know where to start, here is a list of the most prominent meetups that may appeal to network engineers:
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How to Fix Bugs on a Permanent iPerf Server

iPerf Segmentation FaultRecently I discovered a bug in iPerf. iPerf is a very useful tool to test and measure bandwidth performance between an iPerf server and a client. In most cases, you run the bandwidth test only once between the two. The other option is to set up an iPerf server to run permanently on a host and then target that host to get iPerf measurements from several locations or hosts, which is more convenient because you don’t have to manage two hosts each time you want to run a test. But here is where the problems start…

This works as follows: On one machine, we run the command iperf -s -D This starts the iPerf server (option -s) and puts it in daemon mode (option -D), which means the server will keep running even if we logout of the machine. Then, we run iperf -c [IP of iperf server] from another machine. [···]

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How to monitor your enterprise network

Network monitoring agents
Enterprise networks
are evolving at a fast pace, and with them, so are network monitoring techniques. If you are monitoring your network with an SNMP collector, you have already realized that it’s not enough to detect and troubleshoot problems experienced  by the end-users. You can read more about how the network monitoring stack has evolved over time in a previous blog post I wrote here.

Nowadays, network engineers must be aware at any time, and from any network location, about end-to-end performance metrics. Information about  packet loss, network latency, and wireless signal strength is necessary to understand whether the network is delivering a good experience or causing  application slowness. This information can be easily achieved with network monitoring sensors.
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How do you support employees working from home?

Working from home has its pros and cons. One of the negatives is that technical support is much more difficult. Employees working from home use their own local ISPs and each one of them uses a different modem. Chances are that they use a wireless router, which could be provided by the ISP or installed independently. Most likely, the employees need to use tools like Salesforce and Office 365, or custom applications that run either in the cloud or in a private datacenter.

When home-based employees can’t access the tools they need or experience “slowness”, they are quick to open a ticket with technical support. The environmental variables mentioned above make troubleshooting difficult. The main problem is the lack of visibility in the employee’s home environment. You will either guide the employee to run some tests for them (e.g. ping, traceroute) and email them the results back (if possible), or do a remote desktop session to begin troubleshooting.
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Wireless Network Monitoring From The Client Perspective

 Recently our team received word that several clients in a classroom where disconnecting while doing online benchmark tests.  The clients will rename nameless but were of the “lower end” variety.  These clients were single band 802.11n devices which have had a bad track record of reliability, no matter what the wireless environment has been.  In this particular case there were roughly 20 of these devices deployed in a classroom each with its own 2nd grader.  We had been called to this classroom previously but found no issue with the network.  Our laptops had performed flawlessly while accessing the same websites and never had trouble with being disconnected from the network unlike our “lower end” counterparts.  Checking the controller showed no issues with channel utilization, retries, or a configuration issue.  Sometimes a simple “it’s not the network” isn’t good enough and this was one of those times.  We needed data, and we needed it from a client’s perspective.
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Wireless repeaters and bandwidth improvements

Like most of you, my home network is equipped with only one wireless router, which is located in the living room. As result, some areas of my house, like my bedroom and studio, are not covered very well by the wireless signal of this single router. Frustrated by the poor quality of my video streaming, I decided last week to purchase a wireless repeater to extend the wireless signal to where it was most needed.

I bought a dual mode wireless extender that can support 2.4GHz and 5.0GHz. The setup was quite easy – it only took me a few minutes to configure the extension of my dual-mode wireless network with the WPS button. I decided to test the bandwidth speed improvements with Iperf using my NetBeez agents.
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