In an attempt to make it easier for administrators to diagnose network problems, WildPackets has enhanced its OmniPeek packet analyzer product with IPv6 support. Version 6.8 of the network analyzer now supports IPv6, as the supply of the 32-bit IPv4 addresses (4 billion) are almost all gone. The IPv6 address is 128 bits, creating more than 340 undecillion address combinations--340,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000, or 34 followed by 34 zeros--a virtually unlimited supply.
Support for IPv6 makes it easier to diagnose problems, which means network administrators will be able to support IPv6 more quickly. The device also now supports the Timeline dashboard found in some other WildPackets products, which allows network administrators to record packets going across the network and then go back and look at them. This makes it easier to diagnose intermittent network problems.
Chris Million, CTO for Wifirail, in Oakland, Calif., says his company uses the OmniPeek products to help debug network problems on the wireless network inside Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART). "When things go wrong, it’s an indispensable tool," he says. The heavy rail public transit and subway system connects San Francisco with cities and suburbs in two counties in the East Bay and northern San Mateo County, and is expected to soon to be extended to Santa Clara County as well.
Of the two primary new features, IPv6 support isn't significant for Wifirail--"our current deployment is zero"--but Million is interested in the dashboard feature because his organization is currently using the same feature on other WildPackets products, where it is particularly useful for helping diagnose intermittent problems.
"When the problem is occurring, you plug the analyzer in and wait for something to happen," he says. "With the recorder, you go back in time, so you don’t have to watch it. Most problems on a network are intermittent, because if it’s persistent, it’s already fixed. It’s easier to troubleshoot when you record the traffic and go back and look."
WildPackets, based in Walnut Creek, Calif., first offered the Timeline feature in 2010. Timeline uses a slider view to enable network administrators to drill down into specialized hardware and software capabilities. It was intended at the time primarily for 10-Gbps wired data centers. The new version brings that capability to every use case, the company says.
While the device now supports IPv6, it continues to support IPv4. In addition, the analyzer now also offers packet dedupe that works on a file (as opposed to in real time), which helps produce smaller capture files and makes it easier to find the data packets under examination. However, the deduplication feature can also be turned on and off because, in some cases, network administrators might want to see duplicate packets so they can determine where they are coming from, says WildPackets.
The new version of the device is available now at a starting price of $2,500. Support for the voice over IP protocol costs $5,000. The company offers a range of network recorder appliances that start at $12,000 and go up to $80,000 or $90,000.
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