Network Monitor



 
Overview
 
The Distinct Network Monitor captures network traffic and translates the protocol negotiation of that traffic into simple English. It is the perfect solution for understanding the type of network traffic that is going over the network as well as for pinpointing network related problems. It is a must for both software developers who write applications that will work over a network as well as for MIS personnel who are trying to diagnose network related problems and bottlenecks.
 

Packet Analyzer

What is essentially different between a plain packet sniffing product and Distinct Network Monitor is that the Distinct Network Monitor interprets the packets for any specific connection and is able to pinpoint any errors it sees by marking these with a black X. Some packets are marked with a white X; these do not necessarily denote an error but are a warning of packet retransmission and other non-fatal network errors.

Distinct Network Monitor can capture the traffic that is on the subnet or on the switch segment in case of a switched network as long as the network interface card installed in the computer that is running the monitor is able to run in promiscuous mode.
 

Network Segment Traffic Statistics

Distinct Network Monitor is able to capture and display network traffic statistics for the network segment it is capturing on. As with the packet-analyzing feature of this product, statistics are restricted to the network segment or segments being monitored. With the help of Network Monitor Agents, the Network Monitor may view statistics from various network segments concurrently. The statistics captured and displayed are the following:
  • The list of IP addresses that are active on the network segment, showing the total number of bytes sent and received by each IP address. The type of IP address is shown. This may be L for an IP address on the local network, B for a broadcast address, or M for multicast addresses. Note that if the system listed is not on the same hub, the traffic numbers do not indicate the total traffic for that system, but just the traffic created between it and other systems on the hub or switch being monitored. Details of the packet distribution per protocol are also given for each IP address in the list.
  • The list of application protocols showing how many bytes were sent and received for each protocol. Protocols are identified by port number. It also shows which IP addresses generated the traffic
  • The list of IP protocols and the total number of bytes and packets transmitted for each one.
  • The list of level three protocols such as IP and Netbeui showing the total number of bytes and packets transmitted for each one.
  • Bandwidth usage over the specified time period using the number of samples specified.
  • The list of MAC addresses that are active on the network segment. The total number of packets and bytes that were sent and received by each MAC address. This includes all packets whether IP or otherwise that are over Ethernet or Token Ring and may include packets that are not parsed by the Network Monitor.
  • Analysis of Packet size distribution showing the number of packets transmitted in various size ranges.
  • Summary of the statistics recorded during the session.
All these statistics are automatically gathered and displayed in a window alongside the Capture window each time a capture is started. If you need to gather statistics for one or more segments you may run statistics only without taking the network trace, which would require too many resources if run over several hours. This allows you to monitor systems over several hours without the need to save all the packets that are traveling on the wire.
 
Installing Network Monitor
 
Before you install Distinct Network Monitor, make sure that the system you will install on has adequate disk space to save the capture files. Depending on the volume of traffic, non-filtered capture files can be very large. There are more network packets traveling on your network segment than you may imagine. Network Monitor will perform best on systems with fast hard disks and that have plenty of memory.

System Requirements

The minimum requirements are a Pentium 500 MHz system with 128 MB RAM and adequate hard disk space. The recommended system is a 800 MHz or higher system with 256 MB or more of RAM and adequate disk space. If you intend to run the monitor over 24 hour periods or more to capture all packets at a router, it is advisable to have additional memory on the system doing the capture.

Installation

To install Network Monitor simply run network-monitor.exe and follow all the instructions as they appear on the screen.

Installation of Network Monitor requires Administrator privileges on NT, 2000 and XP system.
 

Activating the Network Monitor License

Before you can use a licensed copy of Network Monitor you must register it at the Distinct Web site to obtain the key code to be entered. When you purchased the product you received a serial number and product identification number. Both of these are needed to register your copy. When you have your key code, you will need to enter this together with the serial number in the Distinct License Manager box that is displayed when you run Network Monitor for the first time. If you have upgraded your monitor to use multiple Agents, you need to enter the new serial number in the Update License box in the Help menu.
 

Installing a Network Monitor Agent

To install the Distinct Network Monitor Agent run the DNMAgent.exe on the system you wish to install on. The installation process requires you to configure the Agent. The following items need to be configured:
  • You need to specify the port that the Agent will listen on. The default port is port 9999, which is a port that is reserved for Distinct Corporation. Note that if you intend to access this agent across a firewall, you will need to open the selected port on the firewall.
  • You are also required to set a password for the agent. This password will be required to monitor the agent from the Network Monitor. If you have multiple agents it may be convenient to keep a single password for all agents. This is however not required.
After installation the Agent is automatically started and its icon will appear on the system tray. This means that the agent is ready and the system can now be monitored using Network Monitor. The Agent is closed by right clicking its icon and selecting Exit.

Changing the Agent's Configuration

You may modify the Agent’s listening port, password or connection timeout by clicking the Agent’s icon and selecting the button corresponding to the parameter to be changed. The connection timeout sets the amount of time that the Agent will wait for a request from a Network Monitor that has connected to it but made no specific request, such as listing adapters or starting a capture. Once the Agent is connected to a Network Monitor, no other connection may be made to the listening port until Network Monitor terminates the connection or it has timed out and disconnected automatically.

Masking Strings
Users on the Agent systems may be asked to enter passwords and other critical information in the Mask String()s text box. Multiple entries should be space, comma or semi-colon delimited. Strings entered here will automatically be replaced by xx in the actual trace taken.
 

Encrypting packets

The packets captured will traverse the network. Therefore, if security is an issue it is a good idea to select the Encrypt packets option. Note however, that turning encryption on will slow down the whole process, as all packets will need to be encrypted by the Agent and then decrypted by the Network Monitor.
 

Uninstalling Network Monitor

To uninstall Network Monitor you must use the Uninstall program by calling it from the Add/Remove Programs group in Control Panel.
 

About this Manual

This manual is intended as a User's Guide. It is not a reference manual. For help on a particular menu item please use the on-line context sensitive help in the product.
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