Network Monitor

Taking a Network Capture
With Distinct Network Monitor you can choose to capture all the packets and statistics that are visible to you NIC driver or just the statistics. If you are only interested in gathering the statistics that will show you the statistics breakdown of IP addresses and protocols, rather than analyzing individual packets, choose only to capture statistics. The capture of packets should be used if you need to analyze the network traffic and are specifically looking for protocol errors or other problems.

To start your first network capture of all packets click on the little triangle button in the toolbar. To start a capture of statistics only click the button next to it. The first time you start a capture, the Capture Settings dialog box is displayed allowing you to choose the folder in which to save the capture files and set other parameters. To stop the capture, click on the red square in the toolbar.

Defining your Capture Settings

The first time you run Distinct Network Monitor you need to define your capture settings for your local host. A dialog box will automatically be displayed for you to do this. You can later modify these settings by selecting Capture Settings in the Configure menu.
  1. Enter the complete path of the folder in which you wish the capture file to be created or use the Browse button to locate it. Note that Network Monitor will remember the last capture setting saved for each folder.
  2. If your system has more than one adapter, you may select the adapter or adapters from which you wish to record the network traffic. By default Network Monitor will capture the traffic from all the adapters on your system.
  3. If you wish to only save the traffic related to specific protocols, select the appropriate filter from Filter to Apply. Before you can select a filter you will need to create it. See the chapter “Using Filters” for details on how to do this.
  4. You may also choose to mask certain information from the actual capture. For example, if you know that to reproduce an error you are trying to diagnose you must access a certain database record that would display a social security number, you could enter that number here and the actual capture will mask the information allowing you to get help without giving out any sensitive information to other engineers helping you. Passwords may also be masked in this way. Multiple entries should be space, comma or semi-colon delimited. All entries are case sensitive.
  5. You may also include or exclude broadcast packets from your capture.
  6. You may select to capture only those packets that are sent and received from the system running Network Monitor, thus ignoring all other packets on the subnet.
  7. Click OK to save your settings.

Fine Tuning Driver Capture Settings

To optimize performance of your Network Monitor driver you may fine tune the Capture Settings. To do this select the Advanced option from the Configure menu. This displays the Advanced Capture Settings tab. Here you can fine tune the screen update, performance and display parameters.

Screen Update
The screen update options allow you to decide how the screen should be updated during a network packet capture. You have two choices:
  • Maintain your current scroll position. If you intend to scroll through the capture while it is going, it is probably best to select Maintain current scroll position. This means that the packets currently displayed will remain displayed even though the capture is going on and more packets are being added.
  • Scroll to the last packet at the specified interval. If on the other hand you prefer to watch the packets as they are being captured you should select the option to Scroll to the last packet every few seconds. Two seconds will work for most systems, however, you can choose to make this faster or slower as needed to minimize the flickering that automatic scrolling causes.
Performance Tuning
Depending on the memory available on your system you will want allocate more or less of your available memory to the capture buffer. Larger buffers may be more efficient on more powerful systems. Whenever you experience packet loss in a capture, it is a good idea to try increasing this value (within the limits of the available memory on your system) for better performance.

You may also choose to run the capture as a high or low priority process on the system. For best performance, run it as high priority.

Display Warning
At the end of each capture, you may choose to display a warning if the capture driver lost any packets during the capture.

This option allows you to decide how many connections Distinct Network Monitor will show as a single connection. When a packet is right clicked and Display only packets of this connection is selected, the window will display only packets of that specific connection. However, if the particular trace contains more than 64 connections, packets from more than one connection may be present. You many increase this number as required.

Defining your Statistics Settings

Several statistics settings can be configured through the Statistics Settings Configuration tab. Here you can decide which statistics should be viewed and how you wish to view them.

Report Folder
This is the folder in which all the Statistics reports you generate will be saved to. See the section Creating Reports, in this manual for more information on what Statistics reports can be created. Bandwidth Settings
The bandwidth settings allow you to map the period of time you wish to see bandwidth statistics for and decide the number of values to save. Reducing the update interval and increasing the maximum number of saved values may slow down the system.

Chart Type
Here you can decide how you wish to view your charts. You can have a three-dimensional bar chart, a three-dimensional pie chart or a two-dimensional bar chart.

Chart Settings
You can modify the refresh rate of the statistics charts. If you are experiencing any type of performance slow down, you may try to increase this value.

You may also choose to show chart labels by checking the Show chart labels option.

The Network Monitor will try to resolve all IP addresses to host names. This requires DNS lookup. If DNS is not defined on your system you must turn the Resolve IP addresses to names feature off.

Show Statistics
Here you can select which Statistics charts are to be displayed. Building and maintaining the Bandwidth charts requires a higher memory usage. If the system is experiencing any type of slowdown, you may try turning off the Bandwidth if you are not interested in these statistics.
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