Who's Driving Your WiFi? (by Tony Fortunato)
Bittwiste: pcap Capture File Editor (by Joke Snelders)

Pinpointing your Networks Root Troubles - Compass from Wildpackets (by Chris Bloom)


WildPackets Compass Overview (by Tony Fortunato)


When you’ve been monitoring your network for a long period of time, it’s difficult to know where to start your analysis. It’s like a shot in the dark, or like finding a needle in a haystack. You can either open individual trace files one at a time, or run a time consuming forensics search. Both of these techniques assume you have a clue about what to search for. The problem is that often times, you may not have a clue. 

WildPackets Compass (standalone), an easy-to-use interactive network analysis dashboard for both wired and wireless networks, displays network utilization over time, including top nodes and protocols, for network analysis files from OmniPeek (.pkt files) as well as .pcap files created from WireShark and other packet capture software. With Compass, you can graph, dynamically interact with, and report on key network statistics, allowing you to find your way through large quantities of network analysis data. With the ability to aggregate traffic from multiple wireless channels and wired segments, you can solve problems faster with the direction and visibility Compass gives to your network.

Here are the three easy steps to drill down and find the source of your network problems with Compass:

1. Upload your pkt or pcap file(s)

You can add .pkt files, pcap files and other packet capture software files or drag and drop them into the Compass Files view. The Compass user interface displays both the file view as well as the network statistics in the interactive graph area. There are a total of three interactive graphs that display information about the top nodes, top protocols, and network utilization over time (timeline graph).

2. Select a period of time for deeper analysis

Using the interactive timeline graph, you can zoom into any specific area of time. As you change the selected time range, the statistics change accordingly in all of the graphs. You can select seconds or milliseconds as your time frame when you analyzing data of two seconds or less. The scale button automatically becomes active, allowing you to increase the granularity from seconds to milliseconds. In millisecond mode every second has 1,000 points in the graph. You can correlate data by adding or removing nodes and/or protocols to the timeline graph with a single click. If the total utilization out scales the nodes and protocols, you can turn off the total utilization to better visualize just nodes and protocols of interest.

3. Create your report

Once you find the area of interest, you can hit the report button. The report reflects the statistics from the screen, and is based on an html template that can be customized.

Bottom Line - WildPackets Compass presents a new way to visualize and interact with network analysis data. You no longer have to load and examine all packets first to determine network issues, instead you can graphically see problems in the network, pinpoint the time and place, and then perform deep packet analysis.

Try it for Free - Check it out!!

Visit cnet's Download.com to download WildPackets Compass (standalone) for free and give it a try.


Chrisbloom - wildpackets Author - Chris Bloom, aka SpacePacket, is a senior software engineer. Chris has worked at WildPackets for 15 years where he manages the custom engineering team, writes code, teaches an SDK class, and provides content for the website. Chris’s innovations include over 40 plug-ins on MyPeek, including the OmniPeek Google Map Plugin, the Compass Forensics Dashboard, the Wireless Channel Aggregator, and the Latency Monitor.