Network Health Check – Online Service

What’s It For?

A network health check scatter plot of DNS response time

The NTAS Network Health Check is for the Network Manager who has a gut feeling that something isn’t quite right, or needs solid evidence to show the state of important network assets such as:

  • A WAN link
  • An inter-DC link
  • ISP access circuits
  • Website internet infrastructure
  • Critical DC links

There are three typical reasons for commissioning a network health check:

  • You have a gut feeling that something isn’t quite right but you’re not sure what
  • You are running a service improvement programme and need to identify the opportunities
  • You need to check that there’s sufficient network capacity to accommodate a new application

This is an online service. You collect packet data and upload it to our secure analysis facility, and we return a report giving you complete insight into the state of your network. We support packet data from all common sources including Wireshark, Linux tcpdump, Microsoft netsh trace, Microsoft NetMon, Microsoft MAPT, Viavi, NetScout Infinistream, Riverbed NetShark, Endace, Savvius and many more.

What are the Benefits?

We’ll analyse your packet data to help you understand:

  • The headroom in your network
  • Underlying problems that could impact performance and stability in the future
  • Opportunities to optimise the TCP/IP stack

With the insight we provide, you can:

  • Improve service levels
  • Avoid future performance or stability issues
  • Avoid a new application overloading the network
  • Accurately target upgrades to maximise the ROI

What Does an NTAS Network Health Check Deliver?

We deliver a report covering:

  • Key network metrics
  • Conclusions regarding the state of the network
  • Actionable recommendations

Each project concludes with a video conference debrief to answer any questions you or your team may have.

Which Key Metrics?

  • Bandwidth demand
  • Top Talkers
  • Top Conversation
  • Packet loss
  • Error rates
  • Latency and jitter
  • Response times
  • TCP/IP stack performance

When is a Network Health Check Not Appropriate?

It’s best not to use a health check if you have specific problems. If the problem is intermittent, the cause may be transient and you may not capture an instance of the cause. Also, a health check must provide an overall view of the network, and so data must be aggregated and summarised. The aggregation may mask the cause of an intermittent problem.

The acid test is to ask yourself, “If I commission this health check and it doesn’t identify any problems, will that be an acceptable outcome?”. If it’s not acceptable, use the Network Trace Analysis Service.

Why?

We work with many organisations that have the equipment and skills necessary to collect network packet captures. They are aware of the power of packet analysis, but few are able to gain useful insight from the data.

Let’s look at the challenges of performing a network health check through protocol analysis:

  • Unless the analyst studies traces regularly, there is a steep learning curve with every project
  • The analyst, typically a senior engineer, must be given significant time to get up to speed and conduct the analysis
  • Senior engineers are a valuable resource and often key to the success of strategic projects
  • A network health check requires the analysis of large amounts of data, and this is time-consuming
  • Pulling senior staff onto trace analysis tasks causes delays to strategic projects

Contrast that with our NTAS Network Health Check service:

  • Our team analyses many networks and so provides objective opinions regarding the state of yours
  • Our proprietary trace analysis technology enables us to process large volumes of data quickly and accurately
  • The overhead on your staff is minimised, freeing them to get on with the important stuff

How Does It Work?

A few simple steps take you from raw packet data to a network health check report:

  • You collect network packet data for segments of the network that you would like to check
  • You use a standard browser to login to the NTAS portal
  • A simple workflow prompts for information to provide context
  • Through the portal, you upload the collected packet capture files
  • An automated process checks the quality of the data
  • The portal provides a commercial quote within minutes
  • If you are happy with the quote, you simply pay by credit card or PayPal
  • A skilled Performance & Stability Engineer (PSE) analyses the data
  • The PSE delivers a high-quality network health check report
  • We invite you and your team to a WebEx debrief session

What About Security?

We work for some of the most security sensitive organisations in the world, and so we have a good understanding of what’s required. Click here for details.

And Terms & Conditions?

You can find the Terms & Conditions for the service here.

What About The Commercials?

Click here for full details of the fee schemes we offer.

Where Can I Find More Information?

For guidance on network packet capture, try this section of the TribeLab Community website.