Visual Networks improves monitoring of WAN links

Visual Networks Inc. is introducing gear to monitor performance of wide-area IP networks from site to site.

Updated software and two new pieces of monitoring hardware will enable enterprises and service providers to track performance for service-level agreements (SLA) between sites as well as between individual router ports.

Service provider Equant says it plans to use this equipment to support SLAs it makes with companies that buy Equant's managed VPN services.

Visual is announcing Version 7.0 of its network monitoring software Visual Uptime and a new probe that supports it called IP Transport Analysis Service Element (ASE). In addition it is introducing Version 5.5 of its IPInsight software and a new hardware probe called an IP Service Element (ISE).

Visual Uptime 7.0 can be used to gather statistics about latency, lost packets and availability of IP services by site. It can also give a view of overall network use and what protocols are being carried over the network. This software upgrade requires a more powerful hardware probe, so the Transport ASE has more memory and a bigger processor than the previous ASE.

The software can issue reports on whether networks meet SLAs, enabling service providers to offer different qualities of IP services and verify to users whether they are being met. An enterprise can use the equipment to insure that applications requiring certain classes of service get them.

Visual Uptime also supports frame relay and ATM networks.

IPInsight 5.5 analyzes traffic between sites connected to an IP network via dedicated connections. Previous versions supported dial-up connections and DSL lines serving a single PC. To do this, users install an ISE between their LAN and their WAN router, where it gathers data about IP traffic moving in and out of the site. Data gathered by the probes is stored and made into reports by a centrally located server called a PAM.

ISEs cost US$2,000 apiece, and that includes licensing so it can work with a PAM. A Transport ASE costs $4,400, assuming the user already has an earlier version of Visual Uptime.

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