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What's the best way to measure throughput for Ethernet over SDH implementations and why?

What's the best way to measure throughput for Ethernet over SDH implementations and why?

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For successful management and monitoring of SONET technologies, I would deploy a protocol analyzer to monitor and report upon bandwidth throughput and protocol distributions. The reason I would choose a protocol analyzer solution is to encompass two things. First it would integrate well with the management of the entire network as a whole through one view but still allow drill-downs into time-sensitive, more data-granular issues. Also, historical trending of the protocol analysis is important to identify significant changes in the network environment. If changes are made, the cause and effect of the historical trends should help isolate and identify problems. It's also relevant to note that the protocol analyzers not only identify the current utilization of the circuits but what is causing the utilization of the circuits. If excessive broadcast/multicast or significant user traffic is causing an issue, the protocol analyzers will allow for the identification and isolation of this issue to reduce the amount of time troubleshooting the devices themselves.

Several protocol analyzers are on the market and you should choose the right one for your environment. There are a few freeware utilities out there as well that will generate the same types of information but store it only for a very low amount of time and the graphical displays are a little crude. I would highly recommend anything that reports upon NetFlow data if possible in your infrastructure. Cisco products offer robust support for NetFlow technologies and many other vendors are providing NetFlow type reporting to collectors as well. For more information, check out the NetFlow product page on Cisco's web site.

This was first published in May 2005

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