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Packets that predict the future

ClearSight says its new Packet Generator not only troubleshoots today's network problems, but can also identify future issues with infrastructure components prior to implementation.

As resource-intensive applications such as video and voice become more widely adopted on existing networks, some organizations are unknowingly tipping the scales and jeopardizing quality of service.

To thwart such problems, network simulation tools -- like ClearSight Networks Inc.'s new packet generator -- not only troubleshoot the jitter and latency caused by a weighed-down network, but also predict these issues prior to an implementation.

Fremont, Calif.-based ClearSight on Monday unveiled its application, which simulates network traffic conditions to test network capabilities and worst-case scenarios.

The ClearSight Packet Generator can simulate live network traffic conditions and ultimately verify network capacity. It's intended to help network administrators recognize a network's limits and shortcomings before adding new users or deploying robust applications.

Administrators can set and change parameters, randomize packets and edit content throughout the simulation. Plus, an action recorder within the software enables the user to save and replay sets of packet generation sessions for later use.

Packet Generator can be used in conjunction with the ClearSight Analyzer as the generator simulates traffic and the analyzer monitors the traffic bytes and frames at the physical layer.

ClearSight's CEO, A. William Berkman Jr., said the generator tool can also be used in training environments when simulation of a live network environment is helpful.

Available today, the standalone ClearSight Packet Generator is $1,995 and $1,295 with the purchase of a ClearSight Analyzer.

Matt Holbert, chief architect for the Herndon, Va.-based Netco Government Services Inc., said the generator allows his firm to service customers such as the Department of Defense with streamlined, secure and easily managed systems.

Holbert said he deployed the product one month ago, figured out how to implement the software in 15 minutes and has been pleased with its performance since.

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"We're able to analyze network performance using real application traffic captured from an operational network," Holbert added. "And it was offered at a much lower price than the other systems we looked at."

Berkman said the generator has a lower price tag because it's solely software based and utilizes the hardware of its user's PC, versus competitors that require the purchase of separate hardware.

He said ClearSight's generator is specifically designed for the ease of use in an enterprise with 500 or more network nodes.

"This is not cutting-edge technology," Berkman said. "It is unique in that it's competitively priced and competitively functioned."

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