In-Depth

Editor's Choice: DNS Name Resolution

<b>Winner: </b>Visualware VisualRoute 6.1a<br> <br> <b>Honorable Mention:</b> <a href="#nessoft">Nessoft Ping Plotter</a>

VisualRoute 6.1a $39.95 (Personal Edition)  Visualware; 299-668-3673; www.visualware.com

When I first caught a glimpse of VisualRoute 6 from Visualware I had to scrape the scripts and show off this little jewel of an application to anyone who came within 10 feet of my workstation. Now, whether the onlookers are tech-know or techno-phobe, when I explain that I can pinpoint the physical location of any IP address or Web site on the colorful global map included in VisualRoute, I usually get a frenzy of suggested sites to check and spend the next several minutes showing them where in the world their favorite Web site really is.

Once I got over the excitement of having a cool, new toy, I realized I had a well-developed tool for serious network troubleshooting on my hands. Once I was called on to do some network-traffic analysis of our network and, in particular, discover any bottlenecks between the network and that of another business several thousand miles away. I plugged in the known IP address of the other business, watched VisualRoute iterate through several traces and, ultimately, show me not only how many routers I had to go through to get to the other network but also which router was lagging and how much data I was losing to dropped packets.

Visualware VisualRoute 6.1a
Visualware VisualRoute’s colorful map pinpoints the physical location of IP addresses, as well as Web sites. (Click image to view larger version.)

After running traces, I was able to export or “snap” the output to an HTML report, which included the statistics, as well as the map and trace lines that represented the hops through various routers and servers.

VisualRoute is one of several tools by Visualware that can assist in providing important information such as intruder detection and network performance statistics. I still use command-line tools when I’m at a system without VisualRoute installed, but it’s painful to go back and remember cryptic options and dump output to boring old text files. Luckily, Visualware has a VisualRoute Server component that allows traces to be done in a browser using the local IP address and through any firewall that allows HTTP traffic through. I may never ping again.

Honorable Mention
Ping Plotter
$15 per computer
Nessoft
www.pingplotter.com

Though my runner-up application, Ping Plotter by Nessoft, doesn’t display graphical maps for its traces or give the names of cities where the hops are located, it’s ideal for automated testing and does produce full-color output easily discernable for finding trouble spots in a network path. Graphing over time at specified intervals and the ability to auto-save traces are just two of many built-in features that make Ping Plotter worthy of an administrator’s toolkit and not simply another utility to grab a quick hop count and little else.

About the Author

Rodney Landrum is an MCSE working as a data analyst and systems engineer for a software development company in Pensacola, Florida.  He has a new book from Apress entitled ProSQL Server Reporting Services.

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Reader Comments:

Tue, Nov 7, 2006 Anonymous Anonymous

Theres a big difference between pingplotter and visualroute thats why serious network guys are using visualroute. Fo instance, ping plotter does not differentiate router that are configured not to respond from ICMP request and for routers that has questionable packet loss. Visualroute differentiate them by color, black and red - should investigate router with red packet loss as router with black packet loss mostly configured not to respond to ICMP request.

Fri, Aug 29, 2003 Frauchiger Alain Switherland

PingPlotter ? ... simply the best

Wed, Jun 25, 2003 Gumbus Sandusky, Ohio

Ping Plotter is a very good tool... u must try it.

Wed, Apr 2, 2003 Anonymous Anonymous

ping plotter is brilliant. i'm amazed none of the NOC type folks i've struggled with have ever heard of it.

Mon, Jan 20, 2003 Anonymous Anonymous

I'm not sure how either of these products made it into the category of "DNS Name Resolution" - as neither of them have this as their primary goal.

That said, these are both great products, with similar but different uses.

I use Ping Plotter constantly for monitoring uptime and doing short and long-term network troubleshooting. Ping Plotter is a must-have tool for anyone doing any kind of IP network troubleshooting.

Sat, Dec 28, 2002 fhgfgf hghjhg

trzzzzzzrth

Mon, Nov 25, 2002 Anonymous Anonymous

Can't live without it

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