Itheon Networks has announced a compact network simulator which can check, on a desktop, how applications will perform over a wide area network.

The company describes its Network Emulator Compact as "the ideal one-per-desk network simulator" - small, affordable, and simple to use inline, so developers and testers can check how applications will work in wide area, remote or wireless network conditions.

INE Compact is aimed at anyone interested in the behaviour of their applications including network specialists, professional developers, and testers, said the company.

However, users needn't be network experts, according to Itheon, as it's easy to use because of its embedded Windows XP interface and pre-packaged network scenarios - you can download more from the company's website. OS-agnostic, it can be used with any Ethernet based technology, reckoned Itheon.

The device sits between the host machine and end-user client, either directly or via switches and routers, where it applies realistic network environments to show the ‘real’ performance of the application in WAN or wireless network conditions, said Itheon. It allows users to recreate all the major conditions that can affect applications in the network such as link speed for T1, E1, modem, (A)DSL, GPRS, 3G, WiMAX, and satellite; latency, jitter, available bandwidth, packet loss/error/reordering etc. It can be controlled asymmetrically or symmetrically.

Other benefits include its ability to boot almost instantly and its unobtrusiveness. It's 300mm by 180mm and is silent, according to the company, so users won't disturb colleagues. It's also compatible with load testing and performance testing products such as Mercury Loadrunner V8.1 and Facilita’s Forecast, said the company.

“Itheon Networks goal is to provide, at affordable prices, the tools needed to address the whole networked application performance lifecycle from initial design and development, through testing, QA, to production rollout and ongoing performance monitoring,” said product manager Frank Puranik.

“The introduction of INE Compact complements that approach. We now have a range of software-only, compact appliance and Enterprise portable/rack-mount network simulation solutions to suit the needs of organisations both large and small. In fact, Itheon Networks now offers one of the most comprehensive ranges of network emulation products to help you simulate realistic network environments.”

Itheon said INE Compact is part of a suite of products used in multi-user, multi-site tests in many worldwide organisations.