Traffic graphing for fun and profit
Monitoring network and resource usage long term, as well as short, allows administrators to plan ahead and bill for usage, not merely respond to problems, said Paessler as it announced version 5 of its PRTG Traffic Grapher software. The company said that it has added network protocol analysis in this version, enabling the program to compile lists of the top talkers, top connections and top protocols by scanning packets for the protcol and the source and target address.

PRTG Traffic Grapher runs on Windows and can collect data via SNMP, packet sniffing, and NetFlow. Other new features in v5 include a user interface redesigned for large network use, and a reporting system that includes a billing system. The software is available as freeware for up to three sensors, or in commercial form for larger networks from $50.

Stay alert to excess bandwidth
Avoid paying over-bandwidth fees and make sure you have the documentation needed for compliance and auditing by tracking your network throughput, said Neon Software, the developer of CyberGauge for Windows. It added that CyberGauge 6.5 can automatically create real-time utilisation graphs as well as regular quality of service (QoS) and billing reports.

Neon said that in version 6.5 it has added features to send and log alerts when significant network events occur, such as traffic exceeding predefined limits, a device going offline or the data transfer rate going out of specification. CyberGauge costs from $395 for five devices with any number of interfaces, and a single copy of the software can be upgraded to monitor up to 50 different pieces of network equipment.

Tracking net usage for free via NetFlow
NetFlow data from Cisco routers and switches can provide organisations with a wide range of usage reports, including top hosts, top applications, top protocols and top conversations, traffic patterns and bandwidth usage details across interfaces and IP addresses, claimed AdventNet as it released a free edition of its NetFlow Analyzer software for Windows and Linux.

The free edition can collect and report on NetFlow data from a maximum of two interfaces, which should satisfy the needs of smaller organisations, according to AdventNet. It added that the latest version includes reports on autonomous systems and support for NetFlow version 7, and that the free edition can be upgraded to its more capable professional edition.