Network management for free
The authors of the LanView application suite are looking for network managers to beta test their latest release, LanView 3. MST Software says its aim is to build "the most comprehensive 'live' management suite any support department could want at a price everyone can afford. Free."

Anyone interested in joining the beta programme should be prepared to test the software on their network and report back in detail. To sign up, e-mail the Testing Manager and briefly describe yourself, your experience and what you can bring to the trial.

Cable Ethernet goes nationwide
Telewest Business is adding nationwide high-speed switched Ethernet to its existing metropolitan area network (MAN) services. It says that the services, available from 10Mbit/s to 1Gbit/s, will enable organisations to consolidate their inter-site connections, and replace legacy ATM and Frame Relay networks.

The services will be provided over Telewest's resilient and MPLS-capable IP backbone, and can be segmented using VLANs, to guarantee bandwidth for critical applications for example. Ethernet circuits can be point-to-point or point-to-multipoint, and can also incorporate MAN connectivity.

Fluke does WANs, plus free trials
The latest addition to the OptiView family of network analysers from Fluke Networks is a tool for troubleshooting and optimising bought-in WAN connections. The $12,995 OptiView DS3/E3 combines packet capture, statistical analysis and network discovery, and the company claims it can provide useful information within 20 minutes of starting work.

It adds that the user interface is designed to present the most important aspects of the circuit very simply, with the ability to drill down quickly into areas such as near-end and far-end router endpoints, DS3 or E3 physical layer connectivity, LMI heartbeat, and number of VCs. The device supports Frame Relay, ATM, PPP and HDLC technologies, and can capture up to 256MB of packet data at full line-rate.

Fluke has also announced a Test Drive programme jointly with Livingston, this offers network managers and engineers a free 48 hour trial of Fluke's EtherScope portable Gigabit network analyser. The 48-hour trial is open to qualified customers only, but it does include full technical support and requires no commitment to purchase or rent.

Three E's for instant messaging
Most organisations have no scheme in place to manage employee use of instant messaging (IM), according to a poll by Akonix Systems and the ePolicy Institute. Nearly 300 companies were asked, and 60 percent said they had no IM management system in place, while 38 percent do not have a formal IM usage policy.

Akonix adds that even in companies which do have IM usage policies, 21 percent said that employees openly flout the rules. It sells IM monitoring and management technology, and offers a free downloadable tool to detect rogue IM use.

"The easiest way for companies to approach instant messaging is to follow the three E's: Establish a written policy, Educate employees and Enforce policies with technology solutions," says Nancy Flynn, founder of the ePolicy Institute and author of the book Instant Messaging Rules. She added that unregulated IM use can be a serious security threat to an organisation.