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Simple Program to Monitor Network Traffic

Posted on 2007-03-28
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I have 2 PC's that ontain information from a server.  One user complains the network for her PC is slower than the other.  Other than using a ping does anyone know of simple software that will monitor traffic between the client and a destination hostname or IP address and highlight any bottlenecks.  
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Question by:tickleonthetum
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A1opus earned 1000 total points
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I will suggest Network Monitor.

Network Monitor is a component of the Windows Server OSs and Microsoft Systems Management Server (SMS) that lets you monitor network traffic as it crosses the wire. By using Network Monitor, you can monitor network traffic in real time or capture and store packets for later analysis. You can use the information that Network Monitor captures to troubleshoot problems on LANs, WANs, and virtually any device that uses TCP/IP to communicate. Network Monitor has three primary uses:

    * Troubleshooting network connectivity. This is the number-one reason to use Network Monitor. If you have two machines that have problems communicating with each other, you can use Network Monitor's Network Trace feature to help determine the problem's exact cause. You can also use Network Monitor to view each TCP/IP packet that travels between the two devices and the information contained within each packet.
    * Assessing network performance. Network Monitor gives you a clear picture of current network utilization. If you suspect that you have a network performance bottleneck, you can use the information that Network Monitor provides—such as detailed network-utilization statistics and information about the network traffic source—to find the bottleneck. Although you typically won't use Network Monitor to initially identify a problem as network communications­related, it's a great second-level troubleshooting tool that can help you further pinpoint a problem and displays much more detail than Performance Monitor does.
    * Troubleshooting beaconing hardware devices. Before switched networks existed, you could use Network Monitor to track down problems with hardware devices on a network. You can still use Network Monitor to track fragmented or damaged packets sent out by faulty equipment, but to do so you'll probably need the full version of Network Monitor, which supports remote agents and the capture of packets on a network segment even when the traffic isn't directed to the machine that's running Network Monitor. (For more information about the two versions of Network Monitor, see the sidebar "Network Monitor Versions.") If you have a managed switch, you can use a combination of the managed-switch statistics and Network Monitor to obtain as clear a picture of the problem as possible when diagnosing faulty network hardware.

Installing Network Monitor

To use Network Monitor, you must have a NIC that supports promiscuous mode installed in the server that's running SMS or Network Monitor. (Most NICs support promiscuous mode.) Network Monitor isn't installed by default unless you explicitly selected it when you installed Windows Server 2003 or Windows 2000 Server. To install the version of Network Monitor that's included in Windows 2003 or Win2K Server, perform these steps:

   1. Open Control Panel (click Start, highlight Settings, and click Control Panel).
   2. Double-click Add or Remove Programs.
   3. Click Add/Remove Windows Components.
   4. Click Management and Monitoring Tools, then click Details.
   5. Select the Network Monitor Tools check box and click OK.

Starting Network Monitor

After you've installed Network Monitor, you're ready to start the utility. Click Start, Programs, Administrative Tools, Network Monitor. (Alternatively, you can run Network Monitor from the command line or use a batch file to automate packet captures.) You'll see the initial Network Monitor screen. To start capturing packets, click the Capture button. After Network Monitor starts capturing packets.

Network Monitor is the simplest utility to monitor network traffic. If you found it difficult then let me know I will suggest you a different utility.
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by:Ron Malmstead
Ron Malmstead earned 1000 total points
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Ethereal, is MUCH better than ms netmon.
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