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How to know if network traffic is OK or not ?

Posted on 2007-03-30
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Last Modified: 2010-03-18
Hi, now I'm in charge of the LAN where I work.... I know a little bit about protocols and packets, layers, etc... but we want to know if there is over-traffic on the network or lost packets... well i'm not sure, everything that is wrong.

I have read that I can do this with Ethereal.... and I downloaded it, but I have no idea what to do with the information that it captures.

Could you help me ? or at least give me some URLs to read about this.

Thanks!
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Question by:blueshaolin
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5 Comments
 
LVL 77

Accepted Solution

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Rob Williams earned 800 total points
ID: 18823425
Since you are not sure what you are looking for rather than creating filters you might be best to just make a capture and one by one remove the traffic you know is OK, then analyze what is left. To do so right click on a line with a known protocol, such as SMTP and choose "apply as a filter" and then "not selected".

There is a problem with using Ethereal. If you are connected to a switch, you will only see the traffic between you and the switch. If you have a managed switch you can mirror a selected port, or you can install an old basic hub between the switch and source (such as Internet) and plug into that. Hubs broadcast all traffic to all ports.
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LVL 26

Assisted Solution

by:Fred Marshall
Fred Marshall earned 800 total points
ID: 18823456
Without doing a big study project, you might consider getting some empirical experience.
Hook up a couple of computers on a hub (a hub, not a switch, just to make sure you see all the traffic).  Run Ethereal on one of them and see what happens when you PING and so forth....
Try it with compatible IP addresses.  Try it with incompatible IP addresses.

If you see something you don't understand then direct a bit of research to that topic - like ARP perhaps.

You say "everything that is wrong" .... is there a specific problem?

One manifestation of over-traffic would be lots of messages coming out from a single source and with no apparent reason.  That might suggest a parasite.  Certainly if the messages are running through all likely IP addresses one after another!
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LVL 22

Assisted Solution

by:Rick Hobbs
Rick Hobbs earned 400 total points
ID: 18825072
Before you start looking at the traffic I would recommend looking at the systems on the network.  Make sure you have a good Antivirus and Anti-spyware software package in place (like Symantec Antivirus Corporate V10.1.5.5000) and run a full scan on the servers and workstations.  Generally eliminating all viruses, spyware, and adware is a major benefit and eliminates excessive traffic.   Also, a Software Restriction Policy (SRP) can help eliminate traffics from games, streaming media and the like.
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LVL 77

Expert Comment

by:Rob Williams
ID: 19276041
Thanks blueshaolin.
Cheers !
--Rob
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LVL 22

Expert Comment

by:Rick Hobbs
ID: 19278700
Thanks!.  Hope I was of some help.
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