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Network Monitoring

I started to learn a bit more about network monitoring tools and how to monitor the network. One of these tools is “Whats UpGold”, which can monitor uptime on devices, probe for interface bandwidth utilization and various other items. I have just begun using this software to monitor 300+ cisco devices for uptime, bandwidth utilisation, and recommend it highly. One thing about it I like, you can setup maps of a town/city/state with dot points and if a device goes down the dot shows red, and if its up its green, so you exactly know when/where it goes down.

See website below for more info.

Whats Up Gold network monitoring
Whats Up Gold network monitoring

Ipswitch WhatsUp Gold is the world’s leading network management software with over 70,000 networks reliably managed worldwide. Built on a scalable and extensible architecture offering automated device discovery and network mapping, real-time SNMP and WMI monitoring, and versatile alerting, notification, and reporting functionality, WhatsUp Gold delivers 360° visibility, actionable intelligence, and complete control.

Now if you have the $$$ this other superb tool offers far more in-depth monitoring called CA eHealth, it has a deeper inspection inside the network such as utilization, latency, uptime between interfaces, and capacity planning, and other very detailed reports, compared to WhatsUp Gold.

Apparently this tool for enterprises costs around $500,000AUD to have it setup, which is why this is only used by the best of the best network operation centres to monitor large and complex networks.

For more info

CA eHealth
CA eHealth

Help ensure the network performance and availability of LANs, WANs, routers, switches and the technologies and the network services provided over them. CA eHealth® Network Performance Manager provides comprehensive, vendor-independent technology that enables you to pinpoint areas of network performance degradation and generate real-time management reports to identify the causes of problems.

Now you are probably wondering what about some FREE monitoring tools?! I personally use CACTI which is a fantastic monitoring tool for my home network, but can be used for business/large enterprise also. The tool is open source, and has a great support forum which is excellent. The tool is a network graphing solution and many examples can be found on its website what can be monitored.

Using Cacti to monitor WAN traffic on DDWRT firmware routers
Using Cacti to monitor WAN traffic on DDWRT firmware routers

Cacti is a complete network graphing solution designed to harness the power of RRDTool‘s data storage and graphing functionality. Cacti provides a fast poller, advanced graph templating, multiple data acquisition methods, and user management features out of the box. All of this is wrapped in an intuitive, easy to use interface that makes sense for LAN-sized installations up to complex networks with hundreds of devices.


WPA/WPA2 no longer safe?

A Russian firm is using the power of NVIDIA GPUs to accelerate WiFi ‘password recovery’ times up to 10,000 percent, with some people saying this means encrypted WiFi is no longer secure. David Hobson, managing director of GSS, claimed that companies can no longer view standards-based WiFi transmission as sufficiently secure against eavesdropping to be used with impunity.

Hmm looks like really we have to start implementing new measures to protect our wireless networks. I currently use WPA2 with a 63 character key, but it seems they want to even go to more depths in securing with VPN/Radius servers as extra measures of security.

Read more at: SC Magazine UK

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Went the other day to a job interview, and it was quite interesting. Was trying to apply more towards a specialised role in the network sector of IT. Had 2 questions come up which stumped me and I never heard of before. They asked what was 802.1X and SFP, and all i could say is 802.1X is a IEEE standard and SFP was some type of module which goes into a cisco switch/router . A few other questions they asked was what VLAN is and how it worked which i managed to explain quite clearly as i have done it in the CCNA training.

Few days passed and I managed to get the role, which I was really happy with. I did some research of what 802.1X and SFP was and managed to come up with this:

802.1X – Port based authentication, which you can setup on a VLAN etc and then have a Radius server which provides you authentication to the network. If you cannot authenticate, you cannot use the network basically, if radius server rejects.

SFP – Optical type transceiver which is plugable into switches/routers etc. They support SONET/Gig Ethernet/Fiber Chanel standards. Apparently they can do up to 4.25Gbits. I am used to the term GBiC when i worked with HP switches, so when SFP popped up was like what was that 😐

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