Latest and greatest version of NPM 10.5 is ready for download from your customer portal.

 

Here are major improvements and new features:

  • Routing information including alerting for major routing protocols (RIP, OSPF, BGP)
    • View and search in routing tables.
    • See changes in default routes and flapping routes
    • View router topology and neighbor statuses
  • New Interface filtering UI to import discovery results:
    • Exclude virtual interfaces and access ports, or specific interface type
    • Select interfaces based on pattern matching including Regex formulas
    • The new preview UI for final selection of imported interfaces
  • Multicast traffic information monitoring and alerting, including topology information.
    • Automatic detection of multicast protocol and multicast group import into NPM
    • Display multicast information, route information, and device information in a single unified view
    • View multicast topology using upstream and downstream device list information
    • Generate intelligent alerts based on multicast errors
  • Interface Auditing
    • View user actions related to interface monitoring in NPM

 

As you may notice from above, this version of NPM adds another important element for successful and effective troubleshooting of connectivity and performance issues - monitoring of OSI L3 routing protocol information.

 

How does routing information impact network performance and availability?
     IP networks are critical for business missions, it’s not only router or switch hardware which can impact your network availability and performance. It’s also Incorrect routing or routing issues causing undesirable performance degradation, flapping and/or downtime. Getting such information requires “analytic tools”. In bigger network, routing can change very dynamically (adding/removing switches, Aps, VPNs, routers and IP subnets) and it’s almost impossible to monitor routing changes from the inside of the routers (too much simultaneous data).

 

Also, information like “Flapping Route” are not available for most of protocols directly on the server. The flapping route problem will cause frequent re-calculation of network topology by all participating routers or flood network with many Update packets. In both cases it prevents the network from routing and correct packet addressing. Another common issue is human error caused by incorrect creation of static routes. ICMP Ping won’t help you and since you can see that the device is up and running but you really need to see routers settings and check packet routing.

How is routing presented in NPM?

     If NPM recognizes that Node is actually a router that runs one of the OSPF, BPG or RIP protocol it will automatically gets routing information from such device. Routing information is then mapped to existing Nodes and Interfaces in NPM so you may see device availability statuses and network performance data. All new resources are under "Networking" tab on Node detail page.

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NPM 10.5 also automatically detects multicast protocol traffic and imports multicast groups as a monitored object.

What is multicast?

      IP multicast is widely deployed in enterprises, and multimedia content delivery networks. A common enterprise use of IP multicast is for IPTV application. It’s also used for video and teleconferencing and it is about to transmit a single message to a selected group of recipients. A simple example of multicasting is sending an e-mail message to a mailing list. Mutlicast protocol is well known as a bandwidth-conserving technology that reduces traffic because it simultaneously delivers a single stream of information to thousands of recipients.


How to understand multicast availability and performance information?

     Because the topology is sometimes complicated it’s difficult to understand who can and who can’t receive multicast traffic. The network availability is a key and the status of the whole multicast group is a representative of (not)successful transfer of multicast stream.

Even though Multicast is designed to save bandwidth utilization, with many groups and many multicast sources & receivers, network may become saturated very quickly. There are tools like NTA which can sniff the network data and tell you what apps are causing the network traffic but people usually need to quickly read multicast node traffic utilization – bits per second. Looking at overall traffic consumed by multicast node, users may see the ratio of multicast vs. another type of traffic on the network and then optimizes QoS configuration to increase/decrease traffic priority, upgrade the link or change multicast routing so the traffic may go via another line. In a case that the multicast group status reports a problem, people need to have an information about Multicast Topology. Only topology information allows you to quickly jump between Upstream or Downstream device and let you find the root cause of the problem fast.


How NPM 10.5 solves Multicast problem?

     During first network scan, NPM detects multicast groups and list of nodes that are subscribed to each one.

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NPM then creates a topology of upstream and downstream devices within a group and detects interfaces that forward or receive multicast traffic.

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Re-worked Interface filtering page

     This is something you've asked us to improve (for example here or here on Thwack). We understand that filter & import only desirable interfaces took some time with previous version of the Interface discovery filter. If you run Discovery Importing wizard in NPM 10.5 you'll find re-worked UI for interface importing. You can filter by Interface status, VLAN port type, protocol type, hardware type. It now has support for advanced filtering and Regex conditions so create filter that will import just physical interfaces that are part of the specific VLAN ID is a matter of few seconds.

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I believe that you will like the new functionality of NPM 10.5 and stay tuned, because we are already working on the next version.