This morning I hosted a webcast on network management basics and I polled the audience to find out which of them were network engineers, network administrators, sys admins, infrastructure folks, and etc. The results to this question always surprise me as nowadays IT professionals go by so many different titles and labels. Even though the attendees for this webcast covered a broad range of specialties, across the board they expressed an interest in being able to analyze network performance.
Most of the time when we're looking at network performance we're looking at trends and analyzing historical data. However, sometimes you need to be able to analyze network performance in real time (or near real time) and that sort of analysis requires specialized tools. So, we decided to launch a new free tool to help with this - the Real Time Bandwidth Monitor.
The Real Time Bandwidth Monitor allows you to monitor bandwidth utilization on a network interface (both directions) at a very granular level, down to a 500 millisecond polling interval. Since most network devices (routers, switches, firewalls, load balancers, and etc) don't provide for sub-second MIB updates this is quite literally as fast as you can go. Often I find myself in a situation where I need to test how the network behaves, in real-time, under load and this is a great tool for doing this. Combined with the WAN Killer, a traffic generator found in our Engineer's Toolset, and the Real Time NetFlow Traffic Analyzer (another free tool) you can easily reproduce and diagnose congestion issues.