Portable traffic generator spots network trouble

Device allows administrators to test network loads on the road

Sometimes testing the traffic capacity of a network requires something a bit more portable than a rack-mounted system. Commercial and government users in remote sites can't carry large, bulky pieces of testing equipment with them, so what's needed is a portable device.

Developed by NextComputing LLC and Napatech Inc., the Continuum traffic generator is a portable system in a carrying case designed to create two 10-gigabit network packet streams over an optical cable to test network traffic.

Continuum can support and operate most common operating standards and protocols such as Ethernet, virtual local-area network and text-based protocols such as HTTP, said Aaron Sherman, NextComputing’s marketing director, at the 2011 Department of Defense Intelligence Information Systems Worldwide Conference in Detroit. “It really handles almost anything,” he said.

Besides testing a network’s load bearing capability, Continuum also has security applications. As a security tool, the traffic generator can be used to monitor a network’s traffic and to collect data about packet destinations. The device supports a variety of packet capture and playback software applications to help scrutinize network traffic.

“If you have an idea that there might be a threat but you’re not sure, it can monitor and analyze it,” he said.

About the Author

Henry Kenyon is a contributing writer for Defense Systems.

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