Matt Brunk
Matt Brunk has worked in past roles as director of IT for a multisite health care firm; president of Telecomworx,...
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Matt Brunk | June 24, 2013 |


Fluke Networks OptiView XG: A Hummer On the Network

Fluke Networks OptiView XG: A Hummer On the Network There's no doubt that powerful network assessment tools can help you optimize your deployment and create a model for other sites to follow.

There's no doubt that powerful network assessment tools can help you optimize your deployment and create a model for other sites to follow.

Fluke Networks provided me an OptiView XG (with all options) for one month of use. The first week I familiarized myself with the tablet and looked at our network and WLAN before taking it out to customer sites.

We focused on two campus (K-8) sites that are similar.

Campus 1 (K-8)--We used the network assessment to map and detect issues. We knew there were issues when we first engaged the customer. Finding those issues was a matter of minutes.

As we reviewed the reports we discovered a workstation NIC stuck in what appeared to be "loopback." We uncovered active NETBUI protocol and IPX then disabled them on the reported workstations and printers. In the backbone network at two separate buildings there was high packet loss, and the report made it easy to isolate the LAN switch names and then drill down to their IP and MAC addresses.

Next we noted the inventory and found that the customer had 4 generations of LAN switches between two manufacturers, and more than half of the switches were factory out-of-date and support.

After installing an access point (802.11n), we used the AirMagnet WiFi Analyzer tools to evaluate the rest of the building for AP placement. Next we used the onboard packet trace to have a look at the traffic and found numerous retail unmanaged APs/Routers. Then we proceeded with load testing the LAN and found, again, high packet loss from two defective switches.

A really cool tool within the AirMagnet suite is the ability to detect access points using an audible and visual tool. Then, the spectrum analyzer removes any question or doubt about signal strength, packet loss or placement of APs.

The key point we stressed with this customer is the lack of continuity on their site within their LAN infrastructure. Sniffing packets and trying to run down the numerous issues would normally require hours of time, not minutes. Fluke Networks has touted in the past that time is money and challenged, "What is your Mean-Time-To-Know?"

Years ago we used a tool made by 3Com--Transcend Network Discovery. Transcend even had some monitoring capabilities, but nothing like the OptiView. The cool thing about the OptiView tablet is it can remain onsite and remotely accessible. Troubles don't always surface while you're onsite, and as traffic loads change throughout the day, this is when you really need to peg the source of issues. With the OptiView, this is easily accomplished. We drilled down in every instance to the IP and MAC address of the source problem. It took seconds and was painless and we could do it from anywhere without being onsite.

The other affirmation is that after a network undergoes changes, re-testing removes unnecessary risk. In past interviews with Fluke Networks I've theorized on this methodology--testing each change or layer of changes and not leaving anything to chance.

Campus 2 (K-8)--With a recent infrastructure buildout using a 1-Gbps fiber backbone network and 802.11n WLAN, we wanted to load-test this network. A beta firewall (Under NDA) with multiple 10-Gbps ports was in place too. The voice solution is under NDA and it too is in Beta (since last summer). All workstations and devices were online, including the 40 workstations in the school computer lab.

This site has aggregation, two active VLANs and enabled in the LAN is "Layer 3 Lite," an Adtran feature in the switches with the capability to cache routes and hosts into the switch fabric to perform hardware routing. This feature also allows them to support more than one virtual local area network (VLAN) IP interface for management. As new routes are added to the switch, it forwards these routes into a hardware table. Similarly, as new hosts are added to the ARP and MAC tables, it pushes these hosts into a hardware host-forwarding table. Any traffic with hosts or routes in these tables is routed via hardware at line speed.

We ran the maximum load test on the network for 30 minutes and monitored the traffic using the beta firewall management port to verify that the network was loaded. There were no errors logged and packets were observed at Layer 3.

Next, we used AirMagnet and relocated four Access Points. Two were moved less than 7 feet while the other two were moved less than 20 feet. These moves were easily accomplished and netted improved coverage in each of the affected areas.

While we found zero issues, we confirmed that all the work paid off and our interest is in showing other campuses that this site is a proven model site. This particular campus is still under "work," meaning: we are extending fiber to other buildings, adding more WiFi, LAN infrastructure and network security cameras. We anticipate that access control and HVAC will also reside on the campus network.

Other sites were tested and we found the same consistent results and ease of use with the OptiView XG. As configured, the OptiView XG tablet is sold on the street for about $38,500 and I can say firsthand that it's akin to a Hummer running on your network.

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March 7, 2018

Video collaboration is experiencing significant change and innovation-how can your enterprise take advantage? In this webinar, leading industry analyst Ira Weinstein will present detailed analysis

February 21, 2018

Business agility has become the strongest driver for enterprises to begin migrating their communications to the cloud-and its a benefit that enterprises are already realizing. To gain this benefit

February 7, 2018

Enterprises are starting to grasp the critical importance of security and compliance in their team collaboration deployments. And once the risks are mitigated, your enterprise can integrate these n

March 12, 2018
An effective E-911 implementation doesn't just happen; it takes a solid strategy. Tune in for tips from IT expert Irwin Lazar, of Nemertes Research.
March 9, 2018
IT consultant Steve Leaden lays out the whys and how-tos of getting the green light for your convergence strategy.
March 7, 2018
In advance of his speech tech tutorial at EC18, communications analyst Jon Arnold explores what voice means in a post-PBX world.
February 28, 2018
Voice engagement isn't about a simple phone call any longer, but rather a conversational experience that crosses from one channel to the next, as Daniel Hong, a VP and research director with Forrester....
February 16, 2018
What trends and technologies should you be up on for your contact center? Sheila McGee-Smith, Contact Center & Customer Experience track chair for Enterprise Connect 2018, gives us the lowdown.
February 9, 2018
Melanie Turek, VP of connected work research at Frost & Sullivan, walks us through key components -- and sticking points -- of customer-oriented digital transformation projects.
February 2, 2018
UC consultant Marty Parker has crunched lots of numbers evaluating UC options; tune in for what he's learned and tips for your own analysis.
January 26, 2018
Don't miss out on the fun! Organizer Alan Quayle shares details of his pre-Enterprise Connect hackathon, TADHack-mini '18, showcasing programmable communications.
December 20, 2017
Kevin Kieller, partner with enableUC, provides advice on how to move forward with your Skype for Business and Teams deployments.
December 20, 2017
Zeus Kerravala, principal analyst with ZK Research, shares his perspective on artificial intelligence and the future of team collaboration.
December 20, 2017
Delanda Coleman, Microsoft senior marketing manager, explains the Teams vision and shares use case examples.
November 30, 2017
With a ruling on the FCC's proposed order to dismantle the Open Internet Order expected this month, communications technology attorney Martha Buyer walks us through what's at stake.
October 23, 2017
Wondering which Office 365 collaboration tool to use when? Get quick pointers from CBT Nuggets instructor Simona Millham.
September 22, 2017
In this podcast, we explore the future of work with Robert Brown, AVP of the Cognizant Center for the Future of Work, who helps us answer the question, "What do we do when machines do everything?"
September 8, 2017
Greg Collins, a technology analyst and strategist with Exact Ventures, delivers a status report on 5G implementation plans and tells enterprises why they shouldn't wait to move ahead on potential use ....
August 25, 2017
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August 16, 2017
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August 11, 2017
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August 4, 2017
Andrew Prokop, communications evangelist with Arrow Systems Integration, has lately been working on integrating enterprise communications into Internet of Things ecosystems. He shares examples and off....
July 27, 2017
Industry watcher Elka Popova, a Frost & Sullivan program director, shares her perspective on this acquisition, discussing Mitel's market positioning, why the move makes sense, and more.
July 14, 2017
Lantre Barr, founder and CEO of Blacc Spot Media, urges any enterprise that's been on the fence about integrating real-time communications into business workflows to jump off and get started. Tune and....
June 28, 2017
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June 9, 2017
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June 2, 2017
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May 24, 2017
Mark Winther, head of IDC's global telecom consulting practice, gives us his take on how CPaaS providers evolve beyond the basic building blocks and address maturing enterprise needs.
May 18, 2017
Diane Myers, senior research director at IHS Markit, walks us through her 2017 UC-as-a-service report... and shares what might be to come in 2018.
April 28, 2017
Change isn't easy, but it is necessary. Tune in for advice and perspective from Zeus Kerravala, co-author of a "Digital Transformation for Dummies" special edition.
April 20, 2017
Robin Gareiss, president of Nemertes Research, shares insight gleaned from the firm's 12th annual UCC Total Cost of Operations study.
March 23, 2017
Tim Banting, of Current Analysis, gives us a peek into what the next three years will bring in advance of his Enterprise Connect session exploring the question: Will there be a new model for enterpris....
March 15, 2017
Andrew Prokop, communications evangelist with Arrow Systems Integration, discusses the evolving role of the all-important session border controller.
March 9, 2017
Organizer Alan Quayle gives us the lowdown on programmable communications and all you need to know about participating in this pre-Enterprise Connect hackathon.
March 3, 2017
From protecting against new vulnerabilities to keeping security assessments up to date, security consultant Mark Collier shares tips on how best to protect your UC systems.
February 24, 2017
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From the most basics of basics to the hidden gotchas, UC consultant Melissa Swartz helps demystify the complex world of SIP trunking.
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UC&C consultant Kevin Kieller, a partner at enableUC, shares pointers for making the right architectural choices for your Skype for Business deployment.
February 1, 2017
Elka Popova, a Frost & Sullivan program director, shares a status report on the UCaaS market today and offers her perspective on what large enterprises need before committing to UC in the cloud.
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January 23, 2017
Sheila McGee-Smith, Contact Center/Customer Experience track chair for Enterprise Connect 2017, tells us what we need to know about the role cloud software is playing in contact centers today.