WAN Analysis Tool
A WAN analysis tool provides network administrators with “what, where and when” information relating to traffic flowing across their networks. Depending on the type of WAN analysis tool being used, the information can be used to deduce patterns in communication, identify bottlenecks, monitor bandwidth, respond to security alerts and enforce acceptable use policies.
However, not all tools for WAN analysis are the same. Some tools for WAN analysis use network flow data to produce their information, while others use deep packet inspection. Some smaller networks can be monitored using agents or software installed on each device, whereas it is more effective to use WAN analysis tools for large networks that are agent-free.
The Importance of How Tools for WAN Analysis Differ
Different factors contribute to why an organization may implement one WAN analysis tool in preference to another. Cost is often near the top of the list, as is ease of use, intelligent monitoring and event logging. However, in order to get total visibility across a network, organizations should implement a WAN analysis tool that gives complete and meaningful insight into activity on the network.
This is where tools for WAN analysis that use network flow data and those that use deep packet inspection differ. A flow-based WAN analysis tool records the source, size and destination IP address of a network packet, whereas deep packet inspection tools for WAN analysis extract metadata from the network packets to provide administrators with “who, where, when, what and why” information.
One analogy that best illustrates how tools for WAN analysis differ in this respect is mail going through the postal service. Flow-based tools count the mail, see where it has come from and where it is going. Deep packet inspection tools open the mail, examine the content of the mail, raise an alert if something is wrong, and file a copy of the content in case it is later required for network forensics.
WAN Analysis Tools for Large Networks
A further difference in tools for WAN analysis is whether or not they use agents – monitoring software installed on each device connected to a network. It was mentioned above it is more effective to use WAN analysis tools for large networks that are agent-free, and this is because of the work involved to install the agents on multiple devices and the high maintenance overhead thereafter.
Agent-based tools are also not an appropriate solution for networks of any size in organizations that have a BYOD policy. In this scenario it would be necessary to install and maintain monitoring software on each individual´s personal device. Not only is this impractical, in some jurisdictions it breaches personal privacy laws. The same would apply for organizations with wireless public access networks.
The alternative to agent-based tools is WAN analysis tools for large networks that connect to the network via the core switch and a monitoring or mirror port. These tools for WAN analysis monitor user and network activity without impacting network performance and can (legally) monitor activity on devices belonging to employees and members of the public connected to the network.
The Advantages of a Multiple Site WAN Analysis Tool
If an organization maintains a Wide Area Network across multiple locations, an agent-free multiple site WAN analysis tool can save IT teams a lot of work – especially if network administration is centralized and there is little or no IT support outside the central location. One of the main advantages of a multiple site WAN analysis tool is standardization across the network, but there are plenty more.
A multiple site WAN analysis tool works by installing sensors on the platforms outside the central location. Metadata is captured by the sensors and sent to a centralized management portal, where it is analyzed and stored in one combined database to provide a single point of reference. Administrators have visibility on all organization-wide activity as if the activity had occurred on the local network.
Being able to access organization-wide activity in real time has the advantage of accelerating the speed at which organizations can identify network problems, security issues and user abuse of the system. A multiple site WAN analysis tool can also help improve the performance of the entire network by identifying redundant network resources and areas of high demand.
WAN Analysis Tools for Remote Locations
WAN analysis tools for remote locations work in the same way as a multiple site WAN analysis tool – sending network packets from the remote locations to the centralized management portal for analysis. Because of the speed at which WAN analysis tools for remote locations send back data, any alerts raised by the analysis of the network packets is practically in real time.
Once analyzed, the centralization of network packet data enables administrators to conduct network forensics and identify trends that would not be found using real time data alone. In addition to enhancing the performance, security, and management of the organization´s network, this process can help organizations in regulated industries comply with data security and privacy regulations.
Tools for WAN analysis have customizable reporting features that can be used to download data by username, user group, IP address, subnet, file name or web address. This versatility helps security and compliance personnel compile risk assessments, identify threats to the network and implement protocols to maintain the security and confidentiality of protected data.
Try the LANGuardian WAN Analysis Tool Free for Thirty Days
If your organization is lacking the information it needs to find out what is really happening, why not try the LANGuardian WAN analysis tool free for thirty days to evaluate its merits in your own environment? LANGuardian uses agent-free deep packet inspection techniques to provide network administrators with “who, where, when, what and why” information and complete visibility over the organization´s network.
To start your free trial of our WAN analysis tool, click on “Download Free Trial Now”. You will be provided with the tools needed to deploy LANGuardian quickly and easily on your own hardware, VMware or Hyper-V, and resources advising on the most effective way to use LANGuardian´s versatile alert engine, extensive search engine and robust reporting mechanisms.
Alternatively you can contact us with any questions you have about tools for WAN analysis or how to deploy WAN analysis tools for remote locations. If you need any assistance with the installation or configuration of the LANGuardian WAN analysis tool, our Support Team is available by phone, live chat or email.