- Editor's Rating
- Makes it easy to manage enterprise networks and diagnose problems
- Provides comprehensive overview of wireless activity
- Dashboard gives quick access to the most important information specific to the user
- Slight learning curve for high traffic networks
Quick TakeOmniPeek Enterprise 7.0 is a great tool for monitoring networks big or small and offers expansive functionality for users.
OmniPeek from WildPackets has long been one of the most popular and comprehensive network analysis tools for IT professionals. There’s a lot to this software, so TechnologyGuide decided to install a copy of the latest release of OmniPeek Enterprise, and see what OmniPeek 7.0 can really do. The focus of this review is on wireless features, rather than mobile – but there’s plenty to talk about in just this dimension of the product alone.
Installation is an absolute breeze – just download the installer, make a note of the serial number provided (this will be needed for registration), run the installer, enter that serial number, and start the application. The first item of business will be loading drivers for the wireless adapter. This is also likely to be a piece of cake; in TG’s case, it was as simple as selecting the internal Wi-Fi adapter on the Acer Aspire TimelineX notebook being used for the test installation. From that point forward, OmniPeek began to capture Wi-Fi data, quickly gaining an overview of activity on the network in use.
Once the software launches, there’s a lot to look at. There are a few tabs on the screen that allow rapid access to summaries of traffic by packet size, traffic by protocol, traffic analysis by individual network node, and a very detailed summary of everything captured by OmniPeek. OmniPeek’s famous “dials” showing traffic utilization, packets per second, and errors per second are prominently displayed. And the user interface is surprisingly simple for such a large amount of functionality; it’s easy to navigate from one function to the next.
Of particular interest to most users will be the comprehensive traffic flow/packet capture capabilities with flexible settings for triggers, filters, and statistical analysis. Dashboards provide prepackaged but customizable views of network statistics, voice and video analysis, application performance, and more. “Multi-Segment Analysis” provides the ability analyze traffic across multiple segments of a network. Detailed Web (HTTP/HTML) traffic analysis is available.
The Enterprise version of OmniPeek includes Voice and Video analysis, which TG used many times to understand how network tuning and wireless interference can affect these difficult-to-evaluate traffic types. Detailed logging and reporting are available. The learning curve can be a little steep here; don’t expect to be productive on large network problems without gaining a little experience with OmniPeek first. But the list of available functionality should make any network tech happy.
While there’s no substitute for hands-on experience, the included documentation, including a helpful “Getting Started” guide, is uniformly excellent. WildPackets released version 7.1 just as TG was wrapping up the test of 7.0. Apart from support for Windows 8, a number of other small improvements have been added. But 7.0 itself proved to be a worthy addition to our library of network analysis tools.
Note that while this test used only a single radio, scalability is one of the hallmarks of OmniPeek. Using remote installations called “OmniEngines,” it is possible to monitor and gather data from a large number of remote locations – all with the same user interface and analysis facilities we tested here.
Overall, OmniPeek 7.0 puts a lot of functionality into a package that enables rapid analysis and problem solving across both wired and wireless network segments. Anyone looking for an enterprise-class network monitoring and analysis tool that can start small but grow as large as required with an impressive array of functionality should add OmniPeek to their list.
By Craig Mathias