Netrounds supports both time-limited tests and long-term monitorings in a very flexible way. (The word testing is used in this documentation to refer to either or both when speaking in general terms.)
Each test or monitoring is individually created with a generic sequence builder using Netrounds intuitive web-based graphical user interface.
The following picture shows some basic differences between tests and monitorings. Both tests and monitorings are displayed on the Dashboard.
All features in Netrounds are possible to define as tests.
Tests are limited in time and have a pass/fail criterion defined. A test also provides higher resolution than a monitoring, making it suitable also for more specific troubleshooting.
Tests require an uninterrupted management connection to the Netrounds cloud. If the Test Agents lose the management connection during a test, the test will be aborted.
A test can be configured to run periodically, i.e. it will remain active indefinitely but will be executed only at certain times. Typically, if you want to test the performance in your network, you will configure Netrounds to run a short test hourly or daily. You wouldn’t normally want to run a test at full speed continuously like a monitoring, since that might affect other users in your network.
Periodic tests are displayed under Monitoring in the main menu.
A distinction can be made between active and passive monitoring. Netrounds is capable of both.
The active approach relies on the capability to inject test packets into the network from one Test Agent to another, measuring network characteristics end-to-end and the network's impact on the user experience of various services. As such, active monitoring does create extra (artificial) traffic. The volume and other parameters of the introduced traffic are however freely adjustable, and small traffic volumes are enough to obtain meaningful measurements while making sure that other users/customers are not affected.
Active monitoring provides explicit control of the generation of packets for different measurement scenarios. This includes control of the nature of traffic generation, sampling techniques, timing, frequency, scheduling, packet sizes and types (to emulate various applications and services), statistical quality, and the path and function monitored. Active traffic generation is the easiest way to check if Service Level Agreements (SLAs) are met for the network connections and services you are using.
The passive approach to monitoring uses devices to measure real traffic as it passes through the network and normally does not increase the traffic in the network. The traffic generated when collecting measurements from the nodes is often unnoticeable to customers. The downside is that there are no means to control what is happening and no way to create "what happens if" scenarios. Often, the results are also a bit more difficult to interpret for these reasons.
Passive monitoring can however be extremely valuable in network troubleshooting.
Netrounds has three passive monitoring capabilities built into the Test Agents:
- A remote packet capture feature which is started from the cloud server. A tool such as Wireshark can then be used to view and analyze the captured data.
- A Darkstat collector, which is viewable directly in a web browser.
- IPTV inline monitoring, where the Test Agent listens in on the TV stream a customer is viewing.
The table below shows which features in Netrounds are available in monitorings. As noted above, in tests all features can be used.