Network Instruments Advances VoIP Management with Observer 11

New version offers in-depth VoIP analysis, delivers a time-based interface for data mining, tracks conversations through multiple routes, and is a native 64-bit Windows application

MINNEAPOLIS, MN – November 7, 2005 – Network Instruments, LLC, a leading developer of distributed network management, analysis, and troubleshooting solutions, announced today the release of Observer 11. This major new version includes many robust capabilities for network professionals to optimize network availability, efficiency, and performance. Observer 11 encompasses enterprise-strength Voice-over-IP analysis, a unique time-based interface for examining up to 8 TB of data, and the ability to pinpoint transaction delay through up to 10 conversation hops. Observer 11 is also the first multi-topology, distributed analyzer written as a native 64-bit application, while also including a version for 32-bit operating systems.

Observer 11 includes significant VoIP advancements. The VoIP Expert now offers aggregate statistics for overall VoIP traffic, call summary, and quality scoring, as well as over 20 detailed per-call metrics including call status, current jitter, call setup, duration, teardown, MOS/R-factor, and QoS prioritization. As with all Observer features, the VoIP Expert is based on the Network Instruments Distributed Network Analysis (NI-DNA) architecture, meaning VoIP analysis is available across multiple topologies (LAN, WAN, gigabit, 802.11a/b/g), throughout the Observer product line, and for local and remote segments.

“While other VoIP analysis tools were created for lab environments and telecommunication service providers, Observer 11 was designed to manage real, live traffic issues in enterprise environments,” said Douglas Smith, president and co-founder of Network Instruments. “Our VoIP Analysis offers relevant, actionable detail and diagnostics for today’s IT professionals.”

Observer 11, coupled with the Network Instruments GigaStor Appliance, also incorporates a new time-based navigation utility for organizations tasked with mining through enormous amounts of data. The new interface can easily manage, display, and analyze capture histories as large as 8 TB down to nanosecond time intervals.

Said Smith, “It’s a new paradigm in network troubleshooting. Unlike competing vendors, the GigaStor has the capability to perform all data processing and analysis locally on the appliance. This eliminates having to transfer large amounts of data across the network for analysis. For example, with other products, it could take days to transfer and analyze only 1 percent of a 4-terabyte capture. With the GigaStor, only screen updates are transferred, so analyzing data just takes seconds.”

To begin network troubleshooting with the GigaStor, an administrator starts by narrowing down when the issue occurred on the network. “For example, did a user experience a network problem this morning?” said Charles Thompson, manager of systems engineering for Network Instruments. “In the past you had to recreate the problem, now with the GigaStor you simply identify the time period and begin analysis. Navigating through terabytes of data is now simple and straightforward.”

Identifying transaction delay is also easier with Observer 11. The new MultiHop Analysis tracks conversations as it traverses across up to 10 network hops, displaying areas of packet loss or delay. This feature helps network professionals pinpoint network bottlenecks and determine if slowdowns are caused by the network or applications.

Observer 11 is the first distributed, multi-topology network analyzer available as a native 64-bit application. In addition, all Network Instruments gigabit and WAN appliances are 64-bit systems offering greater analysis functionality, flexibility, and speed. In the gigabit environment, this flexibility lets network professionals monitor up to eight ports on a single appliance for any simultaneous combination of SPAN sessions, full-duplex connections, and trunked links. Network analysis is also up to eight times faster than on 32-bit systems and capture buffers can now hold up to 128 GB of data.

“The 64-bit platform greatly improves analysis performance,” said Smith. “Sixty-four-bit doesn’t just double the speed -- it improves it up to eight-fold. As analysis vendors prepare to manage EtherChannel and then 10-gig down the road, our gigabit capture technology, combined with 64-bit Windows, ensures our customers can easily keep up. For us, 64-bit is about maximizing our systems to provide the fastest, most accurate, most efficient analysis possible. And to make the transition easy for our customers, every Observer 11 license is shipped as a 32-bit and 64-bit application, so regardless of your operating system, Observer will meet your requirements.”

Additional features for Observer 11 include:

  • Stream Reconstruction: Observer can take captured traffic and recreate network communication in an easy-to-read format. With Stream Reconstruction, network professionals can rebuild Web pages (including images), as well as reconstruct e-mails and instant messages for network forensics.

  • Citrix Decodes: Observer users can now monitor and troubleshoot Citrix-served applications in depth.

  • New Trending Views: Observer now supports long-term trending for application response time, VLANs, and WLANs.

Observer 11 continues to lead the network analysis industry in performance and value as pricing for Observer, Expert Observer, and Observer Suite remains the same. Pricing starts at $995 for Observer, $2,895 for Expert Observer with included VoIP Analysis functionality, and $3,995 for Observer Suite. The GigaStor Appliance begins at $35,000 for a 4 TB configuration. For more information about Observer 11 please visit

About Network Instruments

Network Instruments is the industry-leading developer of distributed, user-friendly, and affordable network management, analysis, and troubleshooting solutions. The award-winning Observer family of products combines a comprehensive management and analysis console with high-performance probes and network TAPs to provide integrated monitoring and management for the entire network (LAN, 802.11 a/b/g, gigabit, WAN).

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