Networking

Track down bandwidth hogs easily with SolarWinds monitor

Brandon Carroll shows how the Orion SolarWinds network monitoring tool has helped him trace network issues.
I run into a number of situations where students using my network blame the network for the speed and latency of their connection. Having a way to verify this was not always easy, until I started using SolarWinds Orion, which was easy to set up with no major assistance. Since I've had it running, I have a new depth of visibility into the workings of my network. Visibility is very important to me. I've provided an image of my CUBE router using XO for my Internet and SIP connectivity. In the Interface Aggregate Chart you can see that I have a number of interfaces being monitored (Figure A). This information is provided to the Orion server via SNMP polling. You can easily see when my network usage starts to pick up in the morning.

Figure A

Click to enlarge thumbnails

Another useful bit of information comes in the way of the gauges seen at the left side of the following screenshots. My router in this case is hardly utilized and the response times are looking great:

Figure B

Another annoyance I deal with is that I can't remember the IP address or name resolutions that I have in place. The links provided for you to access the device are very handy. You can access via web browsing, ssh, telnet, remote desktop, and even launch a SolarWinds traceroute tool.

Figure C

I ran into a situation where I had a high amount of traffic one day that I wanted to investigate. By looking at my router and viewing the Top 5 applications I could see that my largest amount of traffic was unmonitored traffic, as you can see in the image below. This screenshot did not capture the high-traffic day, but it shows you the type of information you can see when troubleshooting.

Figure D

My next step was to look at the Top 5 Conversations. From here, I can see who my big talkers are and hammer down into more detail. Eventually I found that the conversation was coming from my 10.12.x.x subnet which is my student access network. Tracing the IP of the destination led me to the student's place of employment and helped me determine that the student was doing a large FTP download over their VPN.

Figure E

Finding the culprit

If I had not had the visibility into the network that Solarwinds Orion provided I would have spent a lot more time tracking down my bandwidth offender.

Check out the free trials that are available as well as free tools such as the SolarWinds Bandwidth Monitor on the SolarWinds Downloads page.

About

Brandon Carroll, CCIE #23837, is an IT Director, Blogger, Podcaster, and Mac Enthusiast. Brandon has nearly 15 years in the networking industry consulting for large and small enterprise and service provider networks.

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