SUMMARY: LAN analyzer

From: William K.P. Chan (
Date: Fri May 27 1994 - 05:48:18 CDT

I am sorry for the late summary as I have been engaged in my work
during the last two weeks.

There were 11 responses including one asking for a summary. The
distribution of their suggestions are as follows (some have more than
one suggestions):

No. suggested Product Vendor

        7 Sniffer Network General
        2 NetMetrix HP
        1 LANcat 1500 DATACOM Technologies
        1 LANalyzer Novell
        1 LANwatch FTP software

>From the responses, Sniffer from Network General surely wins. Most of
the Sun managers who mentioned Sniffer is not only suggesting but also
have good experience with Sniffer as well. The sites that they are
managing have even thousands of workstations and PC and have to handle
a mixture of protocols. None of them have complains about Sniffer.

Surprisingly, nobody mention the HP Network Advisor, which is a product
of similar capability and price range. If I have not read the lab test
report from the January 21, 1994 issue of Data Communications, I would
surely buy the Sniffer. But the results from the lab report showed that
Sniffer failed to perform well on FDDI. The following is the
reproduction of some figures from Data Comm's lab report:

Both tests use 64-byte IP frames.

                        Sniffer Network Advisor
                        Network General Hewlett-Packard


Monitoring 14,790 14,793

Generating 10,270 14,164


Monitoring 47,000 166,650

Generating 5,205 47,000

For Ethernet frame monitoring, the two products can perform close to the
theoretical maximum of 14,880 fps. For generating of Ethernet frame, HP's
Network Advisor is slightly better.

For FDDI frame monitoring and generating, Network Advisor performs
significantly better than Sniffer. It is also close to the theoretical
maximum of 171,000 fps. Sniffer's performance is far from satisfactory.

The Salesman of HP told me that this might be due to the fact that HP's
uses a dedicated AMD29030 processor on the FDDI board to handle the
network traffic but Sniffer uses the notebook PC's CPU for processing.
I am not sure his comment is ture or not. Anyone can give a comment or
suggestion on the above figures is most welcome.

-- William Chan

William K.P. Chan Email :
Department of Computer Science Tel : (+852) 859 2187
The University of Hong Kong Fax : (+852) 559 8447

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