Multicast Explorer

The Multicast Explorer module delivers end-to-end visibility into the advanced network services used for market trading data distribution, broadcast video, multimedia distribution, online education, desktop imaging and other purposes where data must be delivered simultaneously to multiple receivers. The ability to monitor and troubleshoot multicast issues quickly is particularly important where failures carry severe penalties, such as in the financial services industry.

Multicast Explorer goes far beyond traditional SNMP management tools by providing network operations and engineering teams with real-time and historical views into multicast routing groups, trees, events, latency and variances from baseline conditions. In addition, it provides modeling capabilities to simulate multicast routing and traffic changes (when used with the Traffic Explorer module) so that their impact on service delivery is known beforehand.

Capabilities

  • Real-Time Monitoring & Visualization

    Multicast Explorer captures multicast data from network routers using collection methods that are optimized for the different router manufacturers. The data includes multicast trees, groups, leaves, and multicast-enabled interfaces. Engineers can browse SSM and ASM groups, routers, active and inactive sources, interfaces, neighbors, receivers, etc., and view multicast trees in the context of the entire network. Specific trees can be easily highlighted, showing the source, rendezvous point (RP) and leaf routers. Multicast Explorer captures and monitors traffic flows for each group and source, as well as performance, showing on its network visualizations the latency for each hop across a tree.

  • Anomaly Reporting & Alerting

    Triggered by IGP events, Syslog messages and Traps, a built-in timer mechanism, and user requests, Multicast Explorer checks the status and stability of multicast trees and groups and captures any changes in near real time. Automatic notifications and reports alert network operations and engineering staff to anomalous conditions and failures, such as:

    • - Unapproved multicast groups.
    • - Reverse path forwarding (RPF) failures.
    • - RP mismatches.
    • - Path changes between a source and any receiver.
    • - Inactive sources.
    • - Routers dropping from trees.
    • - Shortest path tree (SPT) switch failures.
    • - Traffic exceeding interface capacity.
    • - Link utilization threshold breaches.
    • - Loss of PIM adjacency.
  • Troubleshooting & Root Cause Analysis

    Multicast Explorer provides a wealth of diagnostic information, in addition to the alerts and anomaly reports described above, to help users troubleshoot problems quickly. Every multicast event is recorded for all groups, and users can replay them for any point in time to see which sources and receivers joined or left a group, what tree shape changes occurred, and if any configuration changes were made. Reports of event distributions by group show multicast dynamics, and playback animations enable users to view changes to multicast topologies over specific time periods, including tree and tree branches being added or deleted, sources becoming active or inactive, tree shapes changing and trees being partitioned. Multicast Explorer provides reports that show the impact of network dynamics on group trees and facilitates before and after tree comparisons, enabling engineers to understand, for example, what triggered a change to a tree, what caused a tree to be partitioned, and what condition, such as a link failure, caused multicast churn.

  • Planning

    Multicast Explorer takes the guesswork out of planning changes to multicast configurations by providing powerful and accurate interactive modeling capabilities using the current network routing topology, not static network configuration data. Network engineers, planners and architects can simulate adding or deleting a multicast group or editing an existing group, such as a changing a source router, RP or receiver, or enabling/disabling PIM on an interface, and view the impact. Error conditions can also be modeled, such as a link or router failure, to see how multicast trees would be affected. In addition, different multicast traffic volumes can be simulated to validate network capacity. With these easy and interactive modeling capabilities, misconfigurations can be avoided and optimum multicast configurations achieved without time-consuming and disruptive iterations.



Benefits

  • Ensure data is delivered across multicast groups in a timely and fair fashion.
  • Be alerted to multicast routing anomalies to avoid prolonged outages that impact service delivery.
  • Troubleshoot intermittent and hard-to-find multicast issues faster.
  • Eliminate outages caused by misconfigured multicast routing and groups.
  • Understand traffic volume by multicast group for better planning and congestion avoidance.
  • View always-current network routing and traffic behavior with minimal management overhead.
  • Achieve rapid time to value and low TCO.