Packet Design Launches Multicast Explorer for Network Engineers to Conquer the Multicast Routing Frontier

New product expands visibility into complex multicast routing configurations, speeds troubleshooting, and makes planning more accurate.

From market trading data distribution to Internet Protocol television (IPTV) to online education, use of multicast routing is growing but the ability to manage it across networks has been limited. Building on its pioneering work in route analytics, Packet Design has launched Multicast Explorer, an optional module of the company’s flagship Route Explorer system, to provide unprecedented visibility into complex multicast routing configurations. With improved troubleshooting and proactive management – including interactive modeling – network professionals can enhance multicast service quality as well as prevent interruptions and outages. This is particularly important where failures carry severe penalties, such as in the financial services industry.

Going beyond traditional SNMP and CLI pollers, Multicast Explorer collects and analyzes all IGP routing announcements in real time using a passive technique as well as data collection methods optimized for all major vendor routers. This means the information is always current and accurate for monitoring and troubleshooting multicast issues quickly, preventing the tedious process of querying individual routers and manually correlating the resulting data. If any planned or unplanned configuration changes occur, network managers know immediately via real-time status indicators and alerts.

With nearly 38,000 students and 60 facilities, Richardson Independent School District (ISD) near Dallas, Texas, is replacing its dated Windows Media-based system with a new multicast-based system to deliver video streams, IPTV across six cable channels, desktop images, and digital signage for broadcasting emergency notices, news and other announcements. To ensure high service delivery and thus adoption, the school district is deploying the Packet Design Route Explorer system with the new Multicast Explorer module.

“The advent of video streaming and imaging makes the multicast environment every bit as important as the traditional network today, but we are not multicast experts and often don’t know what to look for when there is a problem,” said Henry Horton, director of networking for Richardson ISD. “Packet Design’s passive methodology and real-time monitoring set it apart. We expect Multicast Explorer to help us improve our multicast service delivery via better troubleshooting, including alerting us to problems and anomalies, and help us manage proactively by letting us view multicast trees, groups and events graphically in the context of the whole network. The ability to model changes to see how they impact the network will also be valuable.”

The product’s interactive interface lets network managers simulate changes, create “what-if” scenarios, and model the impact of faults on multicast service delivery. In addition, with the Multicast Explorer DVR-like replay capability, managers can see exactly what multicast routing events occurred at specific points in time for forensic analysis.

“Multicast Explorer is the first product to shine a light on the complex inner workings of the multicast environment for networking professionals, enabling them to effectively manage it,” said Cengiz Alaettinoglu, chief technology officer for Packet Design. “Our customers drove the creation of this product, realizing that we could extend Route Explorer’s capabilities to provide them with an always-current view into multicast routing and traffic behavior as well as the ability to analyze past events and plan for future ones.”

Multicast Explorer is available today and pricing starts at $25,000.

About Packet Design

Since being founded in 2003, Packet Design has pioneered the complex science of route analytics to address today’s network management challenges. Unlike other management tools, Packet Design’s products see and capture the current routing topology and all events in real time, enabling faster troubleshooting, accurate modeling and DVR-like replay for forensic analysis. This real-time routing intelligence will be a critical enabler for the programmable, dynamic networks of the future. The world’s largest service providers, mobile operators, cable and broadband providers, enterprises as well as government agencies use Packet Design products to improve network availability and performance while maximizing the return on assets.


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