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LAN & WAN Reviews

Troubleshooting Tools

When it comes to managing and maintaining your network, SonicWALL has included some nice tools for the network administrator to gain insight on various problems. For example, built into the Systems menu is a Packet Capture tool similar to Ethereal/Wireshark. As with Wireshark, filters can be user defined to trap packets based on IP, protocol, or port, as well as physical interfaces on the TZ 190. I set up a simple filter to capture all packets originating from my wireless IP to see this tool in action. Packet Captures can generate large files; the TZ 190 allows you to output the data directly to an FTP server. The output is organized in a line-by-line report of packets, which you can click on to see more details, as below.

Packet capture
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Figure 20: The Packet Capture tool

Also in the SonicWALL toolbox is a feature that allows for the creation of a Tech Support Report, which will produce a file of details from your router to assist SonicWALL technical support in helping you with problems. There are useful displays on various component performance, such as the real-time CPU utilization report (Figure 21), which can be viewed in 30 second, 30 minute, 24 hour and 30 day intervals. This can be used to determine how hard the appliance is working, and provides insight into the performance of your network.

CPU usage graph
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Figure 21: Report showing CPU utilization

Reports

Data collection needs to be turned on in the Log menu, and once active, the TZ 190 will collect data on various activities on your network and provide useful displays. Included with the system are reporting capabilities on Web Site Hits, Bandwidth Usage by IP, and Bandwidth Usage by Service.

The Bandwidth Usage by Service is a good report to assist in managing QoS on your network. A network administrator can use this data to see what types of traffic are most common on the network and more accurately assign prioritization and bandwidth limits. I found the Bandwidth Usage by IP report (Figure 22) interesting. It showed which clients on my LAN were generating the most traffic, below. This information can be used to understand network activity levels by client.

Bandwidth usage report
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Figure 22: Report showing bandwidth usage by IP

Routing Performance

We put the TZ 190 through our suite of router tests, and the results are shown in Table 2. We weren’t able to complete the Simultaneous Throughput or Maximum Connection tests because IxChariot couldn’t return results from its WAN – LAN tests due to the 190's formidable NAT + SPI firewall. Therefore, the WAN – LAN tests were actually done with Qcheck, which sometimes deals better with SPI+NAT firewalls.

Test Description Throughput — (Mbps)
WAN – LAN 25
LAN – WAN 26
Firmware Version 3.8.0.4e
Table 2: Routing throughput

The 25 Mbps throughput is lower than you find in many current-generation consumer routers, but is fine for the Internet speeds to which most businesses will have access. Check the Router Performance Charts to see a full ranking against 50 other routers.

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