Which software probe is right for you?
Software probes are an economical choice for many situations.
For companies that cannot invest in dedicated hardware probes, Observer Platform software probes provide a low-cost monitoring option and are easy to install and configure. Software probes support Ethernet, Gigabit and wireless and are appropriate for analyzing speeds of up to 1000 Mbps or for low-utilization gigabit networks via a SPAN/mirror port on a switch. The Observer software can handle fast network speeds (including 40 Gigabit), but it is the network adapter that is the bottleneck on home-grown systems. VIAVI uses a custom-designed network adapter removing the bottleneck in our probes. These levels of software probes are available:
Single probe—Single probes have only one probe instance and it is not user-configurable. Single probes are appropriate for sites with small administrative staffs where only one user needs to look at a probe at a time.
Multi Probe—Multi probes may have one or more probe instances. Multi probes allow multiple users to each connect to the probe and use their own probe instance. Each probe instance can be looking at the same packet capture or different capture.
Expert probe—Expert probes are the same as a Multi probe except that they have local expert analysis and decode capabilities in the probe that allows for remote decoding and expert analysis in real time. The Expert probe software comes pre-installed on most hardware probes from VIAVI.
Hardware >
GigaStor, Portable probes, Probe Appliances, 3rd party hardware
Dual port Ethernet Probe, 3rd party hardware
Ethernet Single probe, 3rd party hardware
Installed software >
Expert Probe
Multi Probe
Single Probe
Sends entire buffer1
X
X
Alarms
X
X
X
Trending
X
X
X
Triggers
X
X
X
Wireless
X
X
X
X
X
Simultaneous multi-topology support
X
X
Simultaneous users2
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
Full-duplex3
X
X
X
X
Remote decode of GigaStor captures
X
Sends expert summary & decode packets4
X
X

1 Buffers are sent to Observer where the decoding and analysis is performed. This is less efficient than sending the expert summary and decode packets, which is available with Expert Probe.

2 Simultaneous users are supported when each user has his own probe instance.

3 Only available on hardware probes from VIAVI.

4 Decoding and expert analysis are performed by the probe and a summary is sent to Observer reducing network bandwidth use.

5 Application Performance Analysis and Application Transaction Analysis. Applications are generally OSI Layer7 applications like HTTP, FTP, RTSP, SMB, and so on.