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Selecting the Right Network Troubleshooting Tool Part Five: Route-Peering Solutions

pitcherNetwork troubleshooting solutions are a bit like baseball pitchers: Some tools (like TotalView from PathSolutions) are robust and flexible; they perform in the same way a star pitcher might—from starting to coming out of the bullpen to finish. Others can do one thing well, like a pitcher who is brought in to face a left-handed hitter in the eighth inning to record a single out. Such specialized tools are the focus of our six-part series on network troubleshooting tools.

As such, route-peering solutions fit squarely into this category and are the subject of this fifth installation. Follow along as we shed some light on this type of tool:

What it is: A route-peering solution acts like a physical router, as traffic will pass through it en route to a destination on the network. Unlike actual routers, however, a route-peering solution won’t set or alter the course of any communications. It will simply listen to what different routers are telling each other.

What it’s good for: This device is excellent for solving problems, particularly route-flapping, on Layer 3 of the operating system interface (OSI). Route-flapping occurs when routers broadcast alternating routes back to a host, thus creating extra and unnecessary traffic. By listening in, a route-peering device can provide feedback about how routers are distributing data across network paths.

What it’s bad for: As we mentioned, this is a specialty device, so of little use for most network troubleshooting functions beyond solving Layer 3 networking problems. For a more comprehensive solution, you’ll want to stick with an advanced software-based solution that can scan and report critical feedback across your entire network—not just among your routers.

Click here to learn more about how PathSolutions can provide you with a detailed real-time overview of your network’s performance. And make sure to stay tuned for the final segment of this series, where we will cover application performance monitoring (APM)!