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Smart Monitor – It’s a bit late… but not too late… at all…

For years, DrayTek routers come with a free utility, Syslog, which provides a log of network traffic and sorts it into traffic types: Firewall, DoS, VPN, User Access, WAN, Call, …, etc. These logs help the users to analyse the traffic flowing through the router in details. They can also record and pass the Syslog files to you (the network administrator) or our technical support for analysis and troubleshooting of the network conditions.

If you haven’t seen a page of Syslog, here is one:

 

While Syslog has been popular for the great work it is designed to do, many users have been asking us questions such as these:
• Can I monitor the network usage of each PC or NB (i.e., internal IP address) in my network?
• Can I get a list of bandwidth usages for each person (so I can split the broadband costs accordingly)?
• Can I record what my kids are doing when they are using the computers in their rooms?
• Can I tell what are the websites that our employees are accessing?
• Can I tell what are the most downloaded FTP files in my FTP server?
• Etc.

For years we have to say that these functions are not for routers that cost only a few hundreds, such as DrayTek’s, and not those costing thousands of dollars. Fortunately, all these ramblings must’ve been overheard by DrayTek, and they have come up with yet another great tool: Smart Monitor.

Smart Monitor provides a log of data packets that pass through the router, and tabulates the protocols, the volumes (in MB), content (email, IM, P2P, etc.), etc. against the internal IP addresses (the PCs).

The protocols covered include: FTP, email, http, IM, telnet, P2P, SIP, etc., as shown in this page:

 

Installed in a server in the local network, Smart Monitor collects data through a Mirror Port connection from the router to the server. It collects the traffic packets data, analyses and group them into individual reports. Then you can access these reports via a Web browser.

 

The reports of Smart Monitor are good tools for analysing and troubleshooting of network conditions. You (the network administrator) can derive the network conditions easily with the logged data, figure out what’s working and what’s not, double check certain network traffic issues at will, and tell your boss in no time that you’ve found the trouble spot.

Armed with reports of network usages for various type of data traffic, you will also be able to design and plan the network to meet the organisational requirements on time.

In this day and age, it’s a taboo for employers to ignore the privacy of the employees – for good reasons. However, it’s another matter completely, for the employers to demand proper behaviour and correct use of company properties to do work as assigned. Work, one would argue, doesn’t include non-stop instant messaging, browsing of improper (naughty) web-pages, P2P downloading on the work network, …, etc.

With Smart Monitor installed, an employer can inform the staff that their uses of the network are recorded for the purpose of productivity management (wow!), and show them the reports that include the Top 10 ranking of IM, HTTP, FTP, P2P, …, etc.

This practice will have a similar effect as speed cameras on the roads – like the drivers who may or may not like the idea of being watched, the employees will give heed to the rules, resulting in self regulated network usage and behaviour, and improvement in staff productivity.

It will also be advisable to have a disclaimer and acceptance form like this one:http://www.draytek.com/user/SupportLiveDemoDetail.php?ID=56

In the home scenarios, parents will be better informed of the kids’ activities, and together with DrayTek’s firewall functions, you (the parents) will be able to sleep (or go to work) with peace of mind knowing that the kids can enjoy activities on the safer and healthier parts of the Internet. Whether you want to inform the kids or not about the Smart Monitor, well, that’s another parenting topic.

What’s the price for Smart Monitor? It’s FREE. You can download Smart Monitor from:http://www.draytek.com/user/SupportDLUtility.php , if you or your customers are proud owners of one or more of the following models:
Vigor2820 Series : Up to 30 PC’
Vigor2950 Series : Up to 100 PCs
Vigor3300 Series : Up to 100PCs
VigorPro 5510 series : Up to 150 PCs

More details are in here: http://www.draytek.com/user/PdInfoDetail.php?Id=92#PdInfo. (Note: Currently Smart Monitor supports wired connections only.)

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