Thanks to Jimmy D, our renowned International Sales Channel Manager, we have a proven solution for monitoring NetFlow traffic for home users.

A situation arose for Jim where his wife and daughter would be in Florida caring for his parents while he was still here in Maine. The geek that he is, he didn’t want distance to keep them apart.

So he decided to provide voice, video, and network monitoring while they were in Florida. To achieve this, he decided to set up a small embedded server rack in his parents’ Florida home. This would allow for VoIP, Video, network traffic monitoring, and a web server.

This was his goal (Hi Kim!):

Florida office

And here are the components that make up the remote monitoring solution to achieve that goal:

  • The router is a Linksys WRT-54GTM with 32k running DD-WRT, which supports rFlow.
  • magicJack – plug the adapter into one of the many USB ports, connect your phone and you have unlimited calls nationwide. Cost: $40, and you do not violate the ToS.
  • The DudeThe Dude network monitor is a new application by MikroTik, which can dramatically improve the way you manage your network environment. It will automatically scan all devices within specified subnets, draw and layout a map of your networks, monitor services of your devices and alert you in case some service has problems. Also, The Dude is free of charge!
  • Abyss embedded web server – Abyss Web Server enables you to host your Web sites on your computer. It supports secure SSL/TLS connections (HTTPS) as well as a wide range of Web technologies. This server application is super thin and runs very well. And is also free!

Jim had everything shipped to him in Maine, set it all up and tested it. He wanted to make sure it was a simple and seamless install for his wife. He also added a small surge protector.  After configuring and testing, he shipped the entire unit, still assembled, to her. All she had to do was to take the unit out of the box, plug the surge protector into the wall, the network cable into the wan port on the router, and her laptop into one of the LAN ports.

Jim also provided simple instructions on how to get the outside IP address of the router. She then IM’d the IP address to Jim. He logged into the cable modem, opened the RDP port, and Voila! He can now monitor his wife and daughter over a thousand miles away!

And to see the network traffic utilization, simply configure the router to export the rFlow packets to Scrutinizer NetFlow Analyzer, and here you go:

Florida office monitoring

Although this seems like overkill for a home implementation, it is a great example of how to simplify the monitoring of remote offices.  As we see more and more employees telecommuting, optimal bandwidth utilization is now business critical. With the above configuration, your favorite NetFlow monitoring application see bottlenecks when they happen and gives you the information that you need to fix them.

Thank you, Jimmy D. for taking us another step into the technology of the 21st century!

Joanne Ghidoni author pic

Joanne Ghidoni

Joanne is a Software Quality Assurance Engineer at Plixer. She has also held positions as Technical Support Engineer and Sales Engineer since joining Plixer in 2005. Prior to joining Plixer, Joanne has had numerous positions in the IT field, including data entry, computer operator, PC coordinator and support, mainframe programmer, and also Technical Support and web programmer at Cabletron Systems. In her spare time, Joanne enjoys traveling, always seeking out new and interesting places to visit.

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