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The Scrutinizer Netflow Analyzer Helps Lawrence Technological University To Monitor Illegal Downloading, Reduce Network Latency, And Provide Sufficient Bandwidth For Students’ Video And Online Gaming.

Jon Mills

Plixer International
[email protected]

Sanford, ME — Mar 29, 2011 — Lawrence Technological University (LTU) is proud to be Michigan’s first completely wireless laptop campus, but with that title came plenty of extra responsibility.

From illegal downloading to slow network response times, Tim Chavis, Executive Director of IT Services for the Edward Donley Computer Center, had his hands full without any effective network monitoring software. It would take Scrutinizer NetFlow & sFlow Analyzer from Plixer International to gain valuable network insight.

One of Michigan’s largest independent colleges, LTU has a total enrollment of nearly 5,000 students and more than 400 faculty members, many of whom take advantage of one of the largest wireless networks in the Midwest.

Lawrence Tech has 60 servers in a virtualized environment with thousands of users constantly accessing the network from all across campus. With this high volume, they found that managing the network traffic and enforcing security was a challenge. They experienced significant network noise and fluctuating response times. Their only troubleshooting processes were difficult and time-consuming. When a Denial of Service occurred in one of the buildings on campus, it took the IT team hours to identify that the source was a bad printer card.

Alex Zarembo, a student assistant in the computer center, was doing his senior project on monitoring traffic and mitigating security threats in wireless networks. While researching tools that could help with this, he discovered Scrutinizer software to monitor network traffic and bandwidth usage. With its ability to track, analyze and manage activity network-wide from a central location, Scrutinizer offered LTU a cost-effective solution to gain the network clarity and control he needed.

Scrutinizer automatically logs all network traffic so Chavis and his team can see the details for all of the interactions between systems. They rely on Scrutinizer to track which systems, applications and protocols are using the most network traffic. They chart usage trends and bandwidth consumption patterns that allow them to quickly pinpoint issues and fix server problems. They also use it to track response time degradations and loss of connectivity issues.

“Scrutinizer gives us invaluable insight into what’s going on at all times everywhere in our network so we can manage more effectively,” commented Chavis. “It also helps us in some other key ways. We can look at historical usage data to review changing traffic patterns, watch a particular section of the network to spot anomalies, and plan proactively for expansions.”

Chavis and his team can now prioritize traffic to dedicate ISP bandwidth and ensure that the school’s core business systems are fully supported. They allocate a certain amount of bandwidth per student to make sure there’s always enough to share.

Scrutinizer also helps Chavis protect the school from legal exposure due to illegal downloads of music, movies and applications. The University is liable for the activities of its students and enforcing the Recording Industry Association of America rules and regulations regarding legal access to entertainment media. To maintain their accreditation, LTU needs to show how they address this issue and prevent illegal activities. With Scrutinizer, they can instantly spot suspicious activity and block possible malicious users.

Lawrence Tech also discovered another unexpected benefit of this NetFlow collector and its ability to monitor social medias, system performance, and stress testing. “Our students are typical young people who love their video and online games” explained Chavis.

When considering additions and configuration changes to the wireless environment, the university had students bring in different games and hook up equipment like Xboxes and Wii systems. While the students accessed the network with the games and devices, Scrutinizer enabled Chavis team to accurately measure and record net traffic and port usage. As a result, they were able to see first-hand exactly how bandwidth and network performance would be affected by the new planned infrastructure changes.

“Scrutinizer is a great solution for us. It’s straightforward, easy to use, and cost effective. It gives us everything we need, and more,” concluded Chavis.

NetFlow analysis has also directly aided network planning and management for other educational institutions. Organizations who have also recognized the benefits of using Scrutinizer for their network traffic management include Harvard Medical School, Bloomington Public Schools, Texas A&M Research Foundation, and UCLA have begun taking advantage of Scrutinizer’s advanced NetFlow reporting capabilities.

Download a free trial of Plixer’s Scrutinizer for NetFlow traffic analysis or schedule a live demo by calling: (207) 324-8805 or via email at [email protected]. For more NetFlow insight, follow Plixer International on their Blog, Twitter, Facebook or join NetFlow Developments Group on LinkedIn. Learn about these new features by taking one of their Advanced NetFlow Training classes being offered around the country.

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About Plixer International, Inc.

Plixer International, Inc. develops and markets network traffic monitoring and analysis tools to the global market. All of the tools are built from the ground up with valuable feature sets and ease of use in mind. Plixer tools have been used to analyze and troubleshoot irregular traffic patterns by IT professionals with some of the largest networks in the world, such as CNN, The Coca-Cola Company, Lockheed Martin, IBM, Regal Cinemas, Raytheon, and Eddie Bauer.

For product and sales information, contact Plixer International, Inc. at 1 Eagle Drive, Sanford, Maine, via telephone (207) 324-8805, fax (207) 324-8683; or visit the Plixer website.

Published in Press Releases 2011