Author: Lisa Zyga

July 20, 2009

Colasoft Capsa Provides Comprehensive Network Analysis at Your Fingertips

As computers become more ingrained in the daily operations of most companies, it seems that running into problems occurs more frequently and with greater consequences. When it comes to computer networks, the key issues are security, speed, and reliability. A newly improved network analyzer called Capsa 6.9 R2, developed by Colasoft Inc., can help companies monitor, detect, and troubleshoot network problems. This review highlights some of the main features of Colasoft Capsa, which together make the product an overall powerful tool for maintaining network security.

As the flagship product of Colasoft, Capsa is an all-in-one network analyzer that helps network administrators fix problems by monitoring traffic flow on computers throughout a company. The software, which can be downloaded from the Colasoft website, works with both shared networks (those connected with a hub) and switched networks, and the latest version Capsa 6.9 R2 is fully compatible with Windows 7. According to the company's website, Colasoft products have been sold in more than 60 countries to thousands of companies, including IBM, Siemens, Motorola, and Pepsi World.

As a packet sniffer, Capsa monitors packets in real-time, visually presents the data with a graphic user interface, and logs the data for future reference. With its quick drilldown analysis, Capsa can quickly identify why a network might be running slowly, or any other abnormalities, such as those that might signify an attack. Administrators can view network utilization trends by percentage or bits in a graphic view, and identify bottlenecks. The software finds the top 10 local hosts that are causing the network to be slow, and can also find out if someone is downloading files in BitTorrent, which also causes the network to slow down.

In the case of a suspected attack, Capsa locates the source codes and packet information from the host, allowing the administrator to investigate the problem. The software can locate two kinds of worms: email worms, which cause infected computers to send out numerous emails in a short amount of time; and OS worms, which cause infected computers to connect to all the other PCs in the network using a large amount of bandwidth. By identifying the infected computers, Capsa allows network administrators to fix these problems.

Capsa also offers a variety of filters that enable network administrators to focus on the packets that they're specifically interested in. For example, administrators can monitor email messages, http requests, and real-time messages of the four most poplar instant messengers: MSN, AIM, ICQ and Yahoo Messenger.

Other features include the ability to automatically generate reports of global networks or a specific group, and customize the information on various charts. Network administrators can also use Capsa to monitor traffic remotely by installing the software on a workstation in the business network, and enabling the Remote Desktop Access function. Importantly, Capsa is easy to install and very easy to learn. Its intuitive user interface displays data in tables and graphs that allow for quick browsing.

Capsa comes in two editions: the enterprise edition (starting at $549) contains all the features, and the professional edition (starting at $399) contains more than enough features to meet the basic needs of IT professionals in most situations. With its many helpful features and well-designed interface, Capsa seems like an obvious solution for ensuring that your network runs quickly and securely.