Ipswitch, Inc., headquartered in Lexington, Massachusetts, develops and markets
software products and services for businesses worldwide. The company began in 1991, with
its founder’s roots going back to the days of the former FTP Software, a firm that
pioneered TCP/IP workstation software for personal computers.
The company claims that over 100 million people worldwide use Ipswitch software to
monitor their networks with WhatsUp Gold, transfer files over the Internet using
WS_FTP and MOVEit, and communicate via IMail Server.
The company currently has 175 employees, and research and development centers in
Atlanta and Augusta, Georgia. Its products are sold directly to end users, via its online
shop, and through distributors, resellers and OEMs in the United States, Canada, Latin
America, Europe, and the Pacific Rim. The company also has a unique commitment to
community involvement, as it donates 5 percent of its profits to a variety of community
investment programs, community service, and philanthropy.
Ipswitch’s network management platform is named WhatsUP Gold, which the company
claims manages over 70,000 networks worldwide. The product is available in four different
editions: Premium, Distributed, Standard and MSP.
WhatUpGold Premium Edition provides a network management and application monitoring
solution for single networks of all sizes that installs, discovers, and maps
network-connected assets in minutes. This product leverages SNMP v1-3 and Windows
Management Instrumentation (WMI), to enable predictive monitoring in combination with
powerful alerting and notification capabilities.
WhatsUpGold Distributed Edition is designed expressly for organizations with complex
multi-site networks, extending the features of WhatsUp Gold Premium to provide secure
connectivity between a central network operations center (NOC) and any number of remote
sites, no matter where they are located.
WhatsUp Gold Standard Edition provides an inexpensive single network infrastructure
monitoring solution for small and mid-sized businesses.
Finally, WhatsUp Gold MSP Edition provides a complete solution for managed service
providers (MSPs) to monitor any number of customer networks from a single central NOC
site, providing a complete picture of each customer network in separate and secure
customized workspaces in real-time.
In addition to the four core products, Ipswitch has developed three plug-in modules to
enhance the capabilities of its fundamental systems.
The NetFlow Monitor Module provides in-depth insight into how the network is
performing by gathering, analyzing, and reporting on network traffic patterns and
bandwidth utilization in real-time. It highlights the overall utilization for the LAN or
WAN, as well as utilization for specific devices or interfaces, and also indicates users,
applications, and protocols that are consuming abnormal amounts of bandwidth.
The WhatsConnected Module is a layer 2 and layer 3 network discovery and
network mapping plug-in that depicts and visualizes device connectivity down to the
individual port. This module locates all devices on the network, including critical
device connectivity and interdependencies, and also provides a detailed hardware
inventory and configuration information.
The VoIP Monitor Module is designed to monitor and report on the network’s
capacity to support and maintain acceptable call quality for VoIP. The VoIP Monitor
addresses three general areas: SNMP and WMI based management and monitoring, performance
and QoS monitoring, and network mapping. The module accesses information generated by
Cisco IP service level agreement (SLA)-enabled devices to monitor parameters essential to
The VoIP Monitor leverages the data produced by IP SLA-configured source and single or
multiple destinations, with active and performance SNMP monitors, to offer network
managers the ability to establish measurement of VoIP-specific network metrics on either
local networks or WAN links. These capabilities include monitoring particular
parameters-including jitter, packet loss and latency-that provide insight into the
capability of the network to support optimal VoIP performance.
The SNMP data is accessed via Cisco’s Round Trip Time Monitoring (RTTMON) Management
Information Base (MIB), which then allows the VoIP Monitor to generate graphs and report
jitter, latency and packet loss occurring in the network in real-time. By combining the
information from the measurements and codec simulation data generated by IP SLA, the VoIP
Monitor can also graph the calculated Mean Opinion Scores (MOS) and Capacity Planning Impairment
Factor (or ICPIF, a Cisco IOS voice parameter), thus providing voice quality scoring for
a live VoIP network.
The VoIP Monitor includes a number of key features for network monitoring, including:
the measurement of round trip UDP jitter from source to destination and from destination
to source, the measurement of round trip network latency from source to destination and
from destination to source, and the measurement of round trip packet loss from source to
destination and from destination to source (seeFigure
The system can also display the calculated values provided by IP SLA, and also
displays MOS and ICPIF scores in gauges (see Figure
2). Alerts can be triggered when the calculated values fall below the configured
MOS parameter. In addition, a VoIP Configuration Wizard simplifies the setup of
the performance monitors and workspace views, to accelerate the deployment of the network
Further details on the Ipswitch architecture and products can be found at http://ipswitch.com/. Our next
tutorial will continue our examination of vendors’ network management architectures.