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ROA Traffic Explorer

Blue Planet  Route Optimization and Analysis (ROA) product’s Traffic Explorer® application provides  real-time and historical views into traffic flows. In combination with ROA Route  Explorer® , it delivers visibility into network-wide routing paths and traffic  behavior. With Traffic Explorer, the world’s largest organizations can operate,  troubleshoot, plan, and optimize their networks with unprecedented accuracy and  speed. Network engineers, planners and operations teams are able to view  complex IP/MPLS networks as integrated systems rather than collections of  discrete devices and links, enabling them to maximize IT efficiency and  productivity while reducing the capital and operational expenses required to  maintain top network service quality.

Traffic Explorer Deployment

Diagram showing the Traffic Explorer Deployment

For network planners, architects, and engineers  preparing to build next-generation, adaptive networks by leveraging network  automation technologies, Blue Planet ROA’s unique mapping of service traffic to  path, predictive traffic models, and vendor agnostic optimization capabilities, are key enablers.

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Key Benefits

  • Identify, diagnose and resolve  network-wide routing and traffic problems faster
  • Continually optimize traffic flow to  maximize asset utilization and avoid unnecessary link upgrades
  • Ensure new applications and traffic loads have adequate capacity before they are implemented
  • Simulate network changes to understand their impact on traffic and avoid unexpected outcomes from  maintenance
  • Simplify the analyses required to optimize peering arrangements and costs
  • Monitor network-wide traffic behavior with the  minimum collection footprint

Product Capabilities

Network – Wide Visibility
ROA Traffic Explorer provides  visibility into traffic flows across every link in the network. It extends  traditional traffic analysis beyond interface-centric reporting by leveraging  the real-time network topology intelligence of ROA Route Explorer.

Traffic Explorer presents path-aware views into  all traffic network-wide without having to deploy probes, and without the  overhead associated with collecting flows at every interface or polling  devices. Engineers are able to interact with an “as-running” model of the network, where actual traffic flow information is dynamically overlaid on a  real-time Layer-3 topology map.

Root Cause Analysis
Since ROA Traffic Explorer knows the  actual routed path through the network for every flow, operators can focus  their attention on suspect devices or links to rapidly pinpoint the cause of  poorly performing applications.

Unlike conventional traffic analysis tools, ROA Traffic Explorer reveals if hotspots are caused by new traffic loads or changes  elsewhere in the network that caused traffic to be re-routed. The impact of  every routing change or failure is reported by application, Class of Service,  and traffic engineering tunnels, enabling engineers to prioritize their responses. As Traffic Explorer understands both internal (OSPF, IS-IS and  EIGRP) routing as well as external BGP routing, it provides accurate insight  into the causes of major fluctuations in Internet or other inter-AS traffic transiting the network core, helping engineers solve congestion and service  degradation problems more quickly.

Change Modeling
An interactive, “what-if” analysis  feature delivers the industry’s most accurate network modeling solution, enabling engineers to easily predict the impact of network changes. Instead of  working offline using topology “snapshots” and manually entered traffic load approximations, ROA Traffic Explorer lets engineers model changes on the “as running” network, using the actual routed topology and traffic matrices, either  at the current time or from historical data.

Engineers can simulate a broad range of network  changes, such as adding or failing routers, interfaces and peering; adding or  moving prefixes; adjusting IGP metrics, BGP configurations or link capacities;  or simulating changes in traffic loads or new application deployments. During  routine maintenance, engineers can know the impact on traffic of removing a link or router from service before taking any action, accurately predict the  result of changes to router configurations, compare and document network  conditions before and after implementing changes, and verify correct network  operations after completing the maintenance activity, rather than relying on users’ complaints for the first indication of trouble.

Performance Optimization
Integrated views of network-wide routing and link utilization present a variety of options for problem  resolution and performance optimization. Instead of being forced to take a  link-centric approach to resolve congestion issues, engineers can, for example, model changes that re-route some traffic flows away from the congested link,  often avoiding the time delay and cost involved in upgrading link capacity.

Similarly, they can engineer traffic paths to  avoid performance problems or SLA violations during peak traffic loads. The ability to optimize globally across the entire network makes it possible to  maximize network asset utilization and service availability, while reducing capital expenditures.

Problem Avoidance
Impact analyses show engineers how their network would respond in various situations. Simulating link or router  failures and seeing the impact on network-wide traffic across all links is as  easy as clicking on the interactive topology map.

Operators can not only confirm network  redundancy, but also predict link loads under different, even cascading, failure scenarios. If backup routes are non-existent or not as desired, engineers can easily model changes to the routed network to maintain correct operation when things fail and ensure uninterrupted service delivery.

Capacity Planning
The ROA Traffic Explorer application provides  the information needed to accurately predict and plan for future capacity needs  across the entire network. Planners and engineers can view and analyze  historical traffic trends by volume or utilization, including breakdowns by  application, Class of Service, and traffic engineering tunnel on every link in  the network, as well as by exit routers or next-hop Autonomous Systems.

They can then analyze and manipulate  network-wide traffic matrices, showing traffic volumes between  source/destination pairs, and input these matrices to perform “what-if”  modeling and forecast traffic loads between end points. New applications can be  simulated on the “as-running” network before they are deployed by adding  anticipated traffic to existing traffic volumes and viewing the load impact on  every link. Traffic projections can be calculated using a variety of models  (e.g. linear, exponential) to best fit historical trends. Often, hot spots can  be avoided by making routing changes without needing to upgrade bandwidth.

Peering Analysis & Modeling
Engineers are armed with a robust set of capabilities to monitor peering or transit traffic to ensure it is within  contracted ranges, and can analyze, identify and justify new peering  relationships. Whether moving traffic from paid transit to settlement-free  peering, or balancing between multiple transit providers, Traffic Explorer  provides the information network operators need to optimize peering traffic and  maximize their bottom line.

Engineers can accurately model changes to the  network to understand the impact on peering or transit traffic before  implementing changes. BGP configurations can be modified to move traffic  between existing and potential neighbor providers, showing how actual traffic  loads would be affected. New peering relationships can be simulated, allowing  operators to see the impact on traffic across their entire network. Since ROA Traffic  Explorer understands full end-to-end routing (both IGP and BGP), service providers can even determine the impact on peering and transit traffic when  making unrelated changes to their core network.

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