Cisco: Use TTCP to test together with TTCPW or JPerf

In one my previous posts, I shown you how to test a connection using a hidden Cisco IOS tool called TTCP.  A few days ago I run into an issue. I had to test a TCP connection to a remote Cisco router, but I had not other router on which to initiate the TTCP connection. As explained in Testing TCP Connection post, to use TTCP you need 2 Cisco routers.

Now, I found 2 new ways to do the testing without the need of having 2 routers, but just one. Maybe you already know this methods, but for those who don’t please keep on reading.

First, there is a Windows tool called TTCPW (download here) (actually you can download also the code, and I think it’s possible to compile and run it under Linux as well). This TTCW tool have the same option like Cisco TTCP and can work together without any issue.
On Cisco router, issue the ttcp command, and keep the regular parameters (we are not interested for now in fine tuning). Below I set the Cisco router to be the receiver:

Cisco TTCP
Cisco TTCP with default settings

On PC side, you download TTCPW and use the same settings. Basically to transmit you only need to input ttcpw.exe -t or -r “ip.address” and that’s it  Of course you can tune the settings to meet your needs. Just type ttcpw.exe to see all the settings.

TTCPW help

The second tool that you can use with Cisco TTCP is IPerf (text mode) or JPerf (Java graphical mode). Just fill in the IP address and the port (5001 if default) and you’re ready to go:

Jperf with TTCP
Jperf with TTCP

Of course there are some limitations on JPerf to TTCP compared to JPerf to JPerf testing. One of then is that you cannot use parallel streams, if you want to stress the connection. To overcome this limitation, I do the following.
Open 2 or 3 connection to the Cisco router where TTCP will run. Start one each connection one TTCP daemon with different ports (e.g. assuming 3 connection than ports 5001, 5002 and 5003). Then on the client start 3 JPerf (Iperf) with the same IP address but different ports (you can take the one below). In this way you can stress the connection a little bit.

Free Netflow Analyzer software

For today, I put together a list with the software that I’m using when I’m testing network behavior in the lab. The software below is free, with some restrictions but is perfect to use it when you need a quick solution to monitor your network with Netflow, sFlow or jFlow.

All the proposed software have commercial version, so if you like then and you consider one for your company please get in touch with the company that develop them for more information about licenses.


Free, graphical network monitoring tool. sFlowTrend makes use of the popular sFlow standard to generate real-time displays of the top users and applications making use of network bandwidth.

Some features:

  • Quickly understand who is using the network and what they are doing.
  • Enforce corporate acceptable network use policies.
  • Rapidly identify the cause of any problems or abnormal traffic.
  • Understand trends in usage and accurately target upgrades.
  • Generate management reports on current and historical performance.

sFlowTrend is written in Java and will run on most platforms.

Download sFlowTrend.

Solarwinds Netflow Analyzer

Solarwinds Real-Time NetFlow Analyzer captures and analyzes NetFlow data in real time to show you exactly what types of traffic are on your network, where that traffic is coming from, and where it is going. It displays inbound and outbound traffic separately for granular analysis that makes problem diagnosis quick and easy. You can view the historical NetFlow data broken out by application, conversation, domain, endpoint, and protocol. That way you know exactly how your bandwidth is being used and by whom.

  • Investigate, troubleshoot, and quickly remediate network slowdowns
  • Easily identify which users, devices, and applications are consuming the most bandwidth
  • Isolate inbound and outbound traffic by conversation, application, domain, endpoint, and protocol
  • Personalize NetFlow data displays to view traffic by specified time periods (up to 60 minutes) and by traffic type
  • Customize refresh rates and display units for NetFlow traffic

Drawback for this free version is that it can record only up to 60 minutes, than you have to restart software to record again.

Available only for Windows platforms.

Download Solarwinds Netflow Analyzer

ManageEngine Netflow Analyzer

ManageEngine NetFlow Analyzer is a, web based (no hardware probes), bandwidth monitoring, network forensics and network traffic analysis tool that has been optimizing thousands of networks across varied industries for peak performance and helping them to put their bandwidth for a better use. NetFlow Analyzer is a NetFlow, sFlow, JFLow (and more) collector, analyzer and reporting engine integrated together.


  • Real-time visibility into top applications and talkers in the network.
  • Detection of unauthorized WAN traffic.
  • Identify virus, worms and DoS attacks in real-time.
  • Understand the history of security violations with alert reports.
  • Recognize applications that use dynamic ports by performing a deep-packet inspection using Cisco NBAR.
  • Real time reports with 1 minute granularity.
  • Aggregated data stored for ever for historic reports
  • Ability to view reports in different granularity – 10 min, hourly, daily, weekly, monthly, and custom time period.

The bad aspect is that you can use it only for 30 days. Then you have to buy it. There is a trick, that if you reinstall the product you can use it again for 30 days. I advice to use this trick just for personal use or for testing purpose.

Available for Linux and Windows.

Download ManageEngine Netflow Analyzer

Plixer Scrutinizer

Plixer Scrutinizer captures Cisco NetFlow, sFlow and other flow technologies and uses that data to monitor the overall network health. Reports on which hosts, applications, protocols that are consuming network bandwidth.

Custom NetFlow Reports allow you to filter (include/exclude) in on exactly the information you need. They can be saved and run again later.


  • Adds several additional traffic analysis Report Types (e.g. Flows, Flow Volume, NBAR Support, etc.).
  • Report on Top Applications, Conversations, Flows, Protocols, Domains, Countries, Subnets, etc., across dozens of routers and switches.
  • Any saved report in Scrutinizer can be configured with a threshold to trigger an alarm.
  • DNS resolution becomes automated and a constant process.
  • Network traffic reporting and alarming on the internal network: SYN, NULL, FIN, XMAS Scans, RST/ACK worms, P2P, ICMP Unreachable, illegal IP addresses, excessive Multicast traffic, known compromised Internet hosts and more.

The bad part is that it drops the database after 24 hours. Still you can save the databases before this are dropped by the free version of Scrutinizer.

Available for Windows platforms.

Download Plixer Scrutinizer

Do you have any other alternatives that can help network engineer test their environment? Feel free to suggest in the comments form and if they are good I will add them to  this post.

Draw network diagrams with Visio under Mac or Linux

Maybe one of the biggest loss of mine when I switched from PC to Mac, was the Microsoft Visio is not available for any other platform than Windows OS. Now, I’m not a big fan of Microsoft products, but I have to admit that they have some good products, and one of this is Visio. Like it or not, more than 75%  of the network diagrams that I get are in  VSD format, which we all know (or we should) is a closed proprietary format and cannot be imported in any other products until now.

I have no problem in drawing new diagrams in NeoOffice (as example) but, what should I do with the ones that I receive and I have to modify. Of course that before I use the solution below, I tried others like ConceptDraw or Omnigraffle, which are also good products and which promise that they can import a format called VDX in which Visio can export diagrams. I don’t know if only for me but most VDX files exported from Visio, looked not so nice when opened in another product. Lines where not aligned, some objects where moved, and so on. The final draw was looking nice, but not as expected and ready to work on it. And then again, I cannot call, e-mail everybody that send me a Visio diagram and say “well, you see, cannot you just export it to VDX…” so that I can check. It’s not professional and it’s a headache. On the other hand I really like my Mac, so I struggled my brains to find a solution.

The easiest one, it’s to have on a Mac or Linux, dual boot or a virtual Windows OS with Visio installed on it. Called me a freak, but I didn’t invest in a Mac to havea Windows running on it. In not saying anything about Linux which is open source and see Windows as it’s worst nightmare.

I decided to use something called Application Virtualization, which can deliver on your screen only the user interface of the software that you open. The solution is not new and I’m not the “genius” who think of it, but it’s the best that fit me as I can open any software (in our case Visio) over any network (including Internet) and compared with remote desktop solutions, proved to be more faster. What do you need for this to work properly?

First, you need a Windows Server OS available somewhere online, if you plan to have access to this applications when you are on the move. There are multiple solution. You can host one yourself at home if you have a 24/7 running machine (you can run it even on a virtual machine), maybe you have access to one at your company or maybe you can afford a VPS. As you don’t need so much power take the cheapest VPS with Windows Server (I saw some starting at 18$ / month). OK, this are some ideas, the important thing is to have one available.

Next, you need this Windows Server to have IIS and Terminal Services enabled as this is mandatory for the next step.

This step was the hard part. I needed some Application Virtualization software capable to stream application to any environment (mac, linux, windows) and to have affordable price or , unexpected, free. I found some out there in the Internet, but mostly were able to stream virtual application only to Windows platforms or they where doing something else that Application Virtualization. One product that immediately appeared was XenApp from Citrix. I used this in the past, and I know that it is reliable good product. But you can get it as trial only for 30 days and it was quite hard for me to achieve a working installation. Well, I’m not an expert in Citrix applications, so I assume that this is my fault, otherwise a great product but not for me.

I keeped searching and I found the X2 products webpage.

2x - virtualization When I saw there Free download, I was thinking immediately about Trial free download. I was right, the download of the product has a trial of 30 days. But then digging a little bit deeper, I saw that after this 30 days, you can still use the product free of charge, the only limitation is that you have to stick to 3 concurrent connections and one server (so you cannot use the LoadBalancer feature). I don’t care about LoadBalancer as I only have one server, and anyhow I’m the only person using it. The 3 concurrent connections is enough for 1-2 users with decent usage. I think is fair that if you use this for your productive environment and want more support and resources to pay for them.

I registered, got the free license immediately and started installation on a VPS with Windows 2003 Server. The installation was quite easy and configuration as well due to existing documentation their site. Just read and follow the instructions and you will end with a working software.

After the installation is finished, all you have to do is to provision the software that you want to be able to access over the network, directly on your screen. Also if you want to have the full virtualized desktop, X2 is capable to provide this.

Since a short screencast can show more than 1000 words, please have a look below, where I’ll try to show you the major benefits of this software and how you can manage it to obtain the desired result:


I know that this is not the easiest way to do it, and maybe some of you just prefer to use a virtual machine or dual boot, but as I said this fits most to me and maybe you can use the same solution to solve your problems with other Windows based software, not only Visio. Regarding Visio, the best would be that Microsoft open the VSD format or release a Mac version. For Linux, I don’t think that they even consider such a possibility.