PacketTrap 360: Review

Dennis Faas's picture

Network management is easy.

No really, it is. Or at least, it is when you use a new software package from PacketTrap called pt360 Tool Suite Free/Pro (pt360).

You see, the folks over at realize that running a network can be a painful, complex affair that often involves utilizing dozens of tools to diagnose a network problem -- and few ever use a graphical user interface (GUI). In other words, diagnosing a network problem relies on reading long-winded, boring, ugly, jargon-filled text.

That's where PacketTrap's pt360 is different.

pt360 works just like a dashboard on a car: or if you prefer more control, it's like an airplane cockpit. Everything you need appears in a centralized dashboard -- monitoring, diagnostic and analytical tools... plus gadgets. They are straightforward graphical displays so you can see what is happening to your network at a glance, rather than having to wade through a list of figures and try to make sense of it.

But unlike a car or plane, you choose what appears. It's easy to customize and you can display only the tools which you actually need.

Sure, some of the tools do similar jobs of other free programs you can find on the web -- but who wants to download a dozen different programs that aren't integrated so you have to copy and paste data from one tool to the next?

pt360 is all you really need to get the job done -- with less time and effort than doing things the "traditional" way. With pt360 Tool Suite, you get everything in one 7 MB package. It comes in two flavors -- pt360 Free and pt360 Pro.

So what's the difference between the two versions? Let's break it down.

pt360 Free: Features

pt360 Free is useful for all computer users regardless of skill level. It provides basic network diagnostic capabilities that can pinpoint the most common network problems. It includes tools such as Wake on LAN, SNMP scan and Trace Route (described next).

  • Wake On LAN: You can tell this is pretty snazzy by the fact the manufacturer's description uses the phrase 'magic packet'! Simply put, this feature allows you to turn on any computer in the network remotely. It takes advantage of the fact that network cards are still 'listening' even when a computer is shut down. It's not just a gimmick: it's incredibly useful if your networked computers are in different rooms (or even different buildings) and you need some data that's stored on a machine somebody has shut down for the night.
  • Encrypted Credential Store: This is an easy way of managing all the user names and passwords on your network. You can monitor who is logged in where, easily update your database of log in details, and even create a master login that will give you access anywhere on the network.
  • Trace Route: This sends a dummy piece of data between any two machines on your network to track the physical route it takes. This makes it far easier to track how everything fits together and work out the source of any problems.
  • SNMP Scan: This effectively provides a map of your network, complete with the IP addresses of every machine and network connection. That's an incredible timesaver if you need to locate and fix a particular connection problem and don't want to wade through the network manually to find the relevant address.

pt360 Pro Features

pt360 Pro is designed for IT Professionals and advanced computer users. It offers more complex monitoring for heterogeneous environments that include MS SQL or Active Directory gadgets, Cisco configuration or Network Discovery features (described next).

  • Traffic Jam: This is probably the coolest tool in the package. It's a random traffic generator which means it sends packets through your system to simulate heavy usage without doing any damage. It's an ideal way of testing your network and discovering any potential problems. It's far better you find out potential bottleneck issues this way than waiting until you really do have a crisis!
  • Syslog Server: This feature brings together the system logs from your entire network in an easy to manage display. You can filter the messages easily, archive them for future reference, and even export the messages in HTML, XML or CSV format.
  • Cisco Configurator: If your network uses Cisco devices, pt360 Pro is a must. No more one-off tools that only work at the point of the problem. With PackTrap 360 Pro, you get permanent, centralized control. You can upload configuration changes direct to a router or switch through SNMP or Telnet. You can archive startup and network configurations for future comparison. And no more will lost passwords be the bane of your life: you can decrypt Cisco type-7 passwords without any hitch.
  • DNS Audit: This takes a specified range of IP addresses, matches each address to its domain name, and then checks it matches up in reverse. If there's a problem, you'll know! This is a must for configuring new devices!
  • Network Discovery: quickly scans the entire network to discover all devices. Leveraging SNMP network discovery tool provides a complete set of attributes for each device that has been discovery that is viewed in a cutting-edge user interface.
  • MS Exchange, SQL and Active Directory Gadgets: powerful real-time monitoring gadgets help IT administrators quickly determine the root cause of application performance issues before an end user is even aware that a problem exists. Despite all these neat tools (and several more), pt360 Pro is really easy to use. We've already mentioned the dashboard feature which makes it easy to see what's going on. Even better, the package remembers any settings you make to any of the tools, so next time you use a tool, it'll be just as you left it. That's unlike most network tools where you have to set things up from scratch every time.

pt360: Free and Pro: Download Now!

pt360 Free is fully functional and free of charge.

Both pt360 Free and pt360 Pro are contained within the same package. The features in the Pro version are available as a free 30-day trial. When the trial expires, the pt360 Tool Suite will revert to the free edition (pt360 Free). The suggested retail price for pt360 Pro is $1,499 per license, which includes a full year of support and software updates.

pt360 Pro: Deep Discount for Infopackets Readers

The folks over at have extended a generous offer of 33% off the retail price of pt360 Pro. If you upgrade to the Pro version before Monday, March 17th, 2008, you'll save an astounding $499 off the retail price! So what are you waiting for? Download pt360 Tool Suite today!

Don't forget -- this special offer expires Monday, March 17th, 2008!

Download now!

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