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Help on the Mass Pinging Tool

Launching The Mass Pinging Tool

This is the window that is opened when we start a saved mass pinging session or when we ask the software to ping a group of IPs simultaneously on the "Define Hosts" tab on the main window, and it's here that we can ping many groups of hosts defined by us simultaneously.

This window can have a different look depending on if it has browsing automation or not. When it is opened through the system that allows us to define an IP range without automation, as in the case when we define an IP range through a web page without forms, the window would be simpler and wouldn't have the selection panel at left full of options:

If this tool is launched but with browsing automation, it would have at its left a navigation panel, in which the user could select with the mouse or keys any of the several options existing on the page that was read by the software and presented to the user on the left panel, download the hosts to ping from there and start the pings, in which the software would submit that page's forms in an automatic way to get its results, as it is explained in the Help on Navigation/Browsing Automation tutorial, and all this with just a simple mouse click or pressing of a key. The panel is positioned at left:

Navigation Panel

Lets start studying how this panel works and only after will we study how the other controls on this tool work, with example images which could contain this panel or not.

The navigation panel at left has the following controls:

  • Filter - Here we have a search box, where we can start typing the name of the option we're looking for, and as soon as a single char is typed, the options inside the list will be filtered, and only the ones that start by that char or those chars will be shown. This way, if the options are numbers from 000 to 999 and we want to filter just the values between 550 and 559, we just have to type "55" and we'll get only the options that start by "55" like the 550, 551, 552, all the way to 559. This is very useful in those cases in which we have lots of options, like 700 cells full of clients' cable modems, and we remember that the cell we are looking for start by "AL" but we don't know if it is "ALV" or "ALU" or "ALC" or another one, we would write "AL" and instead of the 700 options we would have our list reduced to like 5 or 10. This way we could click on an option in one second instead of being looking for it in the middle of thousands of possible choices. This search box, isn't case sensitive.

  • List of Options - This is the list of the options that were read on the original HTML page or document. If we tell the software to get the options that are represented by the HTML "Option" tag which is inside a HTML "Select" tag, all those options will be shown here. This way, all the options that we may see on the HTML page on its drop-down menu, will be shown in this list.

  • Select [and Ping] - This button can be "Select and Ping" or just "Select", depending of having or not the check on the "Ping Automatically" option described below. By clicking this button, the software will select the chosen option on the real HTML page, and submit the form on that same page, extracting this way all the IPs and/or domain names in the table that is returned, as programmed by the user, and fill the table in the software itself with them, automatically. If it has the check on the option "Ping Automatically", after it extracts the hosts and populates the table, it will start the pings automatically.

  • Ping Automatically - As it was described in the former option, in case this check-box has a check on it, the pings will start automatically after an option is selected from the list, and if it doesn't have a check on it, when clicking in an option, it will only populate the table with the extracted hosts but without starting the pings automatically.

  • Show HTML Query - By clicking in this button, the software will present us the real HTML result that the software has obtained to fill the table, in the software's own browser, the Navigator. This way, if the Network Pinger software submits a form and receives as a result a table with for example 10 hosts in a HTML page when we select an option, we would see the same result in HTML that the software has received, through the Navigator. This way, if we think that there is something strange with some hosts, like some of them that shouldn't be on the table, or seem invalid, or some other errors, we can always click on this button to really see in a browser the page that gave the software these results and why that has happened. If the table still hasn't been populated, it's a signal that no form has been submitted yet and no data has been obtained, and in those cases, if we click in this button we'll only see the main page from which the software is programmed to submit a form and extract its hosts, and not some page already with results in it, since the software hasn't obtained any data yet. This page of origin with the results is presented to us inside the Navigator, the web browser created specifically for the Network Pinger software.

  • Open Page of Origin - This option looks like the former one, but this one only shows the page of origin as it is when no form has been submitted, on the Navigator. This way, whether the software has already extracted hosts to populate the table or not, it will always show only the page of origin told by the user for the software to go to automate the extraction of hosts. This page of origin is presented to us also inside the Navigator, the Network Pinger's own browser.

Command Panel

In this panel we have right on the top a group of four main buttons, followed by some statistics, and at last an option, that will be described below. The four buttons are:

  • Ping - This is the button that starts the mass ping. Once clicked, it remains deactivated and will only become available to be clicked again after we click on the "Stop" button.

  • Stop - This is the button that ends the mass ping. Once clicked, it remains deactivated and the "Start Mass Ping" button becomes available again to be clicked and this way to restart the entire process and to start a new mass ping.

  • Pause/Resume - This is a button that is used to make a pause on the mass ping or resume it later. This button becomes available to be clicked only when a new mass ping starts by clicking on the "Ping" button. Once the mass ping is started, this button becomes a "Pause" and by clicking on it, we enter on the pause mode, in which the mass ping gets stopped, and the button becomes a "Resume" button. Once clicked the "Resume" button, the mass ping will start again where it has stopped, and the button returns to the "Pause" option again. This button only becomes unavailable after we stop the mass ping by clicking on the "Stop" button.

  • Exit - This is the button that closes our mass ping window and stops everything that is being done inside of it, like the close button created by the operating system that exists on all windows. When it is clicked upon, the mass ping process stops if it is still running, but the mass pinger window will only be completely closed, after all its active threads are terminated. This way, if we click on the "Exit" button or the operating system's own close button on the right top corner of the window itself, we'll see on the mass pinger window's status bar, the information of how many threads are still active and being terminated, and only after all those active threads are terminated and none of them remains active, will the window be finally closed. This avoids that when we close a window, that some threads remain active in memory and consuming resources.

Statistics Panel

Right below the Command Panel we have this panel, with five statistics and one option. These are:

  • Sent - This field gives us the total number of pings made to all the hosts. If we have 10 hosts with 10 pings made in each, this value will have not 10 but instead 100 pings sent, which were 10 pings for each one of the 10 hosts.

  • No Answer - This field gives us the total number of pings that returned no answer among all the pings that were done, and such as the statistic above, it is related to the total number of all the pings made on all hosts together.

  • Minimum - This box has the minimum response time of all the pings made to all of the hosts, measured in milliseconds.

  • Maximum - This box has the maximum response time of all the pings made to all of the hosts, measured in milliseconds.

  • Average - This box has the average response time of all the pings made to all of the hosts, measured in milliseconds.

  • Real Time - This is an option that simply turns on or off the real time updating of statistics during the command execution. If it doesn't have that check on its check box, the statistics, whether the mass ping is running or on pause or even stopped, will only be updated if the user puts the check on this check box again, and this is to to allow the user to keep the statistics unchanged for comparison reasons whenever necessary, just by removing the check on this check box. The statistics will also be updated, if this option is unchecked, or when we end or put on pause a mass ping. Also when the user stops the mass pings and puts them on pause, the statistics will be updated automatically, but only if the software doesn't have the "Quickly Stop Pings" checked, because if it had that option activated and it would update the statistics, they would be updated without all the pings having been stopped, due to the option that allowed the software to quickly stop the pings, and this way, the statistics would have incorrect values, and so, if the user clicks on pause or stops the pings having the quickly stop pings option deactivated, it will update the statistics automatically, even without having the check in this check-box.

Stopping Pings Quickly

In this check-box, we can tell the software, by putting or removing the check on this option, if we want it to quickly stop pings or not. The differences are:

  • Normal Pings Stopping - If we don't have the check in this option and we want a normal stop, whenever we click whether in the pause or in the stop buttons, the software will wait, and continue updating the table, until it sees that all the pings have really stopped and already obtained a response, and that there aren't any more of them active. This way, if we click on Stop or Pause during a ping to 20 hosts, and 5 of them are still waiting for a response, we'll see a message on the status bar of the mass ping tool window with something like "Stop order given... Stopping 5 threads...", and only after those 5 pings receive a response from the packets they've sent, will their threads be terminated and will the software finally assume them as stopped or in pause and finally stop updating the table.

    This is good for those who don't have lack of time problems or aren't in a hurry and want 100% precise data about their pings, because this way the pings which are still without a response and still active will be accounted for, and on the other way then wouldn't be that precise, because the software would assume them as stopped too quickly and the data wouldn't be so precise.

  • Stopping Pings Quickly - With a check in this option, the reverse of what the former option purpose was happens, which means that when we click on the Stop or Pause buttons, the software won't want to know if from the 20 hosts to be tested there are still some 5 or 10 waiting for an answer or not, and it pure and simply assumes all of the pings as stopped or in pause, and those who were waiting for an answer won't be accounted and updated on the table and statistics, because when the button was pressed they still haven't give a response.

    This gives the user the possibility of clicking on the Pause and Resume buttons very quickly without having to wait for responses on some pings being made. The data won't be as precise because when clicking, the responses still being waited won't be accounted because the software won't wait for them, but on the other side, if the user wants speed and those pings are of no importance to the user, this would be the best option, and that's why it usually comes activated by default. Of course that if we click on the Stop button, it will stop the pings very quickly, but we'll have to wait for it to end all the active threads on the pings waiting for responses anyway. But clicking on the Pause button won't make us wait for anything, it will be instantaneous. But we have to be careful with the fact that, if we click on pause when having still 5 hosts waiting for an answer, they won't be accounted on the table, but the pings will see their responses reaching them anyway during the time that the pause takes, and the total values will be correct in the background, making the totals appear correctly on the window also as soon as we click on the Resume button, because by clicking on the Resume button it will make the table and statistics be updated automatically with the responses that were returned during the pause time, and this won't cause any delay to the user. So, the Pause button doesn't interrupt the pings still waiting for an answer, they just don't show those responses when they come while in pause but they still add them to the background totals anyway. The same way, it is possible that when several hosts haven't receive a response from their last ping being executed, that a stop icon isn't put on those hosts' lines on the table, but if we wouldn't have the quickly stop pings option activated, all the pings would be finished before the table would stop being updated, and all of them would have the stop signal on their line of the table indicating that all the pings would be really stopped.

Tables with the Results

Network Pinger has three different tables on the mass pings tool window. They are: the "Main Table", the "Filtered Table", and the "Offline or N/A":

The main differences between the three tables are:

  • Main Table - This table shows us all the hosts, whether they may be in red or yellow alert or not, or even without any alert. All will be shown and visible in this table all the time.

    This table is populated incredibly fast. If we try to ping a range of 3,000 IP addresses on the "Define IPs" tab on the main console window, we'll see that the table is filled with those 3,000 hosts in very few seconds, and whenever we restart the pings, it is filled with the same quickness. But with 3,000 hosts to be tested, the software won't obviously create 3,000 threads with one host per thread, but it would divide the hosts to be tested through the number of threads that the user had allowed the software to use, which means that if the user has chosen that only 100 threads would be used by the software, each of those 100 threads would have 30 hosts to test on its own, making a total of 3,000. For this reason, as the software would update those 3,000 records on the table, one by one, and being possible that this way it could take more than a minute to go from the beginning to the end of the table (maximum time if all of them fail and have a waiting time of 2 seconds), it would be just normal to see that on the first passage the first hosts would appear blank on the table, because the software would have checked those lines of the first hosts on the table before their pings have been done, but if we scroll down the table we would see more hosts with responses, in groups of 30 in this example, having this way blocks of 30 hosts, one per thread, on the table, and in pings of thousands of hosts we wouldn't obtain results in just a few seconds in case we want to do more than a ping and in small intervals.

  • Filtered Table - This is the filtered table. This table allows the user to choose which alerts the hosts must have to be shown here, something useful on the detection of possible problems, simply by putting a check on each filter. The existing filters are those corresponding to the three types of alerts, the "Without Alerts", the "Yellow Alerts", and the "Red Alerts". This way, we can see only those who are in the red alert position, or yellow alert, or without alert, or a combination of these, if not all of them. If they are all activated, then the table would look 100% equal to the main table, without active filters. These filters doesn't just work in real time, as well as also after the pings are stopped, because even with the pings all stopped, when we check or uncheck one of these options, they will have immediate effect on the table, and the table will be redrawn to show the hosts which have the states indicated on the active alerts defined on the filters, even if the pings are already terminated, to allow studies with filters after the tests have ended. The data in this table will be equal to the data from the main table in real time, with the sole difference of its results being filtered. A practical example of use of these filters, would be the user having selected only the red alerts, and let the pings run, and whenever some hosts would appear in this table it would be a signal that there would be some hosts in trouble, great for example for those who would want to see when some hosts on their networks stop responding.

    Note: About this table, since it is reconstructed everytime there is an update on the main table with new values, it can happen that when we stop or pause the pings, the software doesn't reconstruct the table completely if we have the quickly stop pings option activated. Because of this, if a table has 100 hosts in red alert, and we click on the stop button with the quickly stop pings option activated, and the filtered table is on the 20 hosts still, it will remain around the 20s and the 80 hosts left won't be put in the table because of the quickly stop pings option being activated, and this happens to avoid that the user, when quickly stopping pings, having a 10,000 hosts list, doesn't have to wait for the 10,000 hosts to be drawn whenever the order given is to stop quickly, because the user could have the complete and update list on the main table anyway and being able to sort it by state, and so, in these cases, the filtered table won't be reliable, and this was decided this way when making the software, because it wouldn't be a quick stop of pings if it would be updating thousands of hosts on the filtered table whenever we clicked on a button.

  • Offline or N/A - This is the table which is populated with all the invalid data dynamically extracted from the page. It is useful only on those cases in which we tell the software to extract data from a HTML table, whether it is made using browsing automation or directly, it must be an extraction from a HTML table. It happens sometimes that when extracting data from a table, if the software finds empty cells on the column which should contain the hosts, it would put those hosts on this table which is placed on the "Offline or N/A" tab. This way, if a HTML table has 10 lines only, and 2 of them are blank on the cell which was supposed to have a host, the table would be populated with just 8 hosts and the "Offline or N/A" table would be populated with those 2 lines only, maintaining the other non empty columns visible on those lines anyway for further checking.

    This way, the user can see what has gone wrong and which data are those which appear on the HTML table without a valid host, as for example clients on an ISP company that are without an IP address, and identify them using the other data contained on the other columns, as the client number, MAC addresses, etc.

Alerts, Colours and Symbols on the Tables

Network Pinger has a colour system to distinguish the several alert levels that each host can have, as well as their own appropriate icons:

Network Pinger uses a simplified colour system to make to the user easy to distinguish the several hosts according to the percentage of packet loss on each host's pings. Those alert levels are defined not here but instead on the options tab on the main console window, and when launching the mass pings window, those values would already be defined at its start-up, although we can tell the software to change the values that can influence the pie chart presentation with those packet loss percentages in an independent way later.

Two levels of alerts are defined, the yellow alert and the red alert on the main window, and here, like it happens with the pie chart on its showing packet loss functionality, depending on the percentage of packet loss of each host, a colour will be given to it. This way, the lines' background will become white if they don't reach the packet loss level necessary for them to enter the yellow alert area, and if they reach the yellow alert level but are still below the red alert level, they will have their lines' background become yellow, and if they reach the red alert level their lines' background will become red. There are also two different colours for yellow and for red as well as white, because of the alternated colours of the table for easy reading, having this way two colours for white, two for yellow and two for red.

To help on the differentiation of the levels of alerts on the hosts, besides the colours, there are five possible icons that are shown just before each host on the start of each line of the table, an arrow up icon for those who are white, or on other words, for those who don't have any alert, an arrow down icon for those that are at yellow alert, a cross for those that are at red alert, an interrogation point icon for those who still haven't got any response which is something very common just after the tool window has been launched when we haven't started the mass pinger yet, and at last, a stop signal icon, which will be visible when we stop the pings or put them into pause, but that might not be always visible, like on the cases when it has the quickly stop pings activated, because when a ping has obtained the response it was waiting for and becomes inactive it will have that stop icon, but with the quickly stop pings activated, if the mass ping stops before the pings of certain hosts receive their responses, they won't have the stop icon because of having been forced to stop quickly before completing.

Table Sorting

This topic won't be much big, also because its content is too simple for that. To sort a table, we just have to click with the left button of the mouse on the title of the desired column, and that table will be sorted based on that column. If the table is already sorted in an ascendant order, it will sort the table in a descendent way, and if it was sorted in a descendent way on that column already, it will sort it on an ascendant way. We just have to click again on the title of the same column to reverse the sort order of the table based on that column.

Commands Through the use of the Mouse on the Tables

  • Right Button of the Mouse - If we click with the right mouse button over a line with a host on the table, the menu that appears when we click with the mouse right button over a selected word on the text editor appears here also but with a small difference: an edit option, that will say something like "Edit Selected Host", or "Edit Selected Hosts", in case there is only one line chosen or several lines chosen, but this difference exists because if we click on this edit option, a text editor window with the charts visible appear as it happens on other tools' windows, but instead of having the data from all hosts, it will have only the data corresponding to the selected host or selected hosts, and that data will be separated by tabs, ready to be copied to other softwares like spreadsheets where the columns will be automatically separated on the sheet because of the tabs.

    It's important to know that this functionality that allows us to choose lines to only see those selected hosts on the text editor, is only valid to the main table, not working on the other two tables. This way, if we select all the hosts on the filtered table, but only have a single host selected on the main table, that single host will be the only one to be selected from the tables to be shown on the text editor when we click on the text editor button whether it is on the tool bar or on another place.

  • Left Button of the Mouse - The left button of the mouse over a line allows us to select that line, and if used together with the shift or CTRL keys, allows us to select several lines, which on the main table case, could be then used to be edited together on the text editor.

  • Mouse Double Click - This action has different effects on the several tables. On the main table, when we double click a line, a single ping tool window will be opened to us, but already with its text box filled with the entire history of the pings made to the selected host, together with the charts already prepared with that history. Which means that after the mass ping is started, we can double click any of the lines on the table to see its host's entire history in text, charts, as if we had made a ping to it on a separated single ping tool window. This way, all the hosts can be treated and analysed one by one through the single ping tool window.

    On the other tables, as well as on the filtered table, a double click on a line will just make a single ping tool window open, where we would be able to do a separated ping to that host, from the beginning, but without any history, because only on the mass ping window will a history be available to fill the single ping window when double clicking on its table. If we do a double click on a line, even on the main table, without the mass pings having started, or on other words, without any of them being active, being all of them at zero, the single ping tool window that would be opened would also be without any history and ready to start the ping from the beginning as on the other tools.

  • Select All, Copy and Save - These commands, like the double click mentioned above, can be applied to several selected hosts simultaneously. This way, if we select several hosts, like 5 hosts among 100, and click on copy, 5 lines of text containing data from those 5 hosts would be copied to our Clipboard memory in text mode, already with its titles, and in a formatted text, which allows us to put the data not only on text editors, but also on spreadsheets with a predefined formatted text. And if we click on save, with several selected lines, a file will be saved with the file format that we choose, but only with the hosts we selected. About the option to Select All, it will pure and simply select all lines, and with them, all their hosts from the main table. These commands won't have any effect on the other tables.

Charts Panel

Lets now see how the side graphical visualization panel works.

There are two types of charts inside this side panel, one is the Line Chart and below we have the Pie Chart, each one with its own characteristics and functionalities. The line chart is created to provide a quick and easy visualization of a response time history in a linear way, to easily identify losses on connectivity of certain hosts, or traffic jams. The pie chart is useful in another way, using a percentage view on several data, as the percentage of hosts online, the percentage of hosts on yellow or red alert, etc. Both have two ways to be seen and show data and they are configurable in real time. Lets examine both in separate:

  • Line Chart - This is the line chart created for Network Pinger, and only on the mass ping window does it have two possible ways to be visualized and used:

    • Historical Response Times - By default, the mass ping window is launched with the historical response times selected. With this option on, the chart shows us a line with the response times of all of the pings made, which could be represented through several ways, even through averages, like it will be explained below.

      This way, while pings are being made, each time the table is updated with new data, for example if the user asks that a ping is made to each host from 10 to 10 seconds, it is calculated the average value from the last response times of all the hosts in the table, among those who have valid responses, and not only that value is shown on the statistics panel on the field that contains the average value as it will also be added to the chart. So, at a given time, if a huge rise on the average times happen on all of the hosts, the chart will have a big spike on a given time, and if it has a big fall it will show that instead, also on the chart. This is useful to give us an idea of the fluctuations on the response times or even losses of connectivity, during an entire day, or more, or just during a few time in which we do the tests.

    • Historical of Online Percentage - If we click on the option "% Online" on the line chart itself, instead of a line with the average times of the mass pings at a given moment, we'll now have a chart in which its line represents the percentage of hosts that are online on each time that the table is updated. This way, whenever new pings are made and the table is updated, the line will represent the online hosts percentage, being this way the possible values from 0 to 100. This value only has in account the hosts which already have given a response, so it could be normal to see a 100% value on the beginning when only a few of them have had a response, even being several of them offline, it was decided to make this functionality this way.

      This functionality is very useful, in certain cases like in ISPs which may want to permanently analyse a specific cell with clients, to know in a quick way whenever there is a big global connectivity loss, and this way, as soon as a big fall is detected on the line of the chart, it will be a strong signal that something is very wrong and should be analysed.

    Other line chart functionalities:

    • Types of Values - Here we define the type of values to be presented on the line chart. And why this? Because on a 300 pixels large chart, being the pixel the smallest unit on screen, if we would surpass the 300 values on the chart, they couldn't be all shown on that chart, and then we would have to choose how to make the selection of which of them to be shown from each group of values. This way, if 1,200 values exist, and only being possible to fit 300 on the chart, we could choose that for each group of four values, we would put the highest of the four, or the lowest, their average, etc. We could choose between four types of values:

      • Maximums - With this option chosen, from each group of values, it will be chosen the highest value to be represented on the chart. Great for those situations when we want to be sure that no value at a given period is higher than a maximum value defined by us.

      • Minimums - With this option chosen, from each group of values, it will be chosen the lowest value to be represented on the chart. Great for those situations when we want to be sure that no value at a given period is lower than a minimum value defined by us.

      • Averages - With this option chosen, from within each group of values to be compressed, only an average value from the entire group will be represented on the chart. This is a great option for those who wish to have a chart with a smother curve, since in each group of values an average of those values would be calculated, filtering spikes, causing smother lines, less erratic, and easier to read, besides representing reality in a better way, as the best way to put 2,000 values in just 200 pixels would be to put just one value per each group of 10 corresponding to that position, their average value.

      • Last - With this option chosen, from within each group of values, the most recent one will be used to represent that group on the chart. This option would show us a chart with very erratic values, with the chart constantly changing, since a single value can make a huge peak and that it would change the chart immediately, and although it seems not to be any advantages in using this option, it is made available for those who might want to use it anyway.

    • Real Time - This check box, if checked, makes the line chart update itself in real time while new results appear in the table. If this option is turned off, the chart won't update while the pings are running, and will only be updated when we click on pause or stop the pings, or even when we go back to put the check on the check box. It's useful in certain cases when we need maximum performances, which will make us want to deactivate the real time drawing of the chart and this way spending less CPU and accelerating the pings, although the charts don't occupy much resources on the computer due to being very optimized.

    • Dots - This option, which is represented on the chart with an "O", makes all the dots in the chart to have a small circle drawn around them, to make its viewing easier. But when the chart has more than 200 dots inside, using this option would make its reading more complicated. If will be decided by each user to use it or not.

    • Save Image - There is an icon of a blue floppy disk in the bottom right corner of the line chart, and by clicking on it, it would be possible for the user to save the chart image alone in his/her computer, using the Bitmap (.BMP) format. To save the entire report instead of the image alone, the user should click on the floppy disk icon on the toolbar or also on the save option on the file menu, both near the top of the window.

    • X Axis Interval - On the bottom of the chart, there is a small pointer that could be moved whether with the mouse, or with the cursor keys, which basically changes the number of values that each dot on the chart represents. So, if it is on the minimums, there will be many dots and each one of them will represent the lowest number of values possible, and if it is on the maximums, it will have less dots and each dot on the chart will represent the bigger number of values possible. This way, if we have for example 1000 values, represented in a 100 dots chart in which each dot represents a group of 10 values, being the last of each group of 10 values, their maximum or minimum, or their average, and if we move the pointer to the right, we would end up having not 100 dots on the chart but for example about 5, in which each one represents a group of not 10 but instead 200 values. This allows us to see the same history of values in different ways, allowing us also to have a total control over its graphical visualization. On top of the chart we can choose if from each group of values we should see their maximum, minimum, average or last value, and under the chart, on the pointer, we can choose in how many parts we should divide the chart.

  • Pie Chart - This is the chart in a pie format which was created for Network Pinger, which is drawn each time the table is updated, which means that it will show in a percentage way the values related to the totals of pings whenever the table has a new update when the real time option is activated, and only on the cases when the mass ping window has two possible uses and ways to be shown:

    • Response Times - By default, the mass pings window is launched with the response times option selected in this chart. With this option selected, the chart shows us in percentages the distribution of pings through the several hosts by the levels of alerts defined by the user, and shows us a pie chart with four colours, each one for a different response time range defined for the yellow and red alerts, being the black colour always used for the pings with no responses, the white colour for those who are below the yellow alert limit defined by the user for the yellow alerts, and yellow colour for pings with response times between the yellow alert and red alert limits, and the red colour to all the pings with response times equal or superior to the value defined by the user for the red alert.

      The thresholds of the yellow and red alerts are defined by the user in two boxes created for that, which are embedded on the pie chart itself, and the user only has to define those two values, the yellow alert value and the red one, and the values will automatically be written on the chart in which each colour shall have its associated value, also being the chart updated automatically whenever those values are changed. The values are defined in milliseconds, and it's impossible to define a red alert value below the yellow one, and those two levels of time measured in milliseconds are the ones that will tell the software how the colour distribution on the chart will be done.

      This graphical representation of values is made according to the response times of the pings made to the group, and is useful when we want an easy and quick visualization of a mass ping response times to a group of hosts. We can this way quickly see if it has been any fall on the pings responses, so if the chart becomes all black it will be a signal that the group of hosts has lost connectivity, or if we see a big increase on the red colour it will mean that there has been a big rise on the hosts response times, which can mean that there is a traffic jam happening on a certain location or other possible problems, or even having the biggest part of the chart filled with the white colour which would be the most desirable situation, being a signal that the majority of the hosts don't even reach the level of response times that makes them entering the yellow alert level.

    • Hosts Online Percentage - If we click on the "% Losses" on the pie chart itself, instead of having a visual representation of the response times of the hosts to be tested, we have a distribution of those hosts through the percentage quantity of failed pings happening on each one of them.

      In this case, the black colour has another role. Here the black colour represents the percentage of invalid hosts read by the software, and as such, it could only appear if the group of hosts was automatically extracted from a table, where there were some invalid hosts on the column chosen for them to be taken, and that percentage of lines read with invalid hosts is the one that is made with the hosts shown on the table called "Offline or N/A", and it will be represented by the black colour. This way, if 100 lines are extracted from a HTML table on a page, and 10 of those lines would have no host whatsoever on the column where they should be, those 10 lines would appear on the table "Offline or N/A", and his chart would have 10% of its area filled by the black colour.

      Contrary to the black colour in this chart, the other colours are defined by the user, which will choose only two levels: the percentage level in which the hosts enter the yellow alert, and the percentage level from which the hosts enter the red alert, and the software won't let the user insert a value bigger than the 100% in the red alert box for obvious reasons. This value has to do with the quantity of packet losses on the pings made to the hosts. This way, if we have defined the 2% level for pings in yellow alert and the 50% level for pings at red alert, a host which would have only 1.9% of packet loss would remain with the white colour for not reaching the 2% level, a host with a packet loss of 2% would already be on the yellow alert group for reaching the 2% level that we defined and not reaching the 50% level, as well as a host that had the 49.9% level of packet loss for not reaching the 50% we defined for the red alerts, and a host with 50% of packet loss or more, would have the red colour because of reaching the level we defined for the red alerts.

      This way of visualizing data was essential in a tool and chart like this, because more important than the visualization of the response times of each host seen above, to detect traffic jams and other things, would be the necessity to see the packet loss of several hosts together on each zone, as it is usually one of the main statistics of each ping, its packet loss percentage at the end of a ping test, to find out the good quality of a connection, and this way it would be mandatory to have this kind of graphical visualization available, besides being also the default option used on the distribution of colours on the table itself.

      Note: Although in this chart it is possible to change the values that define the yellow alert and red alert levels for the ping response results, it is important to notice that these values are independent from those that influence the thresholds on the tables at start-up, the thresholds in this chart are different. So, when a new mass ping tool window is launched, these threshold values will be equal to those used on the tables, the same alert levels which are defined on the main console window, but when these values are changed on the pie chart itself, they'll change only the pie chart thresholds without changing the yellow and red thresholds defined on the main console window configuration tab, and only on that configuration tab can they be changed, before launching the mass ping window.

      Other functionalities on the pie chart:

      There is only one other functionality on the pie chart on this mass ping window:

      • Real Time - This check box, if checked, makes the pie chart update itself in real time while new results appear in the table. If this option is turned off, the chart won't update while the pings are running, and will only be updated when we click on pause or stop the pings, or even when we go back to put the check on the check box. It's useful in certain cases when we need maximum performances, which will make us want to deactivate the real time drawing of the chart and this way spending less CPU and accelerating the pings, although the charts don't occupy much resources on the computer due to being very optimized.

    
Video Demo

Download now (free download):

Network Pinger v1.0.1.0
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Published on 13th March 2012



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