• Getting Started With Packets

 
 
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Packets is a cloud based network analysis and visual troubleshooting tool. The workflow is pretty simple and straightforward. Here is a quick guide to get you started with the tool.

 

 

 

Uploading A Tracefile

On login you will be presented with the Home page as shown below. The Home Page allows you upload new traces or to manage already uploaded traces.

 

Packets Home File List

To upload a new trace, simply drag and drop it in the section marked as ‘Drag Your Traces Here’ or you can also click on the ‘Select Files’ text to browse and select a file using your file browser.

The file will be uploaded and start processing automatically. Once the file has been processed, it will be indicated under the ‘Info’ column.

Processed message in Info column
Clicking on the file name will then take you to the Analyze page.

 

Analysing Graphs And Charts

On the Analyze page, there are various tabs with graphs, charts and tables.

The ‘Connectivity’ tab gives charts and graphs related to the connectivity status of various clients throughout the duration of the trace. This includes parameters like connectivity duration, failures, SSID, access point, channel etc. Clicking any client inside a chart takes you to the table under the charts, which gives further details and statistics about that client’s connectivity journey.

Packets Connectivity tab
The ‘Performance’ tab gives graphs related to the performance metrics of the clients and AP’s in the trace. This includes parameters like data rate, connection latency, retry rate, airtime, RSSI, broadcast/multicast packets etc. Statistics and percentages of various metrics can be observed in the table under the charts.

Packets Performance tab

The ‘Clients’ and ‘Access Points’ tabs give statistics for each client and access point discovered in the trace. This includes details like number of different frame types found for each device. This can be quite useful in identifying the MAC of the device you are interested in analysing.

 

Selecting A Device

The various charts and tables on Analyze page give you an overview of the connectivity and performance status of the trace.

For in-depth analysis of a particular client or an access point, click on its MAC address from any of the tables. This will take you to the Visualize page.

 

Visualising Frames For A Device

Based on the selected MAC, the tool will process the trace and present the Visualize page. This page contains graphs and table that are specific to the selected device only.

Packets Frame View graph
There are 3 tabs, namely Frame View, Time View & Frame List. A number of quick points about these tabs :

  • The graph is dynamic in nature and each bullet on the graph represents a frame in the trace. Frames corresponding to only the selected client MAC are displayed on the graph.
  • One can hover over the bullets to see a tooltip which displays more information about that particular frame.Packets - tooltip for a frame
  • Different frames with different types/sub-types are displayed with a different color and at a different Y-axis level on the graph: the frame types/sub-types which occur later in a typical connection handshake are displayed at a higher level than the ones which occur earlier. This concept is immensely useful in quickly understanding the connection handshake patterns in the trace.
  • The X-axis shows the actual frame number of the frame as captured in the trace. The Y-axis corresponds to the different logical levels as assigned to the different frame types/sub-types. Packets Frames Wireshark View
  • On the same page, apart from the graph, you can also view the conventional Wireshark-like view of all the frames in the Frames tab.

In case you have questions about the working of the tool or suggestions to make it better, feel free to mail us at packets@arista.com. We will get back to you.

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