Colasoft Capsa 7.3.1 Enterprise Edition Review
Today we are reviewing professional network protocol and traffic analyzer Capsa 7.3.1, designed by Colasoft Co., Ltd.
So, we install the program, register and activate it. After that the Colasoft Capsa 6.9 welcomes us with the screen, divided into three parts: the left panel with Capsa Online help resources, bar at the top with configuration buttons and the main part of the window that has the ‘Start page’ tab opened
After studying the online resources and watching all the demo-videos, which by the way could be pretty much helpful in showing the features of the Colasoft Capsa 6.9 We click ‘Start Capture Now’ button and the ‘Project settings’ window appears.
This window has 6 sections, namely 'General', 'Adapter', 'Filter', 'Network', 'Log' and 'Diagnosis' that allow us to pre-configure many various aspects of program behavior, such as: the program actions after the buffer filling, its size, the colors which stand for different types of information, etc.
After configuring the program we click ‘OK’ and the first thing that we see are the changes in the interface: the left panel is now divided into three ones, namely: ‘Explorer’ that displays the list of the Endpoints monitored in a current project in tree-view, ‘Project Status’ that shows the different information about the packets and buffer usage and the one already known to us ‘Online Resources’ that has the list of links to online manuals and demo videos.
What also changed in the Capsa's appearance after clicking the ‘Start Capture Now’ button is the number of tabs in the main window – the lonely ‘Start page’ tab was replaced by ten other ones, namely: ‘Summary’, ‘Diagnosis’, ‘Endpoints’, ‘Protocols’, ‘Conversations’, ‘Matrix’, ‘Packets’, ‘Logs’, ‘Graphs’ and ‘Reports’.
- As it is clear from its name, the ‘Summary’ tab shows the summary on the current project, grouped into 16 categories. Basically each of the categories gives the information of quantitative character such as the number of messages sent/received using the instant messenger specified, physical and 802.3 errors quantity, POP3/SMTP connections made, HTTP, DNS request made etc.
- The ‘Diagnosis’ tab provides the information on all the network events, grouped into application, transport and network layers. What is also important in this tab is that all the messages can be grouped according to their severity level (There are 4 levels of severity in Colasoft Capsa: Information, Notice, Warning and Critical), thus making the process of finding the source of the network problems easy.
- The ‘Endpoints’ tab shows the list of the nodes in local and remote networks and some information about them, such as the number of packets and bytes in and out, quantity of connections made etc. The nodes can be shown as IP, Physical addresses or both Physical and IP. What is also good in this tab is that the information can be sorted, e.g. clicking the ‘Connections’ column will sort the nodes in descending or ascending order according to the number of connections made.
- The ‘Protocols’ tab shows the information about the protocols used in the Network. The information is also grouped into categories and can be sorted to be shown in descending or ascending order like in the ‘Endpoints’ tab. The other thing that both of these tabs have in common is the type of the list display – the protocols can also be shown in three views: Hierarchical, Ethernet and IP.
- The ‘Conversations’ tab screen is divided into two smaller ones. The one at the top shows the information about the Physical, IP, TCP and UDP conversations made between the two endpoints, while the one at the bottom shows more detailed information about the packets sent and received during these conversations. The information is also grouped into categories and can be sorted like in the two previous tabs.
- The ‘Matrix’ tab provides the view of all the network connections between the nodes and traffic as a single graph. The tab can show either Physical or IP matrix as well as three types of traffic: Unicast, Broadcast and Multicast. The user can select to see only top 100, 10 or any pre-specified number of nodes or conversations made in the network that also adds more options for the matrix view customization.
- The ‘Packets’ tab shows information like size, protocol, source etc about the packets transferred in the network. The information packets are listed in time sequence and the information is grouped into categories. This tab also provides the packet decoding information in Hex, ASCII and EBCDIC.
- The ‘Logs’ tab provides the information about what URLs, when and from where were visited, what emails were sent and received, what FTP transfers and DNS queries were made and what chat conversations and when took place. Information in this tab can also be sorted to be shown in ascending or descending order, to be grouped by the client PC name, time of the event, URLs visited, etc.
- The ‘Graphs’ tab allows viewing the general, error packets, TCP, email and HTTP information in numerous graphical forms. Everything is customizable – users are welcome to choose the type of the chart he wants to view, the quantity of dimensions he want it to see in (2D or 3D), chart update interval and even can launch the ‘Compare Mode’ that allows to view two graphs simultaneously.
- And the last ‘Reports’ tab seems to be the only tab of Colasoft Capsa that doesn’t show the information ‘on-the-fly’, but makes a report. The report contains the following chapters: ‘Summary Statistics’, ‘Diagnosis Events’, ‘Protocol Statistics’, ‘TOP 10 IP Protocol’, ‘TOP 10 Physical Addresses’, ‘Top 10 IP Addresses’, ‘TOP 10 Local IP Addresses’ and ‘TOP 10 Remote IP Addresses’, the contents of each part is seemed to be clear from their titles. What also should be added is that the report could be saved in HTML form for further studying.
Colasoft Capsa also has a lot of other advantages, but we think you already understood the two generic ones – first, the information analyzed by Colasoft Capsa is easy to access and view and, second, the program itself is very user-friendly and easy to understand. These qualities make Colasoft Capsa a perfect choice both for experts and novices in network administration.