Macworld Reviews

LANsurveyor 3.0

Road Map to your Network

LANsurveyor helps network managers map, monitor, and troubleshoot AppleTalk networks. For medium-size to large networks, LANsurveyor can pay for itself in the time and aggravation it saves.

LANsurveyor graphically displays AppleTalk network segments, the routers between them, and (if requested) the nodes on each segment. LANsurveyor uses this map to monitor the network, and sends out warnings when it recognizes a problem. LANsurveyor's map also serves as a graphical control board for launching other network-management tools.

LANsurveyor builds its graphical network map using AppleTalk's internal routing protocols. LANsurveyor draws individual networks as lines and places icons between them to represent routers. Networks with LAN-to-LAN links show up beautifully in the map; you need to make WAN links manually. You also have to enter a lot of TCP/IP configuration information manually, though a new feature helps the program auto-discover the IP addresses of AppleTalk devices.

For very large networks, the LANsurveyor map is somewhat awkward. You can move things around to make the map more readable, but this can be dangerous: whenever you add a new zone or verify the map topology, LANsurveyor rebuilds the map, and you lose your layout customizations. You can break a large network into smaller segments since the default map works well at a smaller size.

LANsurveyor can monitor any object on a map. If AppleTalk error rates get too high or if a system is unreachable using TCP/IP or AppleTalk, LANsurveyor alerts the network manager by playing sounds, showing dialog boxes, and sending E-mail or pages (a new feature, via Mark/Space Softworks' PageNow). I found monitoring a bit daunting: after setting different alarm thresholds and alerts for a couple dozen devices, I ended up with 14 open windows, making it hard to keep track of things. LANsurveyor also doesn't send mail directly via TCP/IP--you have to go through PowerTalk or CE Software's QuickMail; other E-mail packages and SMTP are not supported in this release. Alarms also don't affect the map; I'd like to see devices turn yellow or red in alarm state.

One feature I really like lets you point to a network segment and ask LANsurveyor to make a list, in a separate window, of all the devices on that segment. This feature highlights one of LANsurveyor's strengths--as a starting point for troubleshooting a problem.

LANsurveyor also lets you associate applications with objects. For example, I easily set up LANsurveyor to launch the management application for Cayman Systems' Gatorbox routers whenever I click on the map's Gatorbox icon.

LANsurveyor now supports SNMP queries of objects. Double-click on an object, and LANsurveyor gives you all available SNMP data: network interfaces and addresses, routing tables, error counts, and even installed software and hardware.

The Last Word

For mapping networks, giving the AppleTalk manager a feel for how things are put together, and acting as a master control panel for the network, LANsurveyor is an excellent tool. As a network-monitoring tool, LANsurveyor is adequate but still needs some work.

RATING: Three Stars/6.4

PROS: Valuable tool for any AppleTalk network manager; gives a big-picture view.
CONS: IP support is limited; monitoring facilities need more development.

COMPANY: Neon Software (510/283-9771,
LIST PRICE: Five zones $395; unlimited zones $695.


May 1996 page: 70

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