NetStress application was designed to be a reference tool to measure the performance of the wireless network. This is a simple tool that uses bulk data transfer over TCP. Network performance is expressed in terms of performance – that is, bytes per second.
In order to test and troubleshoot networks we need tools that allow us to generate network traffic and analyze the performance of network processing. This is true both for wired and wireless, but mostly we will focus on 802.11 (WiFi) networks because analysis tools are relatively scarce and when available, tend to be quite expensive and too difficult to use.
Also, because WiFi networks are sensitive to RF interference from other wireless devices, which are more difficult to troubleshoot and transient changes in the local environment can affect performance.
The tools are typically used to troubleshoot wireless networks report signal strengths of RF interference or beacons from an access point in units of dBm or RSSI (relative indication of signal strength). But what they really mean this? How do you translate in terms of performance of your wireless network?
Our wireless network adapter can report beacon strength of our access point to -53 dBm or -73 dBm -65 dBm or o. Or, our RF spectrum analyzer displays a -74 dBm interference peak in the middle of channel 6. Or, we and our neighbors or our business door access points configured to use channel 11? Is this good? Bad? It does not matter?
Ultimately, the bottom line and what matters most is performance – that is, the number of bytes per second can be transferred from one network node to another. The dBm and RSSI numbers do not mean much unless they can somehow relate to a performance metric – the most important is “bytes / sec.
The point is that before we can begin to troubleshoot a wireless network needs a way to compare its performance, so that modifications can be made to determine whether or not they really make a difference in the performance of the network.
This is where it fits NetStress is a simple tool, originally created for internal use, later also realized value to others. This is the ideal scenario: you install a new wireless network and works perfectly. Run NetStress and record benchmark results for future reference.
Sometime in the future when you or others suspect performance has declined then rerun NetStress and compare the latest results with those gathered in the network is first installed and working “perfectly”.
The results of this comparison will indicate whether or not there really a problem and determine what steps to take next (if any). Regardless of your expertise and cost diagnostic tools, if you are modifying a wireless network or making decisions to modify and test performance are not the risk of wasting time and resources that are on the road wrong.
• Microsoft. NET Framework 2.0 (or later) (download here)
· CD-ROM (for software installation)
• A minimum of 300 MB of available hard disk space
· CPU: Intel Pentium 4 1.2 GHz or faster
· Memory: 512 MB
· Drive Disk: 1000 MB free space
· Video: 32 MB of video RAM
· Adaptor Wireless Network