“More and more IT personnel are less skilled than they were 5 to 10 years ago,” said Tony Barbagallo, WildPackets’ vice president of marketing and sales, when we spoke with him and Jay Botelho, director of product management, last week. “We recognize that fact in our product, providing a sophisticated toolbox of products and functionality for analyzing networks.” You might know WildPackets for its OmniAnalysis network-monitoring platform, but the company’s flagship product now goes by the name WildPackets WatchPoint.

WildPackets WatchPoint is a Web-based umbrella platform encompassing OmniPeek (a console for capturing, analyzing, displaying data) and OmniEngines (appliance-based or software-only solutions for data capture and analysis at distributed points on the network). “WatchPoint aggregates data from OmniEngines (and NetFlow and sFlow) across the network and enterprise,” Barbagallo said, “and provides a central view at a high-level monitoring standpoint, so you can monitor top talkers, network protocols on network, and so on—then drill down to OmniPeek to go to packet level.”

I asked about what I saw as a trend in the industry to combine traditional packet-based sniffing technologies with statistical monitoring in one product. Barbagallo replied, “Well, we started in the deep-packet inspection space, and so we really saw the benefit of statistical and packet monitoring working together. Maybe the trend in the industry is to get that 360-degree view of the network but also to be able to dive in to understand what’s going on, rather than just sending Joe over to the switch and telling him to reboot it.”

WildPackets WatchPoint also introduces advanced 10Gb Ethernet (10GbE) analysis capabilities. According to the company, it’s the industry’s most extensible data-recording solution for full-duplex 10Gb network analysis and forensics, tuned for high-speed networks and distributed storage subsystems. “We’re seeing much more demand for 10GbE in Europe and Asia than in the United States, especially in this last quarter (mostly related to VoIP traffic). We get lots of requests from the financial/banking segment.”

Also, WildPackets OmniPeek is the “tool of choice” for device certification at the Wi-Fi Alliance. WildPackets expects adoption of 802.11n on enterprise networks to expand during 2008. “We were first to market with a commercial solution supporting 802.11n,” said Barbagallo, and Botelho added, “Most companies that have deployed wireless really needed a monitoring solution, but they’re wary of adding a whole new wireless monitoring solution. WatchPoint tackles that need in 90 percent of the infrastructures already out there.”

Finally, WildPackets WatchPoint addresses VoIP monitoring, troubleshooting, and certification tests