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What’s New in Q1? Broadband ISP Cloud Agents, HTTP/2 and More

By Gopi Gopalakrishnan
| | 13 min read


We are back with our first quarterly update in 2018. It has been a busy quarter at ThousandEyes with our engineering team churning new features every two weeks. So without wasting any more time, let’s recap some of our recent feature announcements and review what’s new in the six releases from January to March 2018.

Monitor Digital Experience from Broadband ISPs

ThousandEyes Cloud Agents are now even closer to your consumer home and business networks. In March, we introduced 23 new Cloud Agent locations in broadband ISP networks. With these new vantage points, you can now monitor the availability and performance of your digital assets and understand how your consumer and SMB customers are impacted by local ISP performance. The first installment of these Cloud Agents are connected exclusively to some of the largest broadband ISPs, including AT&T, CenturyLink, Comcast, Cox, Charter and Verizon. You’ll be able to monitor and compare performance between these ISPs in six US metro areas. Each of the Broadband ISP Cloud Agents will be single-homed to the provider, rather than the multi-homed model we've used for most Cloud Agents. Single-homing guarantees that customers' tests use only the desired provider. Stay tuned for additional ISP cloud agent locations and improvements in the user interface through the year.

Locations of new Broadband ISP Cloud Agents
Figure 1: Locations of the new Broadband ISP Cloud Agents.

Support for SPDY and HTTP/2

Is it HTTP 2.0 or HTTP/2? The working group has apparently decided to drop the .0 minor version from the name, since it has caused lot of confusion with the HTTP/1.x version. Nonetheless, our HTTP layer tests will now negotiate the version of HTTP and use HTTP/2 if its supported by the server. You may notice few changes in test data as a result of this new feature. For instance, the waterfall data and metrics on our Page Load and Transaction tests can be substantially different from those produced using HTTP 1.1 or older versions. As HTTP/2 improves efficiency through a single TCP connection the waterfall data will have fewer objects with Connect time. You will see a similar pattern with SSL times for connections that use SSL/TLS.

We have also introduced new waterfall timings for HTTP/2 features like Server Push to provide details on Push receive and Read times. Finally, our BrowserBot component that manages Page Load and Transaction tests will now support SPDY, the precursor to HTTP/2 and QUIC, a UDP-based implementation for secure web communication.

HTTP/2 features in Page Load Tests Waterfall data
Figure 2: Waterfall data in Page Load Tests now includes HTTP/2 features.

Simplifying Selenium-based Transaction Tests

Transaction tests now support the dynamicType command which allows users to directly input a JavaScript expression. With this capability you can easily script multiple-choice security questions and test login mechanisms that require choosing from a list. The dynamicType command is supported on the 0.9.4 version of our Transaction Recorder. Systems with connectivity to the Chrome Store should receive the updated version automatically.

Selenium transaction scripts support for dynamicType command
Figure 3: Selenium-based transaction scripts now support new command type ‘dynamicType’.

More Alert Options

Stay on top of notifications with new alert options for Transaction, Page Load and HTTP Server tests. You can now alert on ‘Redirect’ count on HTTP Server Tests and ‘Total wire size’ metric for HTTP Server and Page Load Tests. For Transaction tests, get granular alert options with Step#, Page#, Completion and Anypage metrics.

Enterprise Services Enhancements

Secure Voice with SIP over TLS

SIP Server and Voice call tests now support SIP-TLS to test secure voice calls. The Map tab on the SIP Server tests now include an SSL phase for TLS based tests. Stay tuned for more enhancements in this area, as we continue on our journey to support secure voice tests.

SIP over TLS on SIP Server Test
Figure 4: Support for SIP over TLS on SIP Server Test.

PAC files support on Enterprise Agents using Virtual Appliance

Similar to Web browsers, ThousandEyes Enterprise Agents can use a proxy auto-config (PAC) file to select a proxy server based on the requested URL and other variables. Enterprise Agents deployed as Virtual Appliances or on the Intel NUCs will now support selection of proxy servers through PAC files. If you are interested in this feature, browse through our Knowledge Base for detailed execution information.

Endpoint Agent Enhancements

As part of our continuing efforts to improve admin user experience, we have introduced the ability to move Endpoint Agents between account groups. As shown in Figure 5, navigate to the Endpoint Agents Settings page to transfer ownership of Endpoint Agents between account groups.

Enterprise Agent transfer ownership action
Figure 5: Transfer ownership of Enterprise Agents between account groups.

You will require Edit permissions on both the source and target account groups to transfer ownership. Any previously collected endpoint data from the agent will stay within the original account group and not migrate to the new group.

Endpoint Agent administrators now have an option to choose agent extension features to install, including whether or not to install the Internet Explorer add-on or the Chrome extension. The operations are performed in a command window using the msiexec command. For example, the Internet Explorer add-on can be removed using the command:

msiexec /quiet /qn /i Path-To-Msi-File.msi ADDLOCAL=ALL REMOVE=IeExtension

BGP Enhancements

Access to all public BGP Monitors

Why restrict yourself to a few public monitors when you can select them all and gain visibility from multiple vantage points? Users collecting data through public BGP monitors now have the option to select either all the BGP public monitors or none. Private BGP Monitors will continue to be individually selectable. We are actively working on increasing the number of BGP public monitors, so stay tuned for more details in this area.

Existing tests that had a subset of the Public BGP Monitors have been changed to include all monitors, thus providing visibility from more BGP vantage points. In the Reports feature, you can configure filters for any Monitors you wish to exclude. For Alerts, individual monitors can be excluded from Alert Rules by using the Monitors selector in the Alert Rule and choosing the ‘All Monitors except’ option.

Timestamp BGP Path Changes Within a Test Interval

BGP Route Visualization has been enhanced with granular BGP path change information. It now includes a list view of AS path changes and the corresponding timestamps of the path changes. Mouse over a BGP monitor in the Route Visualization to display the tooltip. Navigate to View details of path changes to see the list of AS path changes, as shown in Figure 6.

BGP path change timestamp details
Figure 6: Timestamp details for BGP path changes.

This information is particularly helpful when a series of changes happens within a test round interval of 15 minutes.

As always, our feature roadmap and product development are driven by feedback from you. Please reach out to us through your account team or the wish page if you have any feedback or feature requests.

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