Frequently asked questions
General product FAQs
What are the supported platforms?
SparrowIQ is supported on Microsoft Vista, 7, 8, Server, and within a Virtual Machine running either of these.
Which browsers are supported?
SparrowIQ is accessed via a browser. The following minimum versions of these popular browsers are supported.
- Chrome 20
- Firefox 13
- Internet Explorer 9
- Safari 5
What about mobile devices?
SparrowIQ can be accessed from any machine on the network. All you need is a supported browser. SparrowIQ can be accessed with iPhone, iPad (using Safari) and Android devices (using Firefox)
What network size can SparrowIQ run on?
The load on the network is what matters. For example, a 10 person business running a few servers could generate high data rate for an online service and will require a higher version of SparrowIQ compared to a 50 person business which does not generate much traffic. The limiting factor, in effect, is the traffic and flow rates in the network (see the Technical FAQ section for definition of flows). The maximum sustained traffic rate depends on the product version and is 25% higher than the advertised throughput, though short bursts of traffic are allowed.
How do I decide which version of SparrowIQ to get?
We recommend downloading a free trial version of SparrowIQ, which provides you with the tools necessary to evaluate your needs. The free trial will work for 15 days during which you can monitor your network and decide on the version of SparrowIQ to purchase.
What about bigger networks? (scalable solutions)
Please contact us by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org if you have a larger network and interested in learning more about our scalable solutions.
What kind of product support can I expect?
We strive to provide quick responses to your questions. Normally, we respond in less than 24 hours of a business day.
What license options are available?
- SparrowIQ Trial – is a free trial license valid for 15 days.
- SparrowIQ 7 – is a subscription license and supports up to 7 Mbps of throughput.
- SparrowIQ 15 – is a subscription license and supports up to 15 Mbps of throughput.
- SparrowIQ 30 – is a subscription license and supports up to 30 Mbps of throughput.
What type of support is included?
The support package allows you to update to the latest version of SparrowIQ for free as long as you have an active subscription. The package also provides customers with priority email technical support.
Can I upgrade my SparrowIQ version by paying the difference in licensing fee?
Yes. If you find that the current version of SparrowIQ cannot keep up with the volume of traffic in your network, you can simply pay the difference and upgrade to a higher version of SparrowIQ.
What is the difference between update and upgrade?
An update is a change in version number in SparrowIQ (say from v1.2 to v1.3). A new version may include new features and bug fixes. An upgrade is a change in the size of network support – say from SparrowIQ 7 to SparrowIQ 15.
Can I try/use SparrowIQ for free?
Absolutely. You may download and install a free trial license, which is valid for 15 days.
What are the limitations of the trial version?
There are no limitations – it is fully featured for a period of 15 days.
Can I extend my free trial?
Please contact us at email@example.com to extend your trial license.
Can I cancel my subscription?
We'd hate to see you go, but if you wish to cancel, we understand. You are free to cancel at any time without penalty unless you have signed a longer term agreement.
Deployment and requirements FAQs
What are my deployment options?
You have two options for deployment and depends on how you send a copy of the network data to the SparrowIQ PC. You can deploy SparrowIQ either by using the port mirroring capabilities, also called SPAN port capabilities of a switch (SPAN mode) or by using a Network Tap.
What is a network tap?
A Network Tap copies all of your network data to a monitor port. There are usually two ends, say A and B connections which pass the network traffic through and one or two monitor ports. It is this/these monitor port(s) that will be connected to the SparrowIQ PC.
What is Port Mirroring (switch with a SPAN port)?
Port Mirroring is a feature on Ethernet switches that copies all network traffic data to one or more switch port. This is also referred to as SPAN – Switched Port Analyzer, a Cisco term or RAP – Roving Analysis Port, a 3Com term.
What are the minimum requirements?
- A Network Tap or Ethernet switch with SPAN or port mirroring capability.
- A PC with following minimum hardware requirements
- Dual Core 2+ GHz processor
- 2 GB RAM
- 80 GB HDD
- 1 to 3 Ethernet interfaces
- 1 Ethernet interface is required if using switch with port mirroring
- 2 Ethernet interfaces are required if using an Aggregator Tap
- 3 Ethernet interfaces are required if using regular Tap
- The PC requires the following software
- Microsoft Vista, 7, 8, or Server 2008
- Microsoft Visual C++ Redistributable 2008
The Visual C++ Redistributable 2008 package can be downloaded for free from Microsoft's website. Check your installed programs list if the packages are already installed. Note that the multiple versions of the VC++ Redistributable can co-exist on the PC without any impacts.
- A web browser to access SparrowIQ. The following minimum versions of these popular browsers are supported.:
- Chrome 20
- Firefox 13
- Internet Explorer 9
- Safari 5
Where should I deploy SparrowIQ (placement in the network)?
SparrowIQ should be deployed where it can listen to all the network traffic that needs to be monitored. If you want all of your corporate network traffic to be monitored, the best place would be to deploy at the default gateway.
Can I run SparrowIQ on virtual platforms?
Yes. SparrowIQ has been successfully tested and supported on the following virtual platforms:
- VMWare vSphere Hypervisor (formerly ESXi 5.0)
- VMWare Player
Any of the operating systems supported by SparrowIQ (Windows Vista, 7, 8, and Server) can be installed as the Client OS on the virtual platform.
Sparrow technical FAQs
What are flows / what is flow analysis?
A flow is a sequence of network packets from one source to one (unicast) or more (anycast or multicast) destinations. Analyzing the flows in your network can tell you what kind of traffic is utilizing your network resources.
What is Netflow?
Netflow is a network protocol developed by Cisco for collecting IP traffic information. Netflow has become a standard for monitoring networks and provides the following fields to identify each unique flow. The following details the metrics used in Netflow version 5, which is the one of the most commonly used version for IPv4 networks.
- Ingress interface
- Source IP address
- Destination IP address
- IP protocol
- Source port
- Destination port
- IP type of service
Cant I just use free tools like MRTG?
MRTG only provides you with an overall picture of your bandwidth rates and does not give you detailed components of the traffic that is using up your network resources. This is the visibility of your network that SparrowIQ can provide.
How does SparrowIQ work without Netflow capable router?
SparrowIQ needs access to your network traffic and internally builds flow-type data and presents you with the gadgets and reports that you see on screen. SparrowIQ does this without netflow data being sent from a router.
Does SparrowIQ support direct Netflow interface monitoring?
No. Currently we do not support direct Netflow interface monitoring. Keep an eye on our future releases for this one.
How about sFlow?
No. Currently, SparrowIQ only works independently as an all-in-one package. Again, keep your eye on SparrowIQ future releases for this feature.
Is there a limit on number of flows that can be monitored by SparrowIQ?
Maximum flow rate scales with computing power and there is no artificial limit on the rate at which SparrowIQ can monitor traffic. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org for details and to discuss your specific needs.
Does SparrowIQ put a load on my network?
No. SparrowIQ passively listens to all incoming network traffic and reorganizes the data internally to present meaningful reports for your convenience. SparrowIQ generates only minimal DNS packets to resolve the IP addresses. The only other data is the HTTP traffic between the SparrowIQ PC and your web browser, which is comparable to a user visiting an average website.
Is SparrowIQ a big brother tool? What about privacy of the data?
No. SparrowIQ monitors your network without any Deep Packet Inspection. So, it can tell you where your network resources are being utilized without any inspection of the user data.