Frontline's NetDecoder™ protocol analyzer, an award winning software, is designed to diagnose and troubleshoot communication problems in industrial networks. Frontline's NetDecoder analyzer has the ability to monitor and provide detailed timing, data and messaging information for serial, fieldbus, and Ethernet networks.

The NetDecoder protocol analyzer is used in many industries including Oil & Gas, Food and beverage, Electric power transmission, Water or sewer management, and Factory automation.

The NetDecoder analyzer supports these technologies:

Serial Protocols

  • Modbus RTU
  • Modbus ASCII
  • DNP3 over serial
  • DF1/PCCC
  • IEC 60870-5-101
  • IEC 60870-5-103
  • BSAP Bristol Babcock
  • Emerson ROC
  • BACNet
  • IEC-60870-5-102
  • Saia-Burgess S-Bus
  • CC-Link

Ethernet Protocols

  • Modbus/TCP
  • EtherNet/IP (CIP and PCCC)
  • Allen-Bradley’s CSP/PCCC
  • DNP3 over Ethernet
  • IEC 60870-5-104
  • CC-Link IE

Industrial Bus Protocols

  • Allen-Bradley’s Data Highway Plus (DH+)
  • DeviceNet
  • ControlNet
  • Allen-Bradley DH-485
  • CAN 2.0 A

Using the NetDecoder analyzer, you can:

  • Reduce downtime and increase uptime - Fix network problems quickly.
  • Improve network performance - Optimize bandwidth utilization & reduce latencies.
  • Improve network security - Monitor your network for alarms and intruders.
  • Improve network maintenance - Find network problems before they cause losses.
  • Perform faster and more efficient network installations.
  • Rapidly develop industrial control and SCADA network products.
  • Perform better in Conformance testing of your network products.

Read some of our case studies to learn how the NetDecoder analyzer helps customers.


The NetDecoder analyzer is more than an efficient and effective troubleshooting tool. It has transitioned into an effective monitoring tool giving you the ability to see issues developing before they result in major problems.

Some of the main features of the NetDecoder analyzer include:

  • High level Dashboard views provide a quick overview of your network's health.
  • Graphical Network views provide real-time visibility into your network.
  • Network Statistics provide break-down of network traffic.
  • Multiple decoded views of frames on the network.
  • Low level decoding of frames with ability to filter and search data.

The NetDecoder analyzer also provides the ability to analyze both serial and Ethernet traffic at the same time. This feature is very handy to troubleshoot issues where serial to Ethernet converters are used. The NetDecoder analyzer provides a view to traffic on both sides of the converter with the NetDecoder analyzer's ability to run both its serial and Ethernet analyzers at the same time.

To learn more about how the NetDecoder analyzer can help you request us a demo

NetDecoder Users

The NetDecoder analyzer is an indispensable test, measurement and monitoring tool for:

  • Industrial control and SCADA design engineers.
  • OEM development and test engineers.
  • System integrators.
  • Field service and maintenance engineers.
  • Network engineers.
Event Display Window - The captured data includes data bytes, timestamp, control signal states, and line errors. Byte value can be displayed in hex, decimal, octal, binary, and either ASCII, EBCDIC, or Baudot. The software calculates the time difference (Delta time) between selected bytes or events. Users can open multiple Event Display windows to view different segments of the captured data and quickly find byte-oriented errors and timing issues. The Event, Frame and Statistics Displays are all synchronized.

Find Function - Users can search data as it is being captured or after it has been saved. The find function allows users to quickly pinpoint problem areas. Users can find a specific event in the data stream by searching for time (absolute or relative), errors, and signal changes or data patterns.

Breakout Box Window - The software provides a graphical view and real time status of the major RS-232 control signals: DTR, RTS, CTS, DSR, CD, and RI. The software counts and displays the number of control signal state changes.

Signal Display Window - The software provides a graphical view of live control signal transitions and even after they have been saved. The Zoom function allows users to view the state of control signals for a range of events, or changes over a capture session. The "Snap To" feature simplifies problem isolation by causing the cursor to snap to the nearest signal change.

Event Export - Users can export Event level information in to text, Excel, HTML, or binary format. The output is human readable and suitable for importing into a spreadsheet or database, or useable by other programs. Users can select the range of events to export.

Frame Display Window View data at varying levels of granularity, from frame/message level to bit/byte level. Includes summary information for messages sent and received. Decoding of message into text. Protocol errors are identified with red frame numbers. Message is shown in binary, octal, hex and ASCII. Display filters include pre-set filters, node information filters and user defined complex filters. Capture filter limits the amount of Ethernet data captured. Multiple Frame Display Windows can be opened for simultaneous views of different sections of the captured data.

Summary Pane View a one line high-level overview of each data frame/message. Select a protocol layer and the most significant fields are displayed in a concise form. Selecting a specific message frame causes text information to appear in the Frame Decode pane. To facilitate troubleshooting, all panes are adjustable in size and are synchronized. Selecting a message frame in the Summary pane automatically updates the other panes. Selecting an item in the Decode pane highlights the corresponding bits or bytes in the other panes. Protocol errors result in red frame numbers. Quick-filters create a new Summary display that only includes frames/messages that contain the protocol layer you have selected, making it easy to zoom in on your messaging/protocol problems. Frame Summary information can be exported into CSV format and loaded into a spreadsheet or other program to do intricate statistical analysis of protocol and network information.

Find Specific Information in Frames Examine and search data as it is being captured (or after it has been saved), through use of the Find Function. Use the Find Function to quickly pinpoint problem areas in the captured data or to move to a specific frame. The frame level Find Function can 1) search the text of the decode for a specified string, 2) search for errors, and 3) limit the search to DTE or DCE. Data searches can also be performed at the byte level.

Quick Find Features
  • Tab Filters - Display only selected protocol
  • Quick Filter - Preset Filters for displaying error messages, bookmarks, protocols and more
  • Right Click Filter - Display only selected decodeItem in summary pane.
Display Filters Use the Display filters to sift through large volumes of captured data and focus only on the problem areas. FTS’s unique "drill down" capability enables the user to apply new filters while preserving previous views of the data. Filter parameters include protocol and data pattern; advanced mode enables the user to set up complex filters. Display filters can be saved for later use.
Frame Export Outputs frame level information in text. Provides output that is formatted and human readable, suitable for importing into a spreadsheet or database, or useable by other programs for post-processing.
NetDecoder gathers and maintains important statistical information related to the network being monitored. This information is crucial to debug and troubleshoot communication problems on the industrial network.

The Statistics display window includes information that is relevant for all networks. This information includes:

  • Bandwidth Utilization data.
  • Frame rate (Frames/second).
  • Character or Byte rate (bytes/second).
  • Frame/message size distributions.
  • Error information.

Apart from the above common information, NetDecoder also gathers data specific to the properties of the industrial network being monitored. Some examples of this include statistics for Ethernet, ControlNet, DeviceNet and DH+.

Ethernet Statistics

The statistics dialog for the Ethernet analyzer includes error information supported by the NDIS drivers. Since not all errors are supported by all NDIS drivers, the ones not supported are marked "n/a". Some of the Ethernet errors statistics reported include:

  • CRC errors.
  • Alignment errors.
  • Number of received frames with errors.
  • Number of transmitted frames with errors.
  • Number of frames successfully transmitted after detecting one collision.
  • Number of frames successfully transmitted after detecting multiple collisions.
  • Number of frames successfully transmitted after transmission has been deferred at least once.
  • Number of frames not transmitted due to excessive collisions.
  • Number of frames not transmitted due to under-run errors.
  • Number of frames transmitted without detecting the collision detection heartbeat.
  • Number of times carrier sense was lost during frame transmission.
  • Number of collisions detected after the normal window.

ControlNet Statistics

NetDecoder's ControlNet analyzer uses the 1784-U2CN or the 1784-PCC card as the sniffer interface. The interface cards are designed around the ControlNet CNA10 ASIC. The ControlNet analyzer gathers information about frames dropped by the CNA10 ASIC. The protocol analyzer also provides the number of frames that were dropped by the buffer in the 1784-U2CN device. Other useful ControlNet related error information includes the number of bad frames received and the MAC IDs of nodes transmitting bad frames. The ControlNet analyzer maintains a list of the last eight MAC IDs that transmitted bad frames.

DeviceNet Statistics

NetDecoder supports two options for running the DeviceNet analyzer. Users can choose either Rockwell Automation's 1784-U2DN or SST's DeviceNet interface cards. For both these interfaces, NetDecoder provides statistics on

  • CRC errors.
  • Bit-stuff errors and error flags.
  • Firmware buffer overflows (U2DN or SST interface).
  • Frame errors.


DH+ Statistics

NetDecoder's DataHighway-Plus analyzer includes a special "Dashboard View". This presents statistics on:

  • Busy tokens.
  • Total bytes sent.
  • Event log.
  • Token rotations.
  • Top listeners.
  • Top talkers.
  • Top conversations.

Another unique feature of NetDecoder's Statistics display is multiple tabs on the Statistics dialog. All the screenshots above show three tabs in the dialog. These tabs are named "Session", "Resettable" and "Capture File".

Information about all data collected since the analyzer was started is shown in the Session tab. The Session tab cannot be reset; in this sense, it is like the odometer on a car. The odometer on a car shows you all the miles driven since the car was built, and the Session tab shows you all the data collected since the analyzer was started.

If you think of the Session tab as the odometer, then the Resettable tab is the trip odometer. It can be reset, and allows you to record statistics for a new "trip". In this way you can effectively start a new session without having to restart the analyzer.

The Capture File tab shows information on the data that is currently in the capture. Occasionally some of the statistics read n/a, for Not Available. This happens for various reasons. For example, many of the items on the Capture File tab become not available (n/a) if the buffer becomes full and wraps. When this happens, the analyzer can no longer provide accurate statistics for the data in the file, because some of the data that the statistics are based on has been lost.

NetDecoder's Network View feature provides an additional tool to easily debug network communication problems. Along with the Dashboard feature, the Network View forms a suite of graphical tools that provide an easy-to-comprehend visual display of the network. It can also be used to identify and fix problems before they can cause too much trouble on the network. The graphical features make NetDecoder an extremely powerful network analyzer and troubleshooting tool. The Network view is currently available for Ethernet and ControlNet networks.

Ethernet Network View

NetDecoder's Ethernet analyzer provides an extensive, customizable Network View display. Ethernet Network View Statistics include:
  • Utilization Information.
  • Packets Transmitted and Received.
  • DNS Names.
  • Nodes In and Out.
  • Broadcast Information.
  • IP Address, MAC Address, Net Bios Name.
  • Ability to enter User Assigned Friendly Names to the nodes.
ControlNet Network View

NetDecoder's ControlNet analyzer based on the 1784-PCC card, provides a Network View display. This view provides a complete grid-layout of all the nodes. The layout reflects the status of RSWho status inquiry of the network. This display is consistent with the feature provided by Rockwell Automation's ControlNet traffic analyzer. Active nodes are highlighted in green and non-existing nodes are shown in grey. Nodes that drop off the network instantly turn from green to grey indicating a problem. This change in device status points the network administrator in the direction of the problem. Apart from, the network layout, the ControlNet network view also provides statistics on:

  • Network Update Time.
  • Max Scheduled Node (Smax).
  • Maximum Unscheduled Node (Umax).
  • Slot time.
  • Blanking Time.
  • Guard Band information.
  • Interval Modulus.

The ControlNet analyzer also provides the used and available scheduled and unscheduled bandwidth information. This information is very useful for troubleshooting problems on a ControlNet network.

NetDecoder can be used effectively to detect communication problems at an early stage. This reduces network downtime and saves network operators a lot of money. In order to detect communication problems easily, NetDecoder's analyzers include the Dashboard feature. This dashboard shows the live status of the network in an easy-to-comprehend graphical display. The dashboard highlights the key aspects of the network that contribute to the overall system health. The dashboard is customizable and also includes alarming capabilities. The dashboard is available for Ethernet and DH+ networks.

Ethernet Dashboard Display NetDecoder's Ethernet analyzer includes the Ethernet Dashboard Display This display can be used to analyze industrial control networks such as Ethernet/IP, ModBus/TCP, PROFINET, DNP3 over Ethernet, CSP and PCCC over Ethernet. The display can also be used for all general Ethernet communications traffic. The Ethernet Dashboard View provides a graphical insight into the dynamics of the Ethernet network. NetDecoder is a passive network monitor and does not contribute to network loading.

Key Features of the Ethernet Dashboard Display

  • Network Utilization Meter with Background Color Alert.
  • 10 Minute Histogram of Network Utilization.
  • Graphic Specific Activity can be Tied Back to Packet Decode Details.
  • Network Meter for Bad Packets with Background Color Alert.
  • Top Talker Meter with Background Color Alert.
  • Top Ten IP/MAC Addresses Contributing to Network Traffic.
  • 10 Minute Histogram of Top Ten IP/MAC Address Activity.
  • Distribution of TCP/or UDP Application Related Communications Protocols.
  • Network Alarms for Unauthorized IP Addresses.
  • Network Alarms for User Define Protocol Alarm Levels.
  • Email Notification Option for Alarms.
  • Display Options for 10MB, 100MB and 1GB Network Speed.

Data Highway Plus (DH+) Dashboard Display
NetDecoder's DH+ analyzer includes the DH+ Dashboard Display This display enables you to see the health and dynamics of what is occurring on your Data Highway Plus network. Periodically monitor your DH+ network with NetDecoder to stay on top of developing situations that could cause performance or network problems. NetDecoder is a passive monitor and does not contribute to network loading.

Key Features of the DH+ Dashboard Display

  • Active Devices and Status Chart
    • Identifies Active Devices on the bus.
    • Identifies if a Device has Dropped Off the Bus.
    • Identifies if a Device had Previously Momentarily Dropped Off the Bus.
    • Identifies Long Responders - Device which took from 5 to 60 Seconds to Respond.
    • Identifies Non-Responders - Device did not Response in 60 Seconds.
  • Top Talker Chart with Top Eight Devices Identified and Conversation Levels Specified.
  • Top Conversations Chart with Top Eight Conversation and Activity Levels Displayed.
  • Token Rotation Summary - Min/Max/Avg.
  • Network Throughput Meter with Background Color Alert.
  • Works with Data Highway Plus Bus Speeds of 57.6Kbps, 115.2Kbps and 230.4Kbps.
Minimum System Requirements Note: The NetDecoder software does not work on Virtual Machines. Please do not try to install it on VMs.
  • Windows XP (32-bit), Windows 7 (32-bit & 64-bit).
  • Pentium 1GHz processor or higher.
  • RAM: 1GB minimum, 2GB recommended.
  • 50 MB free Hard Disk space.
  • One USB Port.
  • Ethernet sniffers require standard Ethernet Network Interface Card (NIC).
  • Data Highway Plus sniffer requires Rockwell Automation's 1784-U2DHP.
  • DH-485 sniffer requires a 2 port RS-485 serial card.
  • CAN2.0A sniffer requires SST's DeviceNet PCI or PCMCIA interfaces.
  • DeviceNet sniffer requires one of the following
    • SST's DeviceNet PCI or PCMCIA interfaces
    • Rockwell Automation's 1784-U2DN.
  • ControlNet sniffer requires Rockwell Automation's 1784-PCC card or 1784-U2CN device.

Especificaciones Tecnicas

Serial Related Technical Specifications
Data Interfaces 'RS-232 ComProbe II' for Async RS-232 communications; 'RS-422/485 ComProbe' for Async RS-422/485 communications; 'RS-232 ComProbe' for synchronous RS-232/422/485 communications; V.35/36/10/11, and X.21 interfaces supported through optional serial cards or converters.
Data Rates Up to 921.6K bps Async, including support for user-defined non-standard data rates using the RS-232 ComProbe II and RS-422/485 ComProbe.Up to 64K Sync and 38.4 Async with RS-232 ComProbe Option.
Operating Modes Monitor DTE, Monitor DCE, & Monitor Both available for RS-232 ComProbe II and RS-422/485 ComProbe; Transmit mode and Spy Mode available only for built-in PC serial ports.
Communication Modes Asynchronous (RS-232 ComProbe II and RS-422/485 ComProbe), Synchronous (RS-232 ComProbe), Isochronous (RS-232 ComProbe).
Bit Order LSB (normal) or MSB (reversed) first.
Flow Control Software (including user-defined Xon/Xoff), Hardware (RTS/CTS and DTR/DSR).
Character Sets ASCII, 7-bit ASCII, EBCDIC, Baudot.
Data Formats Decoded 16 bit Integers, 32 bit Integers, 32 bit Floating Point, 32 bit Reverse Floating Point, and ASCII.
Parity None, Even, Odd, Mark, Space.
Word Length 5, 6, 7, or 8 bits.
Stop Bits 1, 1.5, or 2 bits.
Timestamping Absolute and relative timestamping; <1 microsecond resolution.< />d>
Other Features Write custom decodes using DecoderScript language; Get all future software updates for free.
Serial Protocols Supported Modbus RTU, Modbus ASCII, DNP3, DF1/PCCC, BSAP, and PPP, SLIP, and PPP/SLIP carrying TCP/IP.
Ethernet Related Technical Specifications
Industrial Ethernet Protocols Supported DNP3, Modbus/TCP, Ethernet/IP (CIP), Rockwell CSP and PCCC, PROFINET and CC-Link.
Data Rates Supports 10Mbps, 100Mbps and 1Gbps Ethernet.
Network Interface Uses any Windows compatible 10/100/1000 Ethernet Network Interface Card (NIC).
Data Formats Decoded 16 bit Integers, 32 bit Integers, 32 bit Floating Point, 32 bit Reverse Floating Point, and ASCII.
Timestamping Absolute and relative timestamping; <1 microsecond resolution.< />d>
Other Features Write custom decodes using DecoderScript language; Get all future software updates for free.
Industrial Bus Related Technical Specifications
Industrial Bus Protocols Supported
  • CAN 2.0A.
  • Data Highway Plus.
  • DH-485.
  • DeviceNet.
  • ControlNet.
Data Capture Interfaces
  • CAN 2.0A sniffer requires SST's DeviceNet PCMCIA or PCI card.
  • Data Highway Plus sniffer requires Rockwell Automation's 1784-U2DHP.
  • DH-485 requires a RS-485 serial card.
  • DeviceNet sniffer requires either
    • SST's DeviceNet PCMCIA or PCI card or
    • Rockwell Automation's 1784-U2DN.
  • ControlNet sniffer requires Rockwell Automation's 1784-PCC or 1784-U2CN.
Data Rates
  • CAN 2.0A (custom baud rates).
  • Data Highway Plus (57.6K, 115.2K, 230.4K). The Quatech Hi-speed serial card is required to sniff 230.4K data.
  • DH-485 (all rates).
  • DeviceNet (125K, 250K, 500K).
  • ControlNet (maximum 5 Mbps).
Data Formats Decoded 16 bit Integers, 32 bit Integers, 32 bit Floating Point, 32 bit Reverse Floating Point, and ASCII.
Timestamping Absolute and relative timestamping; <1 microsecond resolution.< />d>
Other Features Write custom decodes using DecoderScript language; Get all future software updates for free.

Referencia Descripcion
NetDecoder Industrial Network Analyzer Protocol Analyzer for Serial, Fieldbus, SCADA and Ethernet Networks
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