Learn to troubleshoot with Visual BACnet

Troubleshooting live with Visual BACnet
How our resident BACnet buffs tackle a brand new pcap file to solve common network issues

Have a troublesome network and a pcap file, but don’t know where to start with Visual BACnet? 

Our team of BACnet buffs has seen just about every BACnet issue under the sun. They regularly field questions on the best ways to filter, drill down, and pinpoint problems in Visual BACnet. 

To help, we recently hosted a webinar to troubleshoot submitted pcap files, live. Our presenters, Monica McMahen, Daniel Tan, and Ryan Hughson, walked through the files with step-by-step instructions and insights. 

Find out how to solve your network issues, use the diagnostic checks, when the BACnet Browser is your friend, and where to start on a brand new file.

File 1 | 1:19 to 8:12

We started this webinar with a bang, on a pcap file that had a 100% Network Health Score. Before you get too excited, this is usually not a sign of a healthy network. We see a lot of these files come in, and they’re usually a sign that the capture (1) isn’t long enough, or that (2) the user was capturing from the wrong location. In this case, it may have been a combination of both. 

With only three devices and approximately 250 BACnet packets, it doesn’t seem like this file captured the full network traffic. And, while 15 minutes is fine for a quick check, we usually recommend captures of 20–60 minutes for a general system analysis. 

While we weren’t able to help on this pcap, it is a good reminder to make sure you’re capturing plenty of data.  

File 2 | 8:12 to 20:27

Our second file came in with a Network Health Score of 81%. Looking at the graph, we saw that there was a massive spike of data at the beginning of the capture, followed by about 10 minutes of a lot of traffic — and then almost no traffic. This got our BACnet system sleuths curious about what caused all the traffic at the beginning of the capture. That level of activity, followed by an almost total drop-off, is pretty erratic network behaviour. 

The pcap file had passed all the critical diagnostic checks, but got warnings on Broadcast Traffic, Read Property Traffic, Global Who-Is, and Longest Response Time. 

Find out how our team dug into this file

File 3 | 20:27 to 50:43

Our third file came from a university, with a 19% Network Health Score. Instantly we saw that there was a lot of traffic on this network, and some failed critical checks. Our team zeroed in on the Circular Network check to start, which was the top failed critical check. 

On any file with a lot of problems, we recommend starting from the top and working your way down: if they’re related, the larger issues you solve at the top might fix some of the smaller problems lower down on your list.

Watch how Monica, Ryan, and Daniel worked through this file

File 4 | 50:43 to 1:00:58

The final file of the day came in with a 90% Network Health Score which, as Monica said, “is not super normal.” Digging into the failed diagnostic checks, the only failure on this MS/TP network came from five unresponsive devices. 

The team didn’t look at the five unresponsive devices though. Instead, they went straight to the Average Token Round-Trip and Standard Deviation of Token Round-Trip Times, which they regularly do on MS/TP networks. On MS/TP networks, this is a nice way to identify where in the network there are lags and unresponsive devices. While the Average Round-Trip and Standard Deviation of Token Round-Trip Times weren’t cause for alarm on this network, those five unresponsive devices were. 

Hear the team’s recommendations on this MS/TP file

If you’re struggling with a pcap file, be sure to check out our support portal, blog, and YouTube channel! You’ll find lots of tips and tricks for troubleshooting files and solving problems both big and small. 

Recent Blog Posts

May 26, 2020 Vancouver, BC – Optigo Networks is pleased to welcome Joel Schuster to the company’s board of directors.

Every March for the last few years at Optigo, we’ve taken a moment to celebrate women in tech and building automation.

Information Technology (IT) and Operational Technology (OT) are different in a lot of ways, from their design to their maintenance workflows and more.

It’s super important to have unique Device IDs on your BACnet system, but duplicates are a very common problem. Unfortunately, you might not even realize you have duplicate IDs, with devices only responding periodically.

Recent Projects

Data center expansion with OTI and Optigo Connect


Stack Infrastructure is a portfolio of hyperscale computing data centers. OTI completed work on Phases I and II, and returned for the Phase III build-out of a 4-megawatt data hall and brand new central plant. The Optigo Connect network put in place in Phases I and II was expanded on this project. The team achieved quick roll-out of a large, multi-service redundant network using the Optigo OneView management interface. Going forward, the facility management team can use OneView to remotely monitor equipment, manage power usage, and meet up-time goals.

Optigo Connect MR Soluciones The Landmark


The Landmark is a sophisticated mixed-use high-rise in Mexico. The owners wanted to integrate all OT systems in the skyscraper, while maintaining separate networks for each application. The Landmark is the fourth joint project between Optigo Networks and MR Soluciones. Together, these companies provide robust services to meet any challenge.

Australian Bureau of Statistics at 45 Benjamin Way with Delta Building Automation


Delta Building Automation (Australia) had a big job renovating the Headquarters for the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) at 45 Benjamin Way. The building owner wanted to improve the building’s energy use and increase their National Australian Built Environment Rating System (NABERS) score to more than 4.5 stars, out of a possible total of six. Securing the network both internally and externally was a big priority, as well.

Penn State University Optigo Networks Visual BACnet


When Tom Walker looked at Penn State University’s Navy Yard network, he saw huge issues. The system was busy and loud, to the point where the overrun network was bringing down the entire building. Because this was happening on the MS/TP network, pinpointing the problem would mean boots on the ground to segment and test the chain, piece by piece.

Penn State University Optigo Networks Visual BACnet


When Tom Walker first started working at Penn State University four years ago, there were a lot of network issues. Buildings were dropping offline. Broadcast traffic was pushing 90,000 packets per hour. Walker was on the phone almost every single night because devices were down or had to be reset.


Torre Manacar Mexico City Optigo Connect


When MR Soluciones began work on Torre Manacar, they knew they needed a flexible and scalable network infrastructure to support a wide array of integrated systems. Optigo Networks was a natural fit for the massive project, designing a robust network at a competitive cost.



Short Pump Town Center, an upscale retail center, underwent a complete renovation in 2014. The flexibility of Optigo Networks’ solution meant the retail center’s unknown final design was not a barrier to placing IP surveillance equipment in the field.



Optigo Networks connected New York-based Boulevard Mall’s security surveillance devices in December 2015, using a Passive Daisy Chain topology.

Visual BACnet tech support team


One tech support team at a manufacturer purchased an account with Visual BACnet in April 2017, for technical problems around the world.

Aster Conservatory Green Optigo Connect


The Aster Conservatory Green is a community comprising 352 residences across 24 low-rise buildings. The buildings use advanced surveillance and access control technology, including 40 HD video cameras and 60 FOB-access-tele-entry points for access control.