ComCap v4 and V5
Beta Test Versions

Download ComCap5
Beta Version

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Beta v5.0 - 20 Mar 2017
(12,659,374 bytes)

Download ComCap4
Beta Version

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No beta at present

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The files linked from this page are beta test versions of ComCap. The beta version is made available to those that wish to test new features or have experienced problems in ComCap, to ensure such problems are fixed before an official release. Please make sure you keep your previous version of ComCap, in case you need to downgrade.

ComCap Beta 5.0

This beta is for the next release of ComCap later this year. The help will be updated for the final release.

ComCap5 will have many new major features, those currently planned are:

  • TCP Multi Server for up to 2,000 remote clients on a single channel - done
  • Compressing archived files as zips to save space, optional password - done
  • More SSL functionality - done
  • ComGen data generator support hundreds of short sessions - done
  • New window to monitor remote clients for TCP Multi Server - real soon
  • Support HTTP protocol to capture POST and PUT web requests
  • Data parsing of Json and XML protocols
  • Filtering will support different email addresses and messages per filter
  • Use UTC time or ignore summer time for consistent capture time stamps
  • Clone channel settings
  • Automatic configuring of Windows Firewall for ComCap network
  • Reverse capture display, newest line at the top
  • Hyper-V Virtual Machine access to physical server serial ports

It may take a year of more to add and test all these features, so they won't all be in the first ComCap 5.0 release.

CopmCap4 was released 10 years ago and has evolved substantially with many new features added without extra cost for existing users. ComCap 5 will have a higher price of 100 (about $125) to reflect the new functionality with an upgrade price for existing ComCap4 licensees. Support will continue for ComCap4 with bug and security fixes and there may be new versions in the future.

ComCap5 licenses are available already, with the license key working in both ComCap 4.15 and ComCap 5.0 for those not prepared to use the beta but wishing to avoid a later upgrade cost.

ComCap4 and ComCap5 may be installed and run side by side on the same PC,  but not capturing using the same serial or network ports. Currently, there is no automatic import of ComCap4 settings into ComCap5, this may be added later.

New Features and Bug Fixes 17th March 2017 - 5.0

1 - When archiving (and perhaps zipping) capture logs to a new directory on rotation, any customised capture sub-directory specified is now used as well. A customised capture sub-directory typically uses a partial date, so a new sub-directory is created monthly or daily, to avoid large numbers of files in the same directory. It is specified as part of the 'Custom Log Name Mask', ie 'yyyy-mm"\capture-"yyyymmdd".txt"' will cause a daily sub-directory to be created.

2 - The main window File menu has a new option 'View Mail Queue' that opens a new window showing any items pending in the Mail Queue, and allowing them to be cancelled if necessary. In general, email is sent within a few seconds assuming there is an internet connection, but sometimes email can get stuck in the queue and never sent.

3 - Fixed a bug that meant email being sent that failed all retries was not deleted from mail queue, but caused logging to go wild with errors.

4 - When entering SSL certificate file names in Preferences and Channel Settings, it's now possible to specify a password if the private key is encrypted. When entering SSL server certificate, private key and optional intermediate chain are now validated to ensure the SSL server will start correctly, for instance the private key matches the certificate, the certificate is issued by an intermediate and/or by a root CA authority, and that certificates have not expired. These checks also take place when  the SSL server is started and may prevent capture being started. Previously, only PEM certificates were supported, ComCap now also supports DER, PFX, P12, P7B, CER and CRT file formats. PFX/P12 (PKC12) is convenient because it can contain certificate, private key and intermediates so only a single file needs to be used.

5 - Fixed a validation issue introduced in ComCap 4.13 that prevented an IP address being specified to sent the Information Log remotely using UDP or TCP Client.

Bug Fixes 5th December 2016 - 5.0 and 4.17

1 - Fixed two problems with Email channels, they no longer always listen on port 587 and listening now correctly ceases when a channel is stopped.

2 - ComCap4 and ComGen now use the new OpenSSL 1.1.0c version with the latest security fixes. The OpenSSL DLLs are now digitally signed and checked when being loaded, for improved security. Checking of SSL certificates has been improved.

3 - If ComCap4 and ComCap5 are installed together, they will now both start automatically when Windows boots, if so configured.

4 - If an unexpected error happens during capture, usually with TCP Multi Server, an alert is now sent and capture restarted.

New Features 20th September 2016 - 5.0

1 - Reworked the way the capture and information log windows are refreshed so that much higher update rates are possible. Previously, only a few hundred lines per second could be displayed, now this is a few thousand per second. Viewing data at such rates is not really practical since the scrolling windows only show the last 5,000 lines (configurable), but this change means ComCap will no longer become non-responsive under heavy traffic. No data was ever lost, this merely relates to viewing live data.

2 - Tested the new 'TCP Multi Server' channel type with 2,000 simultaneous SSL sessions, each sending one line per second. Although a large number of connections are supported, opening each new SSL connection does take a finite duration limiting the number of new connections per second. Testing seemed to show the SSL connection limit to be about 100 per second on a decent PC, but this may vary significantly depending on hardware. Non-SSL connections have lower overhead, so many more per second. Most TCP clients will retry a refused connection, so should get connected when traffic is slower.

3 - ComGen5 has been rewritten to support more functionality creating test data streams to exercise ComCap5. There is a new ComGen5 Settings window with the same four tab that were previously in the main window. The Network tab has a new protocol 'Multi TCP Client' which will generate the number of clients as specified in the new 'Clients' column, up to 2,000 at present. Each client session will terminate after 'Lines/Session' have been sent. To avoid starting all these sessions at once (which most servers will be unable to handle), the General tab has a new setting 'Maximum New TCP Client Sessions Per Second' to restrict that number, typically 100 per second, or less for slower servers. The tab also has 'Random Gap Between Sessions (secs)' with 'Minimum' and 'Maximum'  being specified, defaulting to 5 and 60 seconds, so that repeat sessions are staggered. Any sessions that fail to connect first time will retry after 'Wait Before Retry (secs)' for 'TCP Client Retry Attempts'.

4 - ComGen5 will now create HTTP requests to test web servers. There are three new Data Type Formats, HTTP GET URL, HTTP POST URL, HTTTP PUR URL which should be used with TCP Client or Multi TCP Client. The Remote Host and Port are set in the Network grid, with the page and parameters specified as the Data Type Text, ie: HTTP GET URL and '/index.html' will get that URL, multiple URLs can be accessed by separating them with |, ie: '/page1.html|/page2.html|/page3.html'. For both POST and PUT, parameters follow the URL and ?, ie: /upload.html?Text test line from ComGen Id \? on \p at \t session \S serial \#6 with the escape dynamically processed identically to Simple Text format. ComGen5 does not support pipelining but waits for a response to each request, which is reported in the result column of the main progress grid. In Setting, General, the 'HTTP User Agent' for the requests may be specified. The request and first response will always be logged, but generally subsequent requests are not logged, see below, just counted.

5 - ComGen5 now include optional log files. The Settings, General tab has a tick box 'Write Log File' and 'Directory' which if completed cause daily log files to be created. 'Log All Connection Attempts' defaults to unticked to reduce the amount of logging with repeated connections and disconnections, so only the first and last are generally logged, but may be ticked for full logging of all attempts.

6 - ComCap5 and ComGen5 now use the new OpenSSL 1.1.0 version with the latest security fixes and features, including ChaCha20-Poly1305 encryption cipher suites, X25519 ecliptic curve for ECDH ciphers and OCB and CCM mode ciphers

7 - Improved error messages when setting up Network channels so that trying to use a target host name instead of an IP address says this only works if Family is set to 'Any'.

New Features 21st July 2016 - 5.0

1 - In ComCap4, one TCP Server channel needs to be created to support each simultaneous remote client, usually with a few spare in case clients do not cleanly disconnect and block a channel. While adequate for a few remote clients, this is very tedious for hundreds of channels. To simplify all this, a new channel type 'TCP Multi Server' has been added which can accept a large number of simultaneous remote clients, all capturing data to the same log file and optionally a database.

2 - Capturing from multiple remote clients to a single channel raises issues of how to identify data from each client, and which remote clients are connected. ComCap can currently add a sequential serial number for each captured record, and a new sequential 'Session Id' has been added, which is incremented for each new remote capture session, when ComCap accepts a new incoming TCP connection or makes an outgoing TCP connection. This Session Id is shown in the Information Log for all activities for all TCP Multi Server remote connections, as follows (cut down a little):

Session 31 [1 of 2] From Address 192.168.1.80:52375, Started at 23-Jul-2016 14:26:36, etc
Session 32 [2 of 2] From Address 192.168.1.83:52376, Started at 23-Jul-2016 14:26:36, etc
Current Remote Client Connections 2, Maximum Clients 2

The above information is logged hourly is so specified in Common Settings, Log Files or when the Status button is clicked.

The Session Id is also supported in Channel Settings, Logging, 'Add Custom Text to Captured Lines' using the escape \S, with a specified number of digits. It can also be added to a database by ticking 'Update Session_Id Column'. The other escape that will identify the remote client is \R for Remote IP Address.

3 - The next ComCap5 beta will add a new window that shows all the current TCP Multi Server remote connections with details data from each and the last line captured, and will allow control over each remote session, such as disconnecting it.

4 - TCP Multi Server channels support Data Loss checking, but only cause disconnection of the remote client rather than restarting the channel. The normal 'Idle TCP Server Close Session Timeout' may also be used, but is only based on a simple timeout, rather than Data Loss which can have different timeouts at night if there is less data.

5 - Most ComCap features work with TCP Multi Server, except 'Remove Printer Control Sequences'. Some have limitations, currently there is no GPS Map display since it would jump around too much tracking multiple vehicles, but this may be improved in a later beta. If Echo is used to forward data to another computer, any received data is ignored. 'Commands to Send upon Start and Stop Capture' are supported for each remote client, but not right click 'Send Data' to send specific data to a remote. Merging and Filtering from TCP Multi Server are not supported.

6 - When a capture log is rotated (updating completed), it may now be zipped to save space. In Channel Settings, Files, 'Archive Capture Log on Rotation' must be ticked and an archive directory specified, then also tick 'Zip Archive Logs' and optionally specify a password with which to encrypt the zip to prevent unauthorised access. Currently this zipping process temporarily blocks ComCap5 displaying more data, but this should be for less than a second unless the file is very large. If this delay becomes a problem, rotate capture logs more often to make them smaller. If the delay becomes a serious problem, zipping will be done using a background thread so capture continues.

7 - Various minor SSL improvements have been made. SSL certificates can now be specified separately for TCP Server capture and TCP Server echo, since these may be using different host names. Likewise, validation of certificates for TCP Client capture and TCP Client Echo can now be specified separately. A new 'SSL Security Level' has been added for TCP Server capture and TCP  Server echo, with three levels: High is TLS/v1.2 only, Medium is TLS/v1 or better, Low is SSL/v3 or TLS/v1 or better. ComCap no longer supports SSL/v2.

8 - In Channel Settings, Data Loss, Check for Data Loss, if 'Send Alert' is ticked, it's now possible to enter a free format 'Alert Message' that will be emailed or sent as SMS, instead of the standard ComCap generated message, which may be more meaningful and useful. Currently the email address and subject are fixed, but these will become configurable in a later beta.

Differences from Comap4 - upgrading guide

A  few settings have moved around to make it easier to configure ComCap5.

1 - SSL for network capture has moved from Channel Settings, Network to Common Settings, Network as a SSL tick box in the network grid.

2 - The Channel Settings, Network tab has been split into Channel Settings, Common and Channel Settings, Echo. Separate SSL server certificates may now be specified for TCP Server capture and TCP Server echo. 'Idle TCP Server Close Session Timeout' has moved from the General to Common tab.

3 - GPS configuration has moved from Channel Settings, General, to Common Settings, Network, Service select GPS, and Common Settings, Serial Ports, GPS tick box.

4 - ComCap5 settings are in new directories and files to allow ComCap4 to co-exist. Configuration settings are now in:

C:\Users\All Users\Magenta-Systems\ComCap5

The actual files are comcap5.config and comcap5.current. It is possible to manually copy the old \ComCap4\comcap.config file to become comcap5.config, and this should copy old settings over, but check the Network and Serial Port grids carefully since these have changed, see above.

5 - ComGen5 settings needed to be specified new, there is no upgrade from ComGen4, sorry.


If you notice any problems with this beta release, please href="../mailer.asp?comcap">email with details of the problem and the date of the beta version you are using.

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