Network Instruments® teamed
up with electronics and engineering powerhouse Siemens
to co-develop an extension module for Observer to decode
and analyze the interaction procedures for medical/technical
equipment that utilizes DICOM (Digital Imaging Communications
in Medicine standard).
The DICOM standard is a specification for packet structure,
as well as a communication definition for exchanging
data between medical equipment. DICOM relies on industry
standard network connections (TCP/IP) and, because of
this reliance, is an efficient method for communicating
digital images from diagnostic devices to display systems.
DICOM is used for CT and MR, including nuclear medicine,
ultrasound, computed radiography, digitized film, video,
capture, HIS/RIS information, and connections between
networked hardcopy output devices.
The development of a decoder module for a protocol
analyzer based on a standard Microsoft platform (PC
or notebook) addresses the need technicians have to
carry an affordable, portable DICOM diagnostic tool.
Observer’s easy to use interface combined with added
DICOM decoding capabilities provides a quick and efficient
troubleshooting tool, which technicians can utilize
to pinpoint malfunctions in networked medical environments.
Networks commonly have problems and/or configuration
issues that can cause downtime, some of which may be
DICOM-related problems. For example, new network installations
or network additions in such environments often produce
system malfunctions and hardware mismatches. These malfunctions
can be due to ongoing network traffic problems or even
incompatible systems from different vendors causing
communication failures. Observer DICOM provides the
technician or administrator with visibility into both
general (network) and specific (DICOM) communications
to quickly identify problems and speed troubleshooting–maximizing
DICOM protocol decode and packet view is shown in three
1. PDUs of DICOM Upper Layer Protocol: Observer’s
packet summary window shows
captured PDUs of DICOM Upper Layer Protocol in order
of appearance. Selected
PDUs can then be decoded and displayed.
2. DICOM Messages: Command and data messages are sorted,
messages are decoded and displayed. Because the raw
data and decodes are
displayed simultaneously, they can be compared line-by-line.
3. Raw Data TCP Packets: The DICOM data within the
TCP packets is displayed in
DICOM Upper Layer, command and data are decoded. Decode
of private data elements is also possible through a
user-defined text file.
Type check of single data elements.
Observer DICOM is licensed for one PC (or one notebook)
on one LAN at one site. If Observer DICOM is to be loaded
on additional PCs or laptops, a separate license is
required for each device.