10 Best Network Monitoring Tools

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10 Best Network Monitoring Tools

Aashiya Mittal
Last updated on October 6, 2022

    Today, most companies rely on networks for managing their work. As the business grows, the use of the network will also increase; thus, there is a need to monitor the network and its activities closely to ensure that the same is working efficiently despite the increasing workloads.

    You might come across several network monitoring tools in the market that will allow you to closely monitor and check the performance of your network for various ongoing activities. The work, however, is not only limited to the monitoring of the network. The tool should also cover server monitoring and system monitoring. Well, you can find various solutions that will fit best in the scenario.

    In this article, we will be focusing on those solutions that will help companies to monitor their overall system health, activities, and other running processes from a single point. But before we move to those solutions, we must understand the criteria for selecting the right network monitoring tool or software for the organization.

    Key Factors to Consider While Choosing the Right Network Monitoring Tool

    There is a wide range of network monitoring tools available in the market but choosing the right one that will cover all the necessary aspects of your business is important. Down below, we have mentioned some of the important factors that can be taken into consideration for choosing the right network monitoring tool for your business:

    • The network management software should provide an auto-discovery system for logging all network devices.
    • It should provide you with the facility of a network topology mapper.
    • It should allow you to gather the live network device statuses with the help of SNMP .
    • The tool should provide the facility to analyze network performance periodically.
    • It must be able to provide you with an accurate graphical interpretation of data in the form of charts and graphs.
    • The network monitoring software should provide a cost-effective solution for monitoring networks and connected devices for small-scale enterprise companies.
    • It should be affordable, reflecting a high value for money as compared to other available alternatives in the market.

    Now, we will get started with the list of the best available network monitoring tools in the market.

    Best Network Monitoring Tools

    1. SolarWinds Network Performance Monitor

    SolarWinds Network Performance Monitor is a simple network monitoring tool with a steep learning curve. This tool will help you to monitor the status of the available drives on the network using the SNMP. It allows the users and IT teams to detect the devices that are connected to your network automatically.

    The network management software comes with an interactive UI that will allow the users to check the performance of the connected devices. You can even see all the devices, services, or applications on the network topology map to see their connections. It provides you with the NetPath feature, allowing you to trace the packet transfer within the network, which will help in diagnosing the performance of the network issues more efficiently.

    SolarWinds Network Performance Monitor has a customized alert system that will allow the users to set a trigger for a specific condition. If the trigger conditions are met, then the system will generate an alert that will be sent to the IT team to resolve the particular issue. It is one of the widely-used network monitoring tools due to its extensive range of features.

    Pricing for the tool starts from $2,995, and it comes with a 30-day free trial.

    Pros:

    • Designed especially for large and enterprise networks.
    • It comes with the facility of auto-discovery that will help in building the network topology maps and inventory lists for the devices that enter the network in real-time.
    • It offers one of the best alerting features that helps in generating efficient alerts that are easy to understand for debugging purposes.
    • Features support for both SNMP monitoring as well as packet analysis, which will give you more control over monitoring than other tools.
    • It comes with the amazing feature of drag and drops widgets, allowing you to customize the look and feel of the dashboard.
    • You will even get the easy reporting system along with the pre-configured compliance templates.

    Cons:

    • As this tool offers a wide range of features, sometimes small LANs might find it overwhelming for their usage.

    2. Datadog Network Performance Monitoring

    It is one of the commonly used network monitoring tools enabling users to analyze the traffic flow within the network. It focuses mainly on monitoring the status of all the devices, such as switches and routers. This network monitor tool not only monitors the network performance for various sites but also analyzes the cloud resources.

    As a SaaS package, it contains the processor that will run the monitoring software and has storage that will gather the statistics. It helps you in getting live status, capturing packets, and analyzing utilities. The first step in the process of this tool is to explore the complete network for identifying the existing and newly connected devices.

    This type of network discovery will lead to the creation of the device inventory that will create an index for the monitoring service. Then you can use the dashboard to get the updates and status of all the devices on the network. You will also get the network topology map for understanding the device's connection. This map is clickable that will allow you to check the device statistics and performance.

    The process of network exploration is recursive, allowing you to automatically spot if there is any change in the network, such as adding or removing a device. This will automatically change the device inventory accordingly without any manual intervention. You can also check the total capacity and utilization of each device on the network using the traffic flow analysis via the dashboard.

    Apart from this, you can even store the historical analysis that will help examine the traffic volumes. You can add more functionalities by integrating the DataDog network performance monitoring services and other DataDog services, such as network device monitoring systems and DataDog APM . It comes with a 14-day free trial.

    Pros

    • It is considered to be having one of the most intuitive interfaces among the network monitoring tools available.
    • It is a cloud-based SaaS monitoring tool that will help you to analyze the network without imposing any costs of deploying and onboarding servers.
    • Allows monitoring of the complete network by providing network admins with an in-depth insight into network performance and accessibility.
    • It comes with the support of auto-discovery, which will help in creating a network topology map.
    • It will allow you to make desired changes to the network that will get reflected in near real-time.
    • Helps businesses to scale their monitoring efforts through its flexible pricing options.

    Cons

    • It offers a small trial period that is not enough for more advanced testing.

    3. ManageEngine OpManager

    It is an all-rounder network monitoring solution that ensures efficient monitoring of the performance of the network devices, connected servers, routers, and other devices in real time. It has a customizable dashboard that will provide a wide range of 200 widgets to ensure a comprehensive network monitoring experience.

    With the help of SNMP monitoring, you will get updated information on the device’s performance within the network. Also, you will get enhanced visibility with the help of the network mapping feature for automatically discovering and mapping the new devices on the network.

    ManageEngine OpManager allows you to schedule the network discovery process that will inform you about the newly added devices to the network. The network monitoring software comes with an alert system that will immediately respond whenever there is a change in the performance of the network. This tool is preferred for companies having a simple network infrastructure.

    The pricing starts with $245 for supporting up to 1,000 devices and $11,545 for supporting up to 10,000 devices on the network. You can also leverage its 30-day free trial.

    Pros

    • It is specially designed to offer over 200 customizable widgets for providing unique dashboards and reports.
    • Offers facilities like autodiscovery to finding, keeping an inventory, and mapping new devices.
    • It comes with an intelligent alerting system that reduces the chance of false positives.
    • Features the support for sending notifications for critical situations via email, SMS, and other alerting channels.

    Cons

    • As it is a feature-rich tool, you need to invest time to learn and understand it.

    4. Site24x7 Network Monitoring

    This tool covers the overall IT infrastructure and supports the execution of several applications. The tool will automatically detect the newly added devices on the network. Site24X7 Network Monitoring will automatically create an inventory based on the results and help create a network topology map. The inventory and the map will get automatically updated whenever a device is added or deleted from the network. The auto-discovery feature is based on the SNMP, which is required to get the status details from the available agent software onto every switch.

    The network monitoring tool will also generate alerts for critical conditions, and this message will get converted into a warning by its dashboard, which will depend on the severity of the situation. It also offers a user behavior module that will be useful for the business running its websites. The network management software also provides real user monitoring to help analyze the typical buyer journey.

    The tool is available for free and is limited to the monitoring of five websites or servers. Apart from this, you can avail of its four other paid editions that can be customized as per the business requirements. The paid versions are available for a 30-day free trial.

    Pros

    • It uses real-time data for discovering the devices and then builds charts, network maps, and inventory reports depending on the collected data.
    • It offers user monitoring that will bridge the gap between technical issues, user behavior, and generating business metrics.
    • The tool provides a free version for testing purposes.

    Cons

    • As it is a very detailed networking tool with a wide range of feature sets, it will require you to invest some time to get along with the tool and understand all of its features and available options.

    5. Paessler PRTG Network Monitor

    It is one of the freely available network monitoring tools that work using concepts of the SNMP, packet sniffing, and WMI that is required for monitoring the devices on the network. You can use its scan network segment, which will help you to discover and add the required devices to the network. You will be able to choose the range of sensors for monitoring the various network segments.

    Each sensor will be capable of monitoring an individual value within the network, such as SNMP sensors, VoIP, and QoS sensors. Paessler PRTG Network Monitor comes with a customizable dashboard that will allow you to create real-time network maps for your network infrastructure. It allows you to create maps with its drag-and-drop feature with the help of more than 300 map objects.

    You can create customized maps using HTML. It offers you a threshold-based alert system, keeping you updated whenever the status of the sensor changes or if the threshold value is breached. The tool provides you with alerts in the form of SMS, emails, slack messages, and others. It is suitable for companies looking for cost-effective monitoring solutions. With its free plan, you can use up to 100 sensors, and after that, you need to pay.

    The paid version starts at $1,600 that is available for 500 sensors and 1 server installation. You can also leverage its 30-day free trial.

    Pros

    • It offers features like packet sniffing, WMI, and SNMP for creating a report for network performance data.
    • The tool comes with a customizable dashboard that is suitable for both administrators as well as NOC teams.
    • It provides you with a drag-and-drop editor that helps in creating customized views and reports.
    • Comes with a wide range of alert sending methods, such as SMS, and email, along with third-party integrations of famous platforms like Slack.
    • It uses multiple sensors that are specifically designed for monitoring a specific application. For example, some prebuilt sensors will help in capturing and monitoring VoIP activity.

    Cons

    • The tool comes with a wide range of features that require you to invest much time in learning and to understand the concepts.
    • You cannot customize the dashboard easily.

    6. Nagios Core

    This tool is available as an open-source tool that provides a web interface for monitoring the performance of the network. Nagios Core is among the best free network tools. It allows you to monitor the current network status. Also, it provides you with an alert system that will track the performance of the events and will send notifications via email or SMS.

    You can view the alert history section for checking which alert was created for which event in the past. It makes the alerts color-coded based on the severity of the alerts, which helps the team to prioritize the alerts.

    Moreover, you can integrate other network services using APIs. To add more functionalities, you can add the freely available plugins on the Nagios Exchange . For example, you can use the available check SNMP CPU load plugin that will allow you to monitor the SNMP load or the CPU load usage for your network. Nagios core is available for free and will require some manual work to set it up.

    Pros

    • It is one of the best open-source and free network monitoring software.
    • It comes with a simple but informative interface.
    • Provides you with flexible alerting options with the support of SMS and email.
    • You will also get to use its robust API backend, which is commonly used by developers for integrating their custom applications.

    Cons

    • Lacks quality support for its paid products.
    • The installation of this tool can be technical and complex, thus requiring some technical knowledge of the computer.

    7. Zabbix

    Zabbix is another available open-source monitoring tool that will combine the network, server, cloud, application, and other available services for monitoring the network. This tool uses SNMP and IPMP for monitoring the network. It comes with the auto-discovery feature that will automatically detect the devices on the network.

    Apart from this, it will also detect the configuration changes automatically, allowing you to know if there has been any update in the network device. The tool features network monitoring templates that will help to configure the monitoring program easily. It has some pre-configured templates for companies like Cisco, HP, Dell, and others.

    You can even avail a wide range of templates that are available on the Zabbix community site. Also, it comes with a notification system that will alert you of changes within the network via email, SMS, messenger, etc. You can customize the message's content per the recipient’s request. You can get this software for free.

    Pros

    • It is one of the available open-source and transparent network monitoring tools.
    • You can use both SNMP and IPMP to enhance the monitoring range.
    • It allows you to automatically detect the addition of new devices on the network and change configurations.
    • You will get to use its wide range of amazing templates for getting quick network insights.
    • It ensures that you will get clear and accurate notifications via various modes, such as SMS, email, and custom script.

    Cons

    • It does not provide you with an interactive and intuitive interface as compared to other solutions such as DataDog or Site24x7.
    • It must include some of the better features, such as alerting features for reducing false positives.

    8. Progress WhatsUp Gold

    It is a simple network monitoring tool that uses SNMP for checking the health of network devices. It comes with an auto-discovery module that will automatically detect the network change and send an alert that will notify you about the change. Also, the system will automatically make the required changes to the network inventory whenever there is an addition, deletion, or updating of the devices on the network.

    Progress WhatsUp Gold also offers you a network topology mapper that works on the network inventory data for creating network maps. The maps will also get changes as per the change in the network inventory.

    Pricing for the network monitor tool will depend on the number of servers, applications, and devices available on the network. It offers two plans; WhatsUp Gold Premium (network performance monitor) and WhatsUp Gold TotalPlus (features network traffic analysis, virtualization monitoring, application performance monitoring, etc.).

    Pros

    • Uses simple visualizations for providing in-depth insights into the network.
    • This tool comes with the support for modular pricing that will help enterprises to pay only for the used features.
    • It will also help you to monitor LANs, WANs, and cloud-based applications.

    Cons

    • You can use this monitoring tool only for Windows Server.
    • It does not support modular upgrades as it might not be a good fit for utilizing every aspect of a networking monitor.

    9. Icinga

    It is a commonly used open-source network monitoring tool that lets you check the overall performance of the network, cloud service, running applications, and other connected devices that are connected to the network. Icinga is a web-based software that can be efficiently configured and accessed via GUI or using a domain-specific language.

    You need to log into the GUI and then the dashboard to monitor the performance of the network. The dashboard uses the color code to show if there is any issue or unavailability of the devices on the network depending on the severity. If there is any critical or down device on the network, it will be marked in red.

    You can use various modules to add more features to the free network monitoring software. For example, Icinga for vSphere helps you to monitor the VMs and the host systems. Overall it is a scalable solution and allows you to control the management of the working environment. Also, you can use this software on various platforms, including many popular Linux distributions - such as Debian, SUSE, Ubuntu, Fedora, OpenSUSE - and Windows.

    Pros

    • You can configure this tool via GUI or DSL, and it is suitable for admins who like to work with CLI tools.
    • It comes with support for built-in visual reporting.
    • You can avail of a wide range of modules that will allow you to add different functionality while keeping the base installation simple and lightweight.

    Cons

    • You need to rely on the open-source community to get the latest updates on the tool.
    • It is suitable for technical users.

    10. Spiceworks Connectivity Dashboard

    It is a free network monitoring software that allows you to access the dashboard via a web-based GUI and allows you to monitor the availability of the devices on the network in real time. Spiceworks Connectivity Dashboard allows you to integrate with Spiceworks inventory and cloud help desk for monitoring your network inventory effectively.

    It allows you to monitor the IP address, OS, MAC address, and other information. It provides you with an alert system that will send alerts whenever there are changes in the network via email, but it does not allow you to customize alerts.

    Spiceworks Connectivity Dashboard is suitable for small companies who are looking for cost-effective solutions. It is a simple software that is easy to use and is available to an active community. You can download this software for free.

    Pros

    • It features a web-based dashboard allowing you to access it virtually from anywhere.
    • You can integrate this software into other Spiceworks tools, such as Spiceworks Inventory and Cloud Desk.
    • It has a default alerting system allowing the users to get actionable insights immediately.

    Cons

    • It has a crowded interface, specifically around the home dashboard.
    • It does not provide many alerting features.
    • You cannot integrate this tool with other solutions that are available outside of the Spiceworks ecosystem.

    Conclusion

    Most IT companies focus on combining all server functions, application storage, and network management as they are all independent of each other and ensure the successful delivery of high-end products. Only good network monitoring tools can cover all these elements. A network monitoring tool can be a small utility but comes with a wide range of features that help you around the complete company infrastructure to keep track of its performance.

    Thus, to keep track of the performance of all the devices available on the network and the network itself, you will require an all-rounder network monitoring tool that will solve all your purposes from a single interface.

    We have summed up some of the commonly used network monitoring tools and software that will provide you with a complete insight into your network and notify you of the required changes in the network topology. You can choose any tool or software from the above-mentioned list per your business requirements and integrate it within your organization for optimal results.

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