This is a part of network management that involves the constant monitoring (i.e. all day long) of a computer network to check for poor servers, its availability and uptime, user activities, network connections and generally any other thing using some parameters like response time, etc.
Network monitoring tools can help you identify specific activities and performance metrics, whose results can be used by your business for diverse purposes which could be stopping internal security threats, meeting compliance requirements, etc. Network monitoring tools can measure both wireless and wired networks, virtual private networks (VPN), local area networks (LAN) and wide area networks (WAN). Network monitoring tools have also been in-built in some mobile operating systems like Android. This feature is called DATA USAGE in android and can be accessed either from the phone settings or from the notification bar on the top of the android screen. The screenshot below is from an android data usage monitor.
Why is it important to monitor networks?
There are many arguments for and against the importance of monitoring network performance, but it is ideal for a firm to monitor its network as the data gotten from network monitoring can be used in
#1 proper planning on how to run the firm in future.
#2 it helps a firm to know whether services provided meet a certain standard, from which its availability can be ensured and problems pinpointed.
#3 it can be used for further analysis of how people use the internet, the most used device on the internet and for other statistical data analysis,
Network monitors can take proper account of different data depending on what you want it to measure.
It can measure the following:
#1 the number of different mobile and pc operating systems that access the network, like the number of android Smartphone or the number of Macintosh pc that access the network.
#2 the internet protocols (IP) of different devices that access a network.
#3 locations of these devices.
Network monitoring tools, there usages and other information you need to know about them.
There are so many network monitoring tools out there on the web. Some are open source while some are purchased. To maximally utilize any of them, it is advisable to research more on them and know there applications and the way they work, this will ensure that you don’t apply them where they don’t function well, i.e. to avoid misapplication. Below are some network monitoring tools:
This is a powerful windows application that runs in the background and tells you all the information you will need regarding the status of a wireless network, you can check and retrieve the statuses of all wireless networks within an area like their SSID, signal strength, etc.
this is an open source software and most importantly, one of the best open source software with which you can monitor your entire IT infrastructure, spot problems before they occur, know immediately when problems arises, share data with stakeholders, detect security breaches, reduce your downtime and business losses, etc. I recommend this application for your business because it is just awesome.
this is a Mac- only app which shows the information related with data exchange done by the apps installed on a system. This is real-time data and it shows when and where the data is being sent and received from. This is a must-have for those who are curious about how internet apps behave and work on their system.
Opsview network monitor:
allows you to correlate data from a wide variety of network devices and applications. With its analyzer, you can track data flows and identify spots of device overloads or spots where devices are underutilized. It is easy to use and gives you deep visibility into your entire network infrastructure. It is ideal for monitoring both few and many devices ranging from one to about 20,000 devices. The benefits of using this tool include:
I One can analyze which devices are transmitting or receiving the highest traffic,
II Proper data visualization
III Logical and functional maps which is a feature it has, gives quick reference to network configuration
IV View a summary of network traffic by devices which could be smartphones, routers, switches or PCs.
is a free and open source enterprise grade network monitoring and network management system. Its goal is to be a truly distributed, scalable management application platform for all. It is capable of monitoring tens of thousands of networks and devices from a single instance. Support services are also given by the OpenNMS user community.
This is a small utility that runs in the background, and monitor the activity of wireless networks around you. For each detected network, it displays information about it such as its SSID, last signal quality, average signal quality, authentication algorithm, etc. It is a freeware and can be redistributed in any format as long as you don’t charge anybody for doing so.
is a network analyser that allows you to monitor network traffic, troubleshoot network issues and analyse packets. It provides users with great experience to learn how to monitor network activities, pinpoint network problems, and enhance network security and so on. It is a free software that can be used by anybody for non commercial purposes.
Microsoft Message Analyser:
This enables you to capture, display and analyse protocol messaging traffic, and to trace and access system events and other messages from windows components. It is a successor to Microsoft network monitor and enables you to display, trace, log and other message data in numerous data viewer formats including, a default free grid view and other selectable graphical views that employ grids, charts, and timeline visualizer component to provide high-level data summaries and other statistics.
Spicework network monitor:
This software is 100% free and it keeps an eye on your important infrastructure including servers, switches, SNMP devices, services, and more. It sends you an alert on any sign of troubles like, on sluggish systems or overwhelmed systems and devices long before they crash or users start calling. It can also track bandwidth usage and saturation down to the port level, checks for packet loss and alerts you if any critical port goes offline. It is absolutely free and you get unlimited supports from IT pros who you can call on anytime you encounter any problem
This software can monitor everything: infrastructure, applications (can monitor applications such as oracle, exchange, VMware, MySQL, WebLogic, DB2, SAP, etc), services (servers from hardware to operating system, low level monitoring and endless features based on their exclusive agent technology), and business progress (with their business activity monitoring, they can integrate your business activities to real time monitoring)
this is a network observation and monitoring system which collects data from devices using SNMP. It was developed by Adams Armstrong and has both a professional version and a community version. It was developed to supplement other network monitoring tools like Nagios and Cacti. It is actively developed and maintained by a team of developers. It was written in php programming language and MySQL. It supports many operating systems like Linux, Cisco, HP, DELL, Windows and many more.
Angry IP scanner:
is a very fast IP address and port scanner that can scan IP addresses in any range as well as any ports. It can be freely copied and used anywhere. It just pings any IP to know if it is alive and optionally resolves its hostname, determines the MAC address, scans ports, etc. It can also get additional details about a network such as computer name, workgroup name, etc and these information can be exported in so many formats like, CSV, txt, xml, etc.
This is an application by Mikrotik which can dramatically improve the way you manage your network environment. It automatically scans all devices within specified subnets, draw and layout a map of your networks, monitors services of all your devices and alerts you in case it detects any problem. It is absolutely free.
Total network monitor:
Total network monitor is a free network monitoring software that can help admins monitor servers, network devices and individual processes or services in details. For servers, you can either set single monitor or multiple monitor and perform actions such as sending mails, executing scripts and restarting services.
Xymon monitors your hosts, your network services, and anything else you configured it to do via extensions. It records the history of all monitored networks and these results can be viewed anytime. It alerts the operator through emails, SMS or pager alerts if it detects any problem so that he or she can respond quickly to the area.