Networks are important for being able to communicate and facilitate business functions. To build a network, network designs but be created, then hardware chosen to fit the requirements. After the set-up is complete, monitoring would then need to be done to ensure that everything is working as intended and that the investment put into the network is creating value. To do this, network monitoring tools are required.
Network monitoring tools provide administrators with the ability to monitor the performance of the network. There are many network monitoring tools with different features such as packet analysers, ping, traffic analysis and SNMP monitoring.
One of the most popular network monitoring tools is SolarWinds Network Performance Monitor. This network monitor can automatically discover devices connected to the network and has an SNMP monitoring feature. It can create network maps using its NetPath feature, allowing administrators to trace packet transfers within the network, hop by hop, allowing them to trace the origin of problems more effectively.
Nagios Core is another popular network monitoring tool, Nagios Core has a more user-friendly colour-coded user interface that allows administrators to monitor hosts statuses and service statuses. One of Nagios Core’s more appealing features its ability to create and use external plugins in the form of executable files and shell scripts. These community-made plugins can make Nagios Core even easier to use and increase network monitoring capabilities.
Another commonly used network monitor is Zabbix. Zabbix supports SNMP and IPMP to monitor networks and features network monitoring templates that make the GUI simple and clean to manage. Zabbix also features a community-made template site that allows administrators to use pre-made templates to customise and enhance Zabbix’ capabilities.
Wireshark is an extremely common packet analyser used by administrators to capture packets and display them graphically. Wireshark is capable of filtering, grouping and analysing packets effectively. It can filter packets captured based on a variety of variables such as packet type, source address, destination address. The versatility of Wireshark allows it to capture and study packets for almost every protocol, giving administrators a powerful tool to monitor their network.
Nmap is a powerful network monitoring tool however, it is less user-friendly than other previously mentioned network monitoring tools. Nmap uses a command-line interface that may make it more complicated to use however, it is capable of scanning entire networks and mapping them. Nmap is used to gather information about machines such as their operating system, services, ports and MAC addresses.
Network monitoring tools are powerful and are great to have in a network administrators arsenal to administer and protect their networks. Combining networks tools can allow administrators the ability to be aware of everything in their network and make sure they can manage the devices under their care.