5 Best Network Monitoring Tools

Ethernet cableComputer networks generate massive amount of data both in encrypted and unencrypted form that travels across open and public networks leaving ample room for hackers to prey upon your confidential information in different ways. Fortunately, IT managers and enthusiasts have enough options to monitor their network traffic to detect any suspicious activities with ease. Here's a list of some powerful network monitoring software. Through these applications, you can inspect data packets with ease to find out abnormal traffic flow patterns happening on your network. If you're a network administrator and are experiencing information theft or hacking issues, these applications can become a life saver for you. I often use the applications mentioned below to occasionally monitor the Wi-Fi network of my home. These applications require some understanding of network terminologies and computer science to leverage the powerful features offered by them. So, let's try out these network monitoring applications.

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Mastering some of the tools mentioned below takes some effort but it's definitely worth your time. Once you get hold of these tools, you can easily dissect network data at a microscopic scale.

I'll suggest first trying these tools in a dummy environment before utilizing them for an actual working network system. So, here we go to test these specialized network monitoring applications.

Great white sharkWireshark - When it comes to monitoring and analyzing network data at the low level, Wireshark is the first tool that comes in my mind. It's made for power users and professionals.

Wireshark is both open source and free at the same time. It can be used to analyze both live network traffic and offline network data. It supports hundreds of protocols and has a powerful filtering mechanism to extract the relevant information from a pile of cryptic network data. The network data captured through this tool can be exported in different formats for both archival and offline analysis purposes.

Dashboard interfaceSpiceworks Network Monitor - It is a professional-grade network monitoring software which is ideal for institutions and businesses. It enables you to easily monitor the network inventory and its performance.

Whether it's a router malfunction or one of the LAN cables is behaving strangely, Spiceworks monitors all of them and provides you with immediate alerts about the problems arising in your network. It has the capability to monitor the network in real time and to detect the excessive load if any. Its dashboard and reports are easily understandable with no clutter or noise.

Graph network nodesPRTG Network Monitor - The free edition of this powerful network monitoring software is good enough to take care of a small network. The interface of this software is amazing that makes it very attractive for novice as well as for the seasoned network administrators.

It can also be used to monitor popular cloud storage services. Needless to say, monitoring of a wide range of networking hardware and devices is one of its strengths. It also has the capability to monitor different types of database servers. One of my favorite features of this application is the capability of monitoring website uptime.

Monitoring software dashboardManangeEngine OpManager - No network monitoring tools list can be considered complete without mentioning about OpManager. The free edition supports up to 10 PCs with lifetime functioning including almost all the PRO edition features except the support for the add-ons.

Whether its network monitoring, server performance reports, VoIP monitoring or general network fault management, OpManager gives you enough power and flexibility to do all these tasks, effectively and easily. It can also be used to monitor the performance of all the virtual machines running on a computer.

Network cables behind a serverZabbix - If you're a Linux user, this impressive network monitoring system is going to make you make you happy, right from the very first minute. It's an excellent solution to monitor Linux-powered networks.

Apart from giving network related information, it's also capable of monitoring various health parameters of the server and network nodes. Even if you the network is modified or extended with new devices, it can seamlessly perform the monitoring activity. With support for large number of popular hardware vendors, it requires minimal setup and configuration.