In the complicated world of network management software, the difficulty is not in finding network monitoring tools, but rather deciding which network monitoring tools work best for your particular situation. Do you have a small network or a large business intranet? The choices are varied and well worth looking into.
Actual software packages can be best viewed as toolboxes; each with its own set of network monitoring tools which you can utilize to best fit your network. Just like a mechanic uses a different toolbox than a computer technician, one network would use a different toolbox than another.
One of the simplest network monitoring tools is also free and included with Windows: Ping. Ping is used to test networks for IP addresses. To use ping, one would open the command prompt and type “ping [IP address]”. If the IP address existed on the network, the Ping program would make contact with it.
Software packages you would buy, such as ActiveWorx or Netmon, would include several much more advanced and useful network monitoring tools. One such tool is the ability most network monitoring software has to catalogue all of the devices (such as computers or printers) attached to a given network.
Many software packages also include something called a “packet sniffer” – which can be put to a number of uses. It can, for example, check the network for corrupt data, which could prevent a network failure. It could also check for illegal web traffic (such as restricted sites or downloading) on your network.
One thing that is generally not included in the standard packages of network monitoring tools is an antivirus feature. You would have to find an antivirus program such as Norton or AVG to work on top of your network monitoring package.