Best Network Monitoring Tools in 2019
Network Monitoring Software range in complexity from packet sniffing tools through to full network admin systems. The biggest challenged when managing a network performance are:
- Keep track of facility utilization, ensuring a balanced load distribution.
- to monitor and ensure all equipment is operational
Network monitoring tools keep you informed in real time so that you can resolve problems early on before they impact performance.
To avoid vendor lock and device compatibility it is important to check that the monitoring system and tools that you buy are compatible with all of the networking equipment you already have. Getting a network monitor that also supports wireless networks and that can also include your wifi router is also a good option to look out for.
This guide will list the modern monitoring tools that cover the whole spectrum of requirements, not just enterprise solutions. When looking at the available network monitoring tools, you should have the following in mind.
- Visualization — you need the monitor to show you the status of the overall network at a glance
- Alerts — the monitor should incorporate a feedback system to highlight failures and stress
- Customizations — the system should allow you to write your own scripts to automate reporting
- Multi-vendor compatibility — the monitoring system should be able to communicate with all your existing equipment.
- Analysis tools — you sometimes need to be able to explore the network, right down to the packets
With these checklist in mind, below is a list of the 9 best modern network monitoring tools in the market today.
1. Solarwinds Network Perfromance Monitor
SolarWinds is an industry leader when it comes to Network Performance Monitoring tools, its network performance monitor software is easy to setup and can be ready in no time. The tool automatically discovers network devices and deploys within an hour. Its simple approach to oversee an entire network makes it one of the easiest to use and most intuitive user interfaces in our list of network monitoring tools.
This tool is highly customizable and the web interface is very easy to manage and change very quickly. You can customize the performance dashboards, data visualization charts, and views. You can design a tailored topology for your entire network infrastructure. You can also create customized dependency-aware intelligent alerts and much more.
- Features Overview
- Multi-vendor network monitoring
- Advanced alerting
- Critical path visualization with NetPath
- PerfStack performance analysis dashboard
- Complex device monitoring with Network Insights™
- Auto-generating intelligent maps
- SDN monitoring with Cisco ACI support
- Wireless network monitoring and management
- Network performance baselines
- Smarter scalability for robust networks
2. PRTG Network Monitor
Known for its advanced infrastructure management capabilities PRTG Network Monitor ensures all devices, systems, traffic, and applications in your network can be easily displayed in a hierarchical view that summarizes performance and alerts. PRTG monitors IT infrastructure using technology such as SNMP, WMI, SSH, Flows/Packet Sniffing, HTTP requests, REST APIs, Pings, SQL and a lot more.
It is one of the best choices for organizations with low experience and a low budget or manpower in network monitoring. The user interface is really powerful and very easy to use.
A very particular feature of PRTG is its ability to monitor devices in the data center via a mobile app. A QR code that corresponds to the sensor is printed out and attached to the physical hardware. The mobile app is used to scan the code and a summary of the device is displayed on the mobile screen.
3. Nagios Core and Nagios xi
Open source tools are great, but they have their downsides. Nagios manages open-source network monitoring software, which is completely free to use. The interface for this free system, which is called Nagios Core, is not very comprehensive. You get a basic web interface with the main download, and then you can search through the Nagios Core community pages to look for plugins and skins that other users have developed for themselves and are willing to share.
The Nagios Core system is a great option if you have no budget for LAN monitoring tools and you are prepared to compromise on data presentation and the user interface. There is a free version of Nagios XI that is free with limitations — you can only use it to monitor seven nodes. However, this offer, together with two grades of paid usage, means that Nagios XI is suitable for all sizes of network.
4. ManageEngine Opmanager
ManageEngines’ OpManager provides comprehensive network monitoring capabilities and helps you with performance visibility across your entire network. This tool helps you monitor you network performance in real-time and gain control over your network with proactive fault detection. It helps you ensure business continuity by maintaining high availability and supports multi-vendor
OpManager also scales to fit your network without compromising on reliability.
- Real-time network monitoring
- Physical and virtual server monitoring
- Threshold-based monitoring
- Customizable dashboards
- LAN and WAN monitoring
- Easy to setup and affordable
5. Pandora NMS
A Pandora Network Management System installation begins with an entire network sweep that enables the system to map your topology. The network map is just one of the graphics contained in the dashboard that helps you keep track of the system at a glance.
The monitoring functions of Pandora is based on SNMP procedures. Your central network manager node will poll the system constantly to keep track of device statuses. Standard SNMP alerts report critical conditions as they arise without waiting for a status request from the network manager. The Pandora engine is able to communicate with devices using SNMPv1, v2c, and v3.
The Pandora package doesn’t just cover real time network monitoring. The wider system, called Pandora FMS, includes address management as well with a built-in IPAM. The IP address manager can operate with both IPv4 and IPv6 addresses.
A third element of Pandora FMS is its configuration management system, which can keep track of your company’s software patch status and detect rogue software on the system.
Whether this combination would be of interest to your depends on if you already have a DDI suite and configuration management system with which you are happy. However, if you are looking for an entirely new networking toolkit, this option could work out well for you.
Zabbix is an open source network monitoring tool. Its popularity lies on the fact that it’s easy-to-use and has a pleasing Web user interface that is fully configurable and customizable. This tool focuses on monitoring and trending functionality. Zabbix is frequently used for monitoring servers and network hardware. One of is highlights is that it can predict trends in your traffic. Zabbix can forecast future behavior based on historical data.
Due to its open source nature, Zabbix has an active user community spread around the world and excellent documentation. This gives you the freedom to use the open-source solution without vendor lock-ins (including all components).
This tool is powerful for SMB networks below 1,000 nodes. Over that, the software can be significantly decreased. Another downside is that it doesn’t include real-time tests and reports.
Inciga another open source infrastructure and service monitoring tool is from the same team of developers that brought you Nagios.
It is a very easy to use and flexible tool for SMB and enterprise networks. The software focuses strongly on monitoring infrastructure and services. The tool also includes great threshold analysis and report/alert functionalities.
Icinga is popular at providing superior alters and reports of the general health of your IT infrastructure. All alert dependencies can be displayed in the dashboard and sent via email, SMS or mobile message applications.
Since Icinga is open source it is completely free. With its strong community forum, you can get all support you need.
Specially designed for hybrid cloud environments. Datadog can also monitor the performance of network, apps, tools, and services.
One of the highlights of Datadog is that it can provide extensibility though many APIs (Application Programming Interfaces) with very good documentation.
The software is very easy to install and can be up and running in on time. To make it easy, agents can download and install the software. The agents are available for all major platforms.
You can create custom graphs, metrics, and alerts in an instant, and the software can adjust them dynamically based on different conditions.
Zenoss Core is an open source network monitoring system that you can install for free. There are two paid versions of this real time network monitoring and analyzing software. It is available in two options an onsite version called Zenoss Service Dynamics and a managed cloud-based service, called Zenoss-as-a-service.
Whichever option you go for, you will get an auto-discovery module. This automatically maps your network topology and logs all of the devices connected to the system. This network management software allows you up to 1,000 network devices for the free plan but the number of devices you can have is unlimited when you subscribe for the paid plan..
This tool does not limit itself to standard network equipment, terminals and printers. It will also monitor power supplies, server racks, ports, fans, and fabric cards.
The network monitoring system is SNMP based. This is a good thing because it means that you get automatic compatibility with all new equipment currently manufactured with network connectors. SNMP alerts provide device failure notification that feeds directly into the dashboard. Traffic flows around the network are monitored by NetFlow.
Whether you opt for the onsite system or the cloud-based version of Zenoss’s LAN monitoring service, the dashboard is web-based, which means that is can be accessed from any GUI operating system. You can extend the capabilities of Zenoss to cover multiple sites and institute remote monitoring by installing collectors on each site.
The standard monitoring software can be expanded by ZenPacks add-ons. These are notification add-ons that cater to specific hardware produced by a range of well-known equipment manufacturers. You don’t need to install all of the available ZenPacks. However, knowledge of the existence of a ZenPack for a specific device will make it easier to buy in new equipment for your multi-vendor environment.
All flavors of the Zenoss network monitoring software include server and storage monitoring functions and they all also include IP address management functions.