A Network Monitoring Software is a general phrase for software that is designed to help set up, manage, and/or monitor computer networks. Networking monitoring software applications are available to manage and monitor networks from the smallest home networks to the largest enterprise networks. It is a foundational element for any network. It helps network administrators deploy, manage and monitor a network. A common network include specialized hardwares, such as routers and switches, that bundle the networking software into the solution. The new software-defined networking (SDN) separates the software from the hardware, making it easier for innovation and to adapt the network to quickly meet changing network demands.
The 10 free network monitoring software includes:
1. Microsoft Network Monitor
Microsoft Network Monitor allows to capture, view and analyze network traffic that is very useful in troubleshooting network problems and applications on the network. It supports protocols like capture, display, analyze , events, and other system or application messages in troubleshooting and diagnostic scenarios. It is a powerful in capturing and analyzing protocol messages. It also allows us to load, aggregate, and analyze data from a log and saved trace files.
OpenNMS is a open source freeware. It is one of the best monitoring software available in 2019. It offers event and notification management, data collection, service monitoring, and, discovery and provisioning. It also supports path outage and automatic acknowledgment of self-clearing problems. A client app for the iOS in OpenNMS gives us the ability to view outages, nodes, alarms.
3. Advanced IP Scanner
Advance IP Scanner is a reliable network scanner to analyze LAN that exports the scan results to CSV. It is a good tool for network monitoring for free that doesn’t require installation. The software shows all network devices. It gives you access to shared folders and provide remote control of computers. It can also remotely switch the computers off.
4. NAGIOS CORE
Nagios Core is a free network monitoring software that serves as the basic event scheduler, event processor, and alert manager for elements that are monitored. It monitors applications, services, operating systems, network protocols, system metrics and infrastructure components with a single tool. It reflects trending and capacity planning add-ons to ensure they are aware of aging infrastructure. It has escalation capability that make sure the alert notifications reach to the right people.
Cacti enables collecting data from nearly any network element, including routing and switching systems, firewalls, load balancers, and servers, and put that data into robust graphs. It contains a “data input” mechanism which allows you to define custom scripts that can be used to gather data. It enables you to get the tree view which allows users to create “graph hierarchies” and place graphs on the tree making it easy to organize a large number of graphs. It has user-based management which allows the administrators to create users and assign different levels of permissions to the cacti interface.
Wireshark is one of the best free network monitoring software which allows us to keep an eye on what is happening on the network at microscopic levels.It provides deep inspection of protocols, with more protocols being added each time. It operates on different operating systems including Windows, Linux, OS X, Solaris, FreeBSD, NetBSD and more. It provides Decryption support for many protocols, including IPsec, ISAKMP, Kerberos, SNMPv3, SSL/TLS, WEP, and WPA/WPA2
Zabbix is an open-source free network monitoring sofware which which enables us to monitor millions of metrics collected from tens of thousands of servers, virtual machines and network devices at real-time. Though, it is very difficult to setup but very easy to manage due to its clear and clutter-free interface. It supports a number of databases, including MySQL, PostgreSQL, SQLite, Oracle, and IBM DB2. Zabbix monitoring capabilities allow us to customize using any scripting or programming language.
8. Capsa Free
Capsa Free as one of the best network monitoring software is a network analyzer that allows you to monitor network traffic, troubleshoot network issues and analyze packets. It provides support for over 300 network protocols (with the ability to create and customize protocols), which makes it easy for the admin to keep an eye on every network activity. It accurately detects Worm activity, ARP attack, DoS (DDoS) attack, TCP port scanning and suspicious conversation and locates the source and target in real-time. It captures all network packets transmitted on the network and displays detailed packet decoding information in Hex, ASCII, and EBCDIC.
NTOP now called as NTOPNG(NTOP of new generation), is a network traffic probe that monitors network usage. It supports Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP) based client interface for creating ntop-centric monitoring applications, and RRDtool (RRD) for persistently storing traffic statistics. It can analyze traffic even at 10G speed. Moreover, it can report on IP addresses, volume, and bytes for each transaction.Ntop can integrate with external monitoring applications such as Nagios for alerting, and provide data for monitoring.
NMAP (Network Mapper) is one of the best open source and free network monitoring software used for network discovery and security auditing. It supports many advanced techniques for mapping out networks filled with IP filters, firewalls, routers, and other obstacles. It is multi-platform, cross-platform mechanism that supports Linux, Windows, FreeBSD, OpenBSD, Solaris, IRIX, Mac OS X, HP-UX, NetBSD, Sun OS, Amiga, and more. Nmap is the tool that you should use when you need to quickly map the hosts in your network.
These were some of the best and free network monitoring software we could list and hope you find it useful! If we have missed any good names that deserve to be here, please let us know in the comments section below.