Network monitoring ensures that the user does not face any issues or irregularities with the software network. This practice is carried out with the help of automated network monitoring tools that are efficient and effective.
Let’s learn what is network monitoring, why is it important for businesses, and the tools used for this practice. We also list down the top 5 network monitoring tools for businesses to choose from.
Table of Contents
What is Network Monitoring?
Monitoring is a DevOps practice that involves overseeing the entire software development and lifecycle. This practice facilitates a holistic and real-time view of the status of apps, services, and infrastructure in the production environment.
Different types of monitoring are undertaken by the DevOps teams. Network monitoring is one such practice. It involves monitoring networking components such as routers, switches, firewalls, servers, and VMs through monitoring software to check for faults and issues such as slow traffic or component failure.
Network monitoring is done to monitor a computer network’s health, reliability, and robustness. Based on the collected and analyzed performance data, network monitoring systems generate topology maps and actionable insights, allowing teams to track network health and identify bottlenecks.
Network monitoring has many benefits that are as follows:
Complete visibility into computer network components
Optimization of network reliability and data flow
Enhances software performance and productivity by reducing downtime
Gives access to historical data and allows troubleshooting past network problems, helping teams avoid similar problems in future
Ensure corporate compliance in evolving and complex networks
Started as a practice in the 90s, with the evolution of computer networks, the monitoring requirements of websites and internet-based services were far much more than the traditional ways of manually monitoring the typical office LAN. The networks required constant monitoring and a manual approach could no longer serve the need.
This gave way to the development of a generation of network monitoring tools such as Cacti, Nagios, and Zabbix. These tools provided support for standard internet protocols and were multi-platform and scalable. However, they were basic and matched the requirements of the last decade.
With more advancements, modern network monitoring systems developed and automated tools took over. Let’s learn more about these tools and list down the top ones in contemporary times.
Network Monitoring Tools
Network monitoring systems consist of network monitoring tools. A networking monitoring tool is software that gathers insights from different network components to highlight the overall health of the network.
There are three types of network monitoring tools.
Tools that use Simple Network Management Protocol (SNMP) to interact with network hardware and track the real-time status and use of resources, such as CPU stats, memory consumption, bytes transmitted and received, and other metrics.
Flow-based tools that monitor traffic flow to provide teams with statistics about protocols and users.
Active network monitoring tools that inject packets into the network. This allows them to measure parameters such as end-to-end reachability, round-trip time, bandwidth, packet loss, link utilization, etc.
While these were the types of network monitoring tools, some essential features make these tools effective and desirable.
Some of the key features to look for in a network monitoring tool are:
Facilitate real-time performance metrics
The capability of automating the device discovery and accommodating a forced discovery
Smart classification of infrastructure and mapping/ grouping of devices
Capable of in-depth monitoring, issue identification, and root-cause analysis
Provides support to basic security features
The tool should come with an intelligent alerting system/ mechanism
The tool should be scalable
Although these tools have a lot of benefits, choosing among the available ones often is a difficult task. Choosing the suitable tool that fits the business IT environment and budget, becomes challenging.
We list down the best network monitoring tools that give the desired results in the blog ahead.
Network monitoring tools facilitate effective and productive monitoring of the computer networks and identification of any red flags.
Now with so many options available in the market, let’s look at the best network monitoring tools that you can choose for your business.
The best network monitoring tools are:
1.Solar Winds Network Performance Monitoring
One of the best networking tools available in the market, SolarWinds monitors the network to reduce outages and enhance performance. It uses SNMP to gather insights into the device network. It automatically discovers network devices connected to the business network and has functionalities for wireless network monitoring and management.
This tool facilitates network packet analysis and creates intelligent network maps with an inbuilt tool, NetPath. SolarWinds is capable of creating WiFi heat maps and provides customizable preconfigured default alerts. Furthermore, the alerting system comes with options for simple/complex triggers.
This tool is suitable for small, medium, and large businesses, although it’s the most popular among medium-sized and large companies.
Let’s look at the pros and cons of this network monitoring tool.
Supports large and enterprise networks efficiently
Supports auto-discovery; creates topology maps as well as inventory lists in real-time
Offers great alerting features
Gives more monitoring control than other similar tools by supporting both SNMP monitoring as well as packet analysis
Easy to use, customizable dashboard with drag and drop feature
The effective reporting system that comes with pre-configured compliance templates
Easily scalable tool
This is a feature-rich enterprise tool, small LANs and operations may find it overwhelming
Additional costs for features opted for beyond pure network monitoring
Modular architecture and its additional requirements for tools, add-ons, etc., make set and configuration more complex
Lack of timely support for highly complex issues
The steep learning curve for new users
A 30-day free trial
The price of SolarWinds NPM tool starts at $2995
2. Paessler PRTG Network Monitoring
It is a leading network monitoring tool that monitors a device’s network, traffic, and performance. It uses SNMP, packet sniffing, and WMI to monitor a business’s entire infrastructure including LAN, WAN, Cloud Services, etc.
Paessler PRTG offers great usability and can be installed quickly. It provides an auto-discovery feature. This feature scans the network and adds elements to the monitoring setup. In-depth reports can be scheduled or run on demand.
PRTG uses the most modern technologies for the integration of network devices into a business’s monitoring. Alerts can be received through multiple options such as email, pushes, and play alarm audio files.
Available as a desktop as well as iOS and Android mobile application, this tool is user-friendly and comes with customizable, interactive dashboards. This tool is suitable for businesses of all sizes.
Pros of the Paessler PRTG:
Combines popular technology to report network performance data
Easy-to-use and customizable dashboard
Customs views and automated reports can be prepared using drag and drop editor
Multiple alert medium options and integration support
Each sensor available monitors an individual value in your network
Supports a freeware version
Cons of PRTG:
Learning the tool is a bit time-consuming process
Offers limited support for non-Windows devices
Some occasional bugs or glitches were reported
A bit costly for larger networks
Pricing is based on the license size.
Free up to 100 sensors.
Paid versions start at $1,600 (~£1,335) for 500 sensors and 1 server installation.
Another one of the best network monitoring tools available out there, Nagios is used by small, medium, and large businesses. Nagios is a Linux-based open-source network monitoring tool that monitors and provides greater visibility into the IT infrastructure components of a business. It offers Network Monitoring Software, Network Traffic Monitoring, and Network Analyzer.
The free tool Nagios Core offers basic functionalities for monitoring and managing IT environments and is highly extensible.
Due to the open-source nature of the tool, there are multiple community-developed, free add-ons for Nagios, as well as a lot of APIs.
Pros of Nagios:
Linux –based, open-source tool that is free and easily modifiable
Comprehensive and informative interface
High scalability and hence can handle large-scale environments
Flexible alerting options
Integration of custom applications with the help of robust API backend
Cons of Nagios:
Paid products offer better support than the open-source version
Installation can be a bit complex and extended configuration is time-consuming
Does not offer native auto-discovery features
Lack of real-time monitoring of systems
Web-interface lacks modernity and intuitiveness
A single license of Network Analyzer costs $1995
A leading network monitoring tool, Auvik is a cloud-based network monitoring software that consists of various system management tools. This SaaS tool identifies changes in network infrastructure by automating enrolment through network discovery and mapping systems.
The Auvik platform is convenient to use, offers global dashboards, and facilitates faster prevention and resolution of bottlenecks. The faults are discovered faster with the traffic analysis tools and automated security and performance updates are provided. This platform further is capable of centralizing and unifying the monitoring of several sites.
Pros of Auvik:
This too does not require on-premises installation
Offers automated network discovery and topology mapping
Network monitoring of multiple sites and unification of their data
The browser-based console that is accessible from anywhere
Customizable preconfigured alerts
The tool is vendor agnostic and hence easy integration with other tools
Cons of Auvik:
Pricing can be made more comprehensive and transparent on the webpage
Lacks preconfigured monitoring templates for popular vendors or use cases
Mandatory installation of so-called collectors in the monitored network
A 14-day free trial
Quotes as per request
5.Manage Engine OpManager
As a powerful network monitoring tool, Manage Engine OpManager facilitates effective network monitoring and management.
It monitors the performance of multiple network components in real-time and offers mobile applications for iOS and Android to get visibility into your network components on the go and perform basic troubleshooting.
OpManager makes use of Ping, switch port mapping, real-time visuals, AI/ML-based and automated reports, etc., to monitor and highlight performance parameters and metrics.
Let’s learn some of the pros and cons of the ManageEngine OpManager tool.
Customizable dashboards with more than 200 widgets
Comprehensive and intuitive user interface and apps to allow monitoring on the go
Real-time alerts are automatic with customizable, multi-level thresholds
Affordable Standard Edition
Feature-rich and hence demands time investment to be learned
A full feature set with multiple plug-ins and add-ons is expensive
Overall customization and notification methods/options are limited
Some concerns about the security of data have been raised in the past
A 30-day free trial
Paid versions start at $245 (~£205) for 10-1,000 devices up to $11,545 (~£9,630 for 250-10,000 devices
These are some of the top-performing and best network monitoring tools that facilitate the hassle-free and continuous flow of software networks.
While these tools are effective, if a business needs more controlled or effective network monitoring, then it should hire a DevOps team to carry out network monitoring for better root cause analysis. DevOps teams have a know-how and more efficiently do the monitoring task at hand. In-house or outsourced experts can be hired for cost-effective and scalable solutions.
This is where BigOhTech can help you. We offer a team of DevOps adept at network monitoring. From real-time network performance metrics to detailed monitoring, issue identification, and root-cause analysis, we make sure that the network’s health is maintained.
Through our network monitoring services, BigOhTech ensures that the applications or software used or offered by you work seamlessly, without any network-related hassles.
Reach out to us today and say goodbye to network logging issues!
Q1. What are monitoring tools in networking?
Monitoring tools in networking or network monitoring tools are the software that helps experts facilitates monitoring of the network’s health and performance along with spotting faults and errors in it.
Q2. What makes a good network monitoring tool?
A good network monitoring tool should: 1. Give real-time performance alerts/notifications 2. Automate device discovery 3. Ensure the security of data 4. Be scalable 5. Have a smart alerting system 6. Diagnose issues and provide root cause analysis
Q3. How does Network monitoring help in better root cause and Log Analysis?
Network monitoring helps in root cause analysis (RCA) and log analysis. Suppose you are experiencing a slowness in application usage. With the help of Networking tools, DevOps teams can easily confirm whether slowness is resultant of Network speed or Application performance issue ManageEngine OpManager, for example, is a network monitoring tool that comes with an RCA feature.
Q4. How does Network monitoring help in Identifying security threats?
With network security monitoring software, DevOps teams can collect metrics around client-server communications, network payload, encrypted traffic sessions, and additional network operations to identify cybersecurity threats. Patterns in network traffic flows could also be detected through network monitoring. Furthermore, network monitoring tools having security monitoring as a function also generate automatic security alerts and reports. This enables DevOps teams to quickly respond to any suspicious activity and implement corrective measures timely. Visualization tools offered by this software facilitate the identification of malicious activities and troubleshooting of cybersecurity threats.