In today’s technology-driven world, networks have become an essential and fundamental part of all businesses’ foundations worldwide. Therefore, managing networks has become a crucial task for the smooth flow and continuous growth of a business.
To ensure smooth running, just like large-scale businesses, small-scale businesses also face the need to monitor their networks before any network congestion, or performance error affects the end-user experience adversely.
To prevent the business from the plague of performance degradation, increasing visibility in networks is necessary. And the fact that network usage grows over time makes this job difficult for the network administrators.
The network administrators are faced with a myriad of problems managing networks, especially in small businesses where no one has one job to focus on. Companies often rely on network monitoring tools to relieve their administrators from the burden and make complex network management hassle-free & efficient. However, proactive monitoring needs proactive steps to be taken, which generally does not align with small businesses’ financial constraints.
But thanks to our technologically advanced world, there are many pocket-friendly comprehensive network monitoring tools available in the market that provide a wide range of solutions and make network management easier.
The Best Network Monitoring Tools and Software
Here is a directory of the six best network monitoring tools to save the day for network administrators of small businesses:
SolarWinds Network Performance Monitor
One of the most pre-eminent players in the field is the SolarWinds Network Performance Monitor, which uses SNMP to watch the status of devices to get traffic statistics from their interface.
It keeps a check on devices that exhaust a major portion of the bandwidth and helps to troubleshoot slow-moving network problems.
It provides the benefits of real-time monitoring, fault identification. Moreover, it is complemented with scalability as its versatility helps small businesses keep up with their network management as the organization grows over time.
SpiceWorks Network Monitor
This network monitoring tool is readily available for free with several paid add-ons and efficiently provides real-time status updates. It is specially designed for small-scale businesses and is easy to install.
Tasks of monitoring IP addresses, OS, MAC addresses, etc., become easier with the help of this tool.
Email alerts, graphical presentations, and real-time dashboards are some of the major features of such an affordable tool.
The company’s statement- “ManageEngine has complete and easy solutions for even the most difficult IT management problems.” describes many things about this high-quality monitoring tool and is popularly known in this field.
ManageEngine OpManager is a wide network monitoring tool that monitors network devices, routers, servers, firewall logs, switches, and machines on a real-time basis. To fetch statistical data of network devices, OpManager uses the SNMP, WMI, CLI network protocols and sends notifications via emails and SMS in case of any faults or performance errors. In addition, it uses a network mapping feature to discover and map new devices.
For small businesses, ManageEngine OpManager is one of the strong options worth considering for network management.
Datadog Network Performance Monitoring
Datadog is a “Cloud-based Software as a service (SaaS) infrastructure monitoring service.” Datadog reduces the hassle of maintaining a server to run the system as it is a cloud-based tool.
Datadog helps to improve the visibility of network traffic and is scalable due to its suitability for all business network sizes and topologies. It streamlines and analyses the traffic flowing across applications, devices, containers, availability zones, and on-premise servers.
Datadog is also SNMP-based, enabling it to track real-time abnormalities in the device network and send notifications in case of any discrepancy. In addition, Datadog provides separate storage for the statistics it tracks across the system networks and gives live data and on-demand graphs.
Management of networks becomes easy by the log consolidator feature of Datadog, which tracks down the systems logs on the network to analyze the data recorded and thus helps to find out major traffic generating sources to be efficiently accommodated, managed, or replaced.
Cacti is a free and open-source that tracks and collects data to present it in various graphical forms. It is composed in PHP/MySQL and uses the RRDTool (Round-Robin database tool). “RRDtool is the Open-Source industry-standard, most-reliant graphing system, and data logging for time series data. RRDtool can be readily integrated into shell characters, Perl, Python, Ruby, Lua, or Tcl applications.”
Cacti is a complete frontend to RRDTool.
Like other network monitoring tools, Cacti also uses SNMP for collecting and tracking data across networks. You can also refer to this article to change networks from public to private.
Templates in Cacti are built-in as per the needs of the users. For example, templates for Mac, Linux, Windows, and even Cisco routers.
PRTG Network Monitor
Paessler PRTG Network Monitor is an easy network monitoring tool. Some of its specialties include SNMP (Simple network management protocol), WMI, packet sniffing, and bandwidth controller.
This network monitoring tool is free to use up to 100 sensors, produces good results by troubleshooting problems in the network, actively improves the quality of service, and thus qualifies as a good option for IT professionals of small businesses to maintain the efficiency of their network.
PRTG network monitor has a customizable dashboard feature that makes real-time data mapping on the network no big deal. By using more than 300 different mapping objects, it integrates all the network components. It facilitates multiple location monitoring to closely examine the network to find out any discrepancy in the normal flow of data and send a notification through emails, SMS, slack messages, syslog message, SNMP trap, HTTP actions, and many more.
To maintain a healthy upkeep of business networks and to prevent failures, network administrators must analyze and judge all available tools based on their scalability, reliability, accuracy, cost-effectiveness, security, and most importantly, their performance, which in turn will bring profits into the business by improving the end-user experience.