The market of the network monitoring software is day to day updated and built up with new tools so sometimes it can be difficult to make a decision on which one is the right one for you. This is why we decided to help you by comparing some of the most significant features of network management such as SNMP, uptime/downtime and network mapping among the other so by the end of this article you will be able to make a knowledgable decision of which software suits your environment the best.
Each of the companies should take a step towards network monitoring. However, as the range on today’s market of network monitoring tools and software is pretty wide, each of the companies faces the challenge to pick the right one that fits the budget and corresponds to the business environment.
So, we did the work for you! In this post, we will share valuable information on the best ranked in 2020 in the category of best network monitoring tools.
We also compared these in terms of network performance, network health, network mapping, alerting, dashboards, uptime/downtime, SNMP, as well as other significant features of the network management that can be beneficial for the user to have an exceptional experience while using the chosen tool.
We have compiled a list of paid, free of charge and open-source software for Linux, Mac, and Windows together with their main characteristics. We are certain these will assist you in finding the most suitable tool for the network you would like to monitor.
We reveal you the list of the Best network monitoring tools that we have compiled for you:
Our Editor’s Choice is SolarWinds Network Performance. Read why!
- SolarWinds Network Performance Monitor
If you looked at it and thought oh, just one scanner more! Do not jump into conclusion as what SolarWinds NPM does is more than that. It identifies the security issues caused by changes in configuration and deals with most of them automatically. It is our Editor’s Top Choice because of the efficient scanning of the vulnerability points together with the options for creating and monitoring policies.
- Paessler PRTG Network Monitor -Free network monitoring software which includes WMI, packet-sniffing, and SNMP for network monitoring.
- Site24x7 – Tools for Network management that work on monitoring the servers, devices, applications, and websites among others.
- Atera – RMM system which is designed for cloud environments and incorporates a variety of monitors among which application, device, and servers that are corresponding to all types of businesses regarding the size.
- ManageEngine OpManager -This type of OpManager can assist you in monitoring the virtualized services, switches, SNMP devices, and servers.
- Nagios Core – It is one of the leading open-source network monitoring tools. It consists of community plugins, a dashboard view, and an alerts system.
- Zabbix – Open source network monitoring software combined with IPMP and SNMP monitoring. It also has community plugins and alerts system.
- Zenoss Cloud – Service and application monitoring tool that detects the learning anomaly of the machines and makes analysis of the root cause.
- Icinga – DSL and Open source network monitoring software with extensions.
- Spiceworks – Free network monitoring software that includes a dashboard of a high-quality and alert system.
The best network monitoring tools
1. SolarWinds Network Performance Monitor
It is a network performance monitoring tool that monitors the device’s status with the help of SNMP. It detects the connected devices to the network you use automatically. The availability and the performance of these devices can be monitored via the dashboard.
There is a topology map of the network where you can view all the connected and revealed services, devices, and applications together with their infrastructure linking. There is a feature called NetPath that traces the transfers of the packet hop-by-hop, which assists in the designing of effective diagnosis in the context of performance issues origins.
You can set your own customized trigger conditions regarding the alerts and upon their satisfaction, the software sends an SMS or email notification about the occurred event. The list of alerts is numbered in order of severity and if interested you can find it on the page of All Active Alerts.
SolarWinds Network Performance Monitor represents a leading network monitoring solution due to the versatile feature set. The rotation between packet analysis and SNMP is easy with access to the control of the monitored segments. The initial price tag of this tool is $2,995 (£2,304). It offers a 30-days trial which is free of charge.
What are the main features:
- SNMP monitoring
- Automatic detection of the connected devices
- Ability to analyze the Network packet
- Intelligent maps with NetPath
- The ability of creation of Wifi heat maps
- Alerts and Report System
SolarWinds tool is the Choice of the Editor because of its capacity to provide thorough reports on the issues that slow the network down and enable quick resolution of the root of the problems as it can perform packet inspection in-depth. What you can do is identify traffic by different categories, application, and level of risk and thus point out the problem and at the end measure the response time of the application. If you possess an excellent user interface, this is an excellent choice for packet sniffing and network analysis.
Download your free trial at: www.solarwinds.com/network-performance-monitor/
OS: Windows Server
2. Paessler PRTG Network Monitor
It is a free network tool for monitoring which incorporates WMI, SNMP, and packet sniffing for network monitoring. One can find out and add the monitored to be devices by scanning certain segments of the network. Different network segments can be monitored by a variety of sensors that you can select from. One example of this is the sensors for Bandwidth Monitoring that monitors one separate network value. In addition, among the others, there are Hardware Parameters Sensors, VOIP, SNMP as well as QoS sensors.
There is a customizable dashboard for better visualization and this enables the creation of real-time network infrastructure maps. Maps can be created by the drag-and-drop tool for editing and with more than 300 map objects. The custom HTML can be used for the creation of your personal objects that can be used later for the map.
The alerts system is based on thresholds and constantly notifies the user for all the changes regarding sensors or values or breaches of the thresholds. You can set to receive the notifications via mail, like SMS, a message on Slack, push notification, an SNMP trap, execute programs, HTTP action, etc.
We recommend the PRTG Network Monitor for companies that are in a need of budget-friendly and comprehensive network monitoring tools. You can access the platform free of charge for up to 100 sensors. If you need more than that the initial price tag is $1,600 (£1,231.14) per installation of the server and 500 sensors.
What are the main features:
- SNMP monitoring
- Bandwidth monitoring
- Ability to scan for devices according to IP segment
- Customizable dashboards and networks maps
- Alerts system based on thresholds and Reports system
3. Site24x7 Network Monitoring from the Cloud
This is a network monitoring software that is based on a cloud and applies SNMP for network monitoring. Easy for configuration. Site 24×7 detects the SNMP according to the IP range. There are more than 4000 templates for devices that are available for monitoring performance out-of-the-gate. This means that you do not have to configure all from scratch.
Some of the metrics that can be monitored are CPU usage, memory utilization, active session count, and related. The dashboard is the place to view the performance of the device. If there are some performance issues that require resolution these can be found based on the view of the devices according to the packet loss and response time. For an in-depth analysis of the problem, you can choose the network topology where you can check layer 2.
Site 24×7 is one impressive tool due to SNMP and website monitoring. The transition that happens between the different types of operations is smooth. There is a free trial of one month after which you can choose different packages that start from $35 (£26.94) to $449 (£345.54) talking about a monthly basis.
What are the main features:
- Automatic detection of SNMP devices according to their IP range
- Network mapping
- More than 4000 templates for device monitoring
- Rest APIs
- Server monitoring
- Website monitoring
This is a tool that is used by service providers (MSPs). The system consists of applications and server monitors among others and provides all you need from the software in order to manage a network successfully. It performs passive monitoring and various tasks of maintenance.
This tool is part of a set of utilities known as the RMM system or system for remote management and monitoring. The key point of the service is that the technicians’ team is not on-premises where the monitoring of the network is being conducted. This means that the monitoring of the system is remote so the technicians do not have to place the server for monitoring, in the same premise.
This software is cloud-based. There are no personal servers to operate with the platform and the site that is being monitored should install agents. Technicians can use web browsers to access the console and system and the administrators can use a mobile app to inspect the status of the network being monitored.
One of the perks is the capacity just to sign in from all devices as it is due to Atera’s high level of automation. The tool performs the monitoring for the network and requests help from the technicians when it is absolutely necessary. In these cases, Atera sends an alert and notifies the technician via the app.
Atera’s monitoring service bases its foundations in the Simple Network Management Protocol (SNMP), which is best known for device agent-generated alerts. The tool has mechanisms to discover a network and it also makes a list of inventory of the equipment automatically.
There are three packages: Power, Growth, and Pro. Although the system has a free trial of one month it is not free and if you decide to continue using it the best option is to pay annually as it is the most affordable option.
- Complete solution with automate the discovery of the network
- Device monitor and Real-time application
- Analytics, Powerful reporting, alerts
5. ManageEngine OpManager
It represents a network monitoring solution for monitoring the work of servers, switches, routers, devices, and real-time virtual machines. The dashboards that are customizable offer more than 200 widgets that can help you in customizing and designing your own unique experience in regards to monitoring.
The monitoring of SNMP helps you keep updated about the performance of the device in the frames of the network. If you want to have better visibility you can explore the mapping feature of the network to map and locate new devices. You can also assign the time when the network can discover new devices after they are part of the network.
There is an efficient alert system that answers the changes to the performance fast. ManageEngine OpManager creates a relationship with the events in the network and notifies the user of corresponding alerts that are relevant. The notification is carried out by SMS and email and in this way you are informed about the ongoing issues.
Manageengine OpManager can be tested for 30 days free of charge and we can recommend it for customers who are in a search for a tool for infrastructure monitoring in one monitor. There are also paid versions and the price depends on a number of devices that are connected. You can connect up to 10,000 devices.
- Automatic discovery
- Mapping of the network
- SNMP monitoring
- SMS and email alert notifications
- Customizable dashboards
6. Nagios Core
Another open-source network with a web interface that monitors the network performance comes under the name of Nagios Core. The user interface assists in the monitoring of the current status of the network with two separate statuses – Totals of Host Status and Totals of Service Status. For better visualization, there is a color-code of GUI, and thus it is easy to see which elements are compromised or unavailable.
The application performance can be tracked based on alerting system that can send messages via SMS and mail. All the created alerts with the date of their creation can be checked in the history section. The alerts that are critical can be easily seen as the alerts are color-coded.
APIs are used for other services integration. If you happen to be in a need of additional functions you can try out some of the many plugins that can be found on the Nagios Exchange for additional functions installing. For instance, there is a loaded plugin for the check of SNMP CPU which makes it possible to observe the loading of SNMP or the usage of CPU.
Although Nagios Core represents great free network monitoring software its set up might be a bit challenging. It is downloadable free of charge so you can compare it with Nagios XI.
- Dashboard for performance
- system for alerts
- Reports of availability
- Capacity planning
- Plugins created by the community
Zabbix represents a monitor that is an open-source network. It makes a blend between monitoring od server, cloud, network, services and application in one single solution. Zabbix makes use of SNMP as well as ICMP to perform network monitoring. The features for autodiscovery detect automatically the network devices which are later added for monitoring as well as changes in configuration based on which get familiar if there are updates for the device.
There are templates for network monitoring that ease the configuration of the program. Some of the vendors: HP, Intel, Cisco, Netgear, and others use pre-configured templates. If you want to check more such templates you can do this at the community site of Zabbix.
For responding to alerts Zabbix possesses a system for notification. The system notifies the users by different forms of communication such as messenger, email, jabber, SMS, and custom scripts for the ongoing events regarding security. The content for notification can also be customized to ensure that the contact point has necessary for reopening intelligently.
Zabbix is a leading Linux network monitoring tool out there at the moment. The popularity of the program comes mainly from the options for templates and features of autodiscovery. It can be downloaded free of charge.
- Feature of Autodiscovery
- Monitoring by IPMP and SNMP
- Application monitoring
- Server monitoring
- Templates for Network monitoring
- Automatically detect the changes in configuration
- System for alerting
8. Zenoss Cloud
Zenoss Cloud represents a monitoring platform for service and an application created with a multi-cloud environments in mind. This tool can help you monitor lots of devices such as network devices, logs, real-time events, applications. In addition, there is a dashboard that presents all the performance concerns.
The platform is based on the detection of anomalies machine that detects the performance deviations. After the system detects an anomaly there is an instant analysis of the root cause in order for the user to find out the basis of the problem. Machine learning causes a transfer of the mean time to network events resolution.
ZenPacks are a set of extensions that are also available for the users and in their essence, they are plugins which community developed and include all starting from services to devices. Open-source plugins exist for Dell, Amazon Web Services, Docker, Cisco, MySQL, and etc.
Zenoss Cloud is intended for enterprises that are willing to apply intelligent detection as well as to deal with network events. Detection of the performance concerns based on machine learning minimizes the network disruption.
- Detection of anomaly based on machine learning
- Analysis of the root cause
- System for alerting
- plugins from ZenPacks community
It is a monitoring tool for an open-source net that performs monitoring of your data center, cloud- server and network. It is a web-based software that is configured with the Domain Specific Language (DSL) or via GUI. If you have applied both of them you can choose whatever you want to monitor.
To view the performance, log via GUI and you can use the dashboard that displays if there are some issues with the availability and performance and there are color-codes in accordance with severity. The red color shows Critical and Down devices.
Icinga Modules and extensions enable you to install more program functions. One example is the Module for Icinga for vSphere that enables monitoring of the host systems and virtual machines. There are plugins that are community created and can be downloaded free of charge at Icinga Exchange.
In general, Icinga is a kind of solution that offers you a way to control and manage the environment. Icinga can be downloaded for free and can be used by Microsoft Windows,Debian, SUSE, Red Hat, Ubuntu, OpenSUSE, Fedora, and Raspbian.
- Web-based GUI
- DSL configuration
- Icinga Modules
10. Spiceworks Network Monitor
Spiceworks represents well accepted free software for network monitoring. You can log in via GUI, open the dashboard and check the network infrastructure performance in real-time.
The monitoring includes 5 different types of device metrics, that cover Disk, Host, Memory, Network, and Usage. The dashboards are visually equipped with graphs so you can identify performance trends with ease from distance.
If there are fluctuations in the performance there is a system the sends alerts. You can customize the alert thresholds and the way you are notified about these alerts. If you do not make a decision to adjust the settings you can always use the default settings owned by the software.
Spiceworks is a perfect solution for not so big companies that are opting for a budget-friendly solution for monitoring of the entire network performance. It is free and very easy to use with the support of IT infrastructure in the context of active community users.
- Web-based GUI
- Real-time dashboard
- Custom alerts system
How to choose a network monitoring tool
The network traffic, the traffic analysis, and netflow are all important as well as the entire network performance and this is why we need a good-quality monitoring system with its tools. This tool for monitoring should be comprehensive because we need to manage the devices with ease as well as to offer visibility so you can access the info on the devices right away.
We chose the SolarWinds Network Performance Monitor as it offers a variety of features starting from the most essential ones for monitoring to autodiscovery, network maps, dashboards, alerts system, and bandwidth monitoring.
Paessler PRTG Network Monitor is the second choice as it is a sensor system that can be well configurable. Whatever you are looking for make sure you choose the right solution for you and we hope that we were able to help you with the information we presented.