5 free, dead easy ip traffic monitoring tools

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Monitoring your network can be a real pain. First and foremost, what tool should you use? Everyone you ask will give you a different answer. Each answer will reflect a different set of requirements and, in some cases, fill completely different needs. Here are the five network monitors I prefer, based on two criteria: They’re free (as in cost) and easy to use. You might not agree with the choices, but at the price point, you’d be hard pressed to find better solutions.

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5 free, dead easy ip traffic monitoring tools

  1. 1. 5 Free, Dead-Easy IP Traffic Monitoring ToolsBy Jack WallenMonitoring your network can be a real pain. First and foremost, what tool should you use?Everyone you ask will give you a different answer. Each answer will reflect a different set ofrequirements and, in some cases, fill completely different needs. Here are the five networkmonitors I prefer, based on two criteria: They’re free (as in cost) and easy to use. You might notagree with the choices, but at the price point, you’d be hard pressed to find better solutions.1: WiresharkWireshark (Figure A) has always been my go-to monitor. When most other monitors fail to findwhat I want, Wireshark doesn’t let me down. Wireshark is a cross-platform analyzer that doesdeep inspection of hundreds of protocols. It does live capture and capture save (for offlinebrowsing), which can be viewed in GUI or tty mode. Wireshark also does VoIP analysis and canread/write many capture formats (tcpdump, Pcap NG, Catapult DCT2000, Cisco Secure IDS iplog,Microsoft Network Monitor, and many more).Figure A
  2. 2. 2: Angry IP ScannerAngry IP Scanner (Figure B) is one of the easiest to use of all the IP scanners. It has a user-friendly GUI that can scan IP addresses (and their ports) in any range. Angry IP Scanner is crossplatform and doesn’t require installation, so you can use it as a portable scanner. It can getNetBIOS information, favorite IP address range, Web server detection, customizable openers, andmuch more. This little scanner makes use of mutlithreads, so it’s going to be fairly fast. Sourcecode is available on the download page.Figure B
  3. 3. 3: ZenmapZenmap (Figure C) is a graphical front end to the cross-platform Nmap tool. Nmap can scan hugenetworks, is portable, free, and well documented. It’s one of the most powerful IP traffic monitors,but that power comes with a price: complexity. Zenmap takes Nmap and makes it more accessibleto users who prefer to avoid the command line. That does not mean Zenmap is the easiest of thelot. You still need to use some commands. But Zenmap offers a powerful wizard-like tool to helpyou through the process.Figure C
  4. 4. 4: Colasoft Capsa FreeIf you’re an admin used to more Windows-like tools, Capsa Free (Figure D) might be the perfecttool for you. There are actually two versions of Capsa: paid and free. The free version should beenough in most cases. It provides an easy-to-use dashboard you can use to create various types ofcaptures. Capsa Free also offers plenty of alarm configurations so you can be alerted whensomething occurs. And it can capture more than 300 network protocols, so you won’t be missingout on anything with this free tool.Figure D
  5. 5. 5: EtherApeEtherApe is a Linux-only tool and is molded after the classic etherman monitor. It’s unique in thatit offers an easy-to-use mapping of IP traffic on your network. It does this in real time and givesyou a clear picture of the overall look of your network traffic. You can create filters (using pcapsyntax) to make reading the map easier. As you can see in Figure E, a busy network can get ratherchallenging to read. EtherApe will display both the node and link color with the most-usedprotocol so it’s easier to take a quick glance, even on a busy network.Figure E
  6. 6. Recommend Office .NET/Silverlight Component:Spire.XLS for .NET and SilverlightSpire.Office for .NET and SilverlightSpire.Doc for .NET and SilverlightSpire.PDF for .NETSpire.DataExport for .NET

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