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11 Best Network Monitoring Tools & Software of 2021

network monitoring tools

Marc Wilson

The realm of Network Monitoring Tools, Software, and Vendors is Huge, to say the least. New software, tools, and utilities are being launched almost every year to compete in an ever changing marketplace of IT monitoring, server monitoring, and system monitoring software.

We're now in the new decade and as we're looking into 2021, you absolutely need a solution that fits all your criteria!

We've gone through as many tools as we could find and rounded up the best ones in easy to read format and highlighted their main strengths and why we think they are in the top class of tools to use in your IT infrastructure and business.

Here is our list of the top network monitoring tools:

  1. SolarWinds Network Performance Monitor – FREE TRIAL The leading network monitoring system that uses SNMP to check on network device statuses. This monitoring tool includes autodiscovery that compiles an asset inventory and automatically draws up a network topology map. Runs on Windows Server.
  2. Datadog Network Monitoring – FREE TRIAL Provides good visibility over each of the components of your network and the connections between them – be it cloud, on-premises or hybrid environment. Troubleshoot infrastructure, apps and DNS issues effortlessly.
  3. ManageEngine OpManager – FREE TRIAL An SNMP-based network monitor that has great network topology layout options, all based on an autodiscovery process. Installs on Windows Server and Linux.
  4. Paessler PRTG Network Monitor – FREE TRIAL A collection of monitoring tools and many of those are network monitors. Runs on Windows Server.
  5. Site24x7 Network Monitoring – FREE TRIAL A cloud-based monitoring system for networks, servers, and applications. This tool monitors both physical and virtual resources.
  6. Nagios XI An extensible infrastructure monitor, based on the free Nagios Core, that has thousands of free plugins available. Runs on Linux.
  7. Zabbix A free monitoring system that covers networks, servers, and applications. Available for Linux, macOS, and Unix.
  8. Incinga 2 Developed from a fork of Nagios Core, this free infrastructure monitor will also take plugins written for Nagios. Installs on Linux.
  9. Progress WhatsUp Gold An SNMP-based network monitor that can be expanded by buying add-ons to monitor other infrastructure. Installs on Windows Server.
  10. ConnectWise Automate A competent infrastructure monitoring system that includes many task automation tools. Installs on Windows Server.
  11. LogicMonitor A cloud-based infrastructure monitor that can supervise on-premises networks and cloud resources.

Related Post: Best Bandwidth Monitoring Software and Tools for Network Traffic Usage

Desirable Network Monitoring Tool Features

Some of the features we are looking for are Uptime/Downtime indicators, along with robust and thorough alerting systems (via Email/SMS), custom templates and thresholds, Netflow and SNMP Integration, Automatic Network Topology Discovery and Mapping functionality, and much more.

The features from above were all major points of interest when evaluating software suites for this article and we'll try to keep this article as updated as possible with new feature sets and improvements as they are released, as newer versions of the tools below will likely be released throughout the years.

Related Post: Best Hardware Monitoring Software & Tools

The Top Network Monitoring Tools and Software of 2021

Below you'll find an updated list of the Latest Tools & Software to ensure your network is continuously tracked and monitored at all times of the day to ensure the highest up-times possible. Most of them have free Downloads or Trials to get you started for 15 to 30 days to ensure it meets your requirements.

1. SolarWinds Network Performance Monitor – FREE TRIAL

SolarWinds Network Performance Monitor with Free Trial

SolarWinds Network Performance Monitor is easy to setup and can be ready in no time. The tool automatically discovers network devices and deploys within an hour. Its simple approach to oversee an entire network makes it one of the easiest to use and most intuitive user interfaces.

The product is highly customizable and the interface is easy to manage and change very quickly. You can customize the web-based performance dashboards, charts, and views. You can design a tailored topology for your entire network infrastructure. You can also create customized dependency-aware intelligent alerts and much more.

SolarWinds NPM Application Summary

The software is sold by separate modules based on what you use. SolarWinds Network Performance Monitor Price starts from $1,995 and is a one-time license including 1st-year maintenance.

SolarWinds NPM has an Extensive Feature list that make it One of the Best Choices for Network Monitoring Solutions

Key Features:

  • Automatically Network Discovery and Scanning for Wired and Wifi Computers and Devices
  • Support for Wide Array of OEM Vendors
  • Forecast and Capacity Planning
  • Quickly Pinpoint Issues with Network Performance with NetPath™ Critical Path visualization feature
  • Easy to Use Performance Dashboard to Analyze Critical Data points and paths across your network
  • Robust Alerting System with options for Simple/Complex Triggers
  • Monitor CISCO ASA networks with their New Network Insight™ for CISCO ASA.
  • Monitor ACL‘s, VPN, Interface and Monitor on your Cisco ASA
  • Monitor Firewall rules through Firewall Rules Browser
  • Hop by Hop Analysis of Critical Network Paths and Components
  • Automatically Discover Networks and Map them along with Topology Views
  • Manage, Monitor and Analyze Wifi Networks within the Dashboard
  • Create HeatMaps of Wifi Networks to pin-point Wifi Dead Spots
  • Monitor Hardware Health of all Servers, Firewalls, Routers, Switches, Desktops, laptops and more.
  • Real-Time Network and Netflow Monitoring for Critical Network Components and Devices
SolarWinds NPM - NetPath Screenshot
NetPath Screenshot

Start 30-day FREE Trial

http://www.solarwinds.com/network-performance-monitor/registration

3. ManageEngine OpManager – FREE TRIAL

ManageEngine OpManager Linux Network Monitoring

At its core, ManageEngine OpManager is an infrastructure management, network monitoring and Application Performance Management “APM” (with APM plug-in) software.

When it comes to network management tools, this product is well balanced when it comes to monitoring and analysis features.

The solution can manage your network, servers, network configuration and fault & performance; It can also analyze your network traffic. To run Manage Engine OpManager, it must be installed on-premises.

A highlight of this product is that it comes with pre-configured network monitor device templates. These contain pre-defined monitoring parameters and intervals for specific device types.
The essential edition product can be purchased for $595 which allows up to 25 devices.

Key Features:

  • Includes server monitoring as well as network monitoring
  • Autodiscovery function for automatic network inventory assembly
  • Constant checks on device availability
  • A range of network topology map options
  • Automated network mapping
  • Performs an SNMP manager role, constantly polling for device health statuses
  • Receives SNMP Traps and generates alerts when device problems arise
  • Implements performance thresholds and identifies system problems
  • Watches over resource availability
  • Customizable dashboard with color-coded dials and graphs of live data
  • Forwards alerts to individuals by email or SMS
  • Available for Windows Server and Linux
  • Can be enhanced by an application performance monitor to create a full stack supervisory system
  • Free version available
  • Distributed version to supervise multiple sites from one central location

Start 30-day free trial – Download Link:

https://www.manageengine.com/network-monitoring/

Download Now

4. PRTG Network Monitor from Paessler – FREE TRIAL

PRTG Network Monitor

PRTG Network Monitor software is commonly known for its advanced infrastructure management capabilities. All devices, systems, traffic, and applications in your network can be easily displayed in a hierarchical view that summarizes performance and alerts. PRTG monitors entire IT infrastructure using technology such as SNMP, WMI, SSH, Flows/Packet Sniffing, HTTP requests, REST APIs, Pings, SQL, and a lot more.

It is one of the best choices for organizations with low experience in network monitoring software. The user interface is really powerful and very easy to use.

A very particular feature of PRTG is its ability to monitor devices in the data-center with a mobile app. A QR code that corresponds to the sensor is printed out and attached to the physical hardware. The mobile app is used to scan the code and a summary of the device is displayed on the mobile screen.

Key Features:

  • Autodiscovery that creates and maintains a device inventory
  • Live network topology maps available in a range of formats
  • Monitoring for wireless networks as well as LANs
  • Multi-site monitoring capabilities
  • SNMP sensors to gather device health information
  • Ping to check on device availability
  • Optional extra sensors to monitor servers and applications
  • System-wide status overviews and drill-down paths for individual device details
  • A protocol analyzer to identify high-traffic applications
  • A packet sniffer to collect packet headers for analysis
  • Color-coded graphs of live data in the system dashboard
  • Capacity planning support
  • Alerts on device problems, resource shortages, and performance issues
  • Notifications generated from alerts that can be sent out by email or SMS
  • Available for installation on Windows Server or as a hosted cloud service

PRTG has a very flexible pricing plan, to get an idea visit their official pricing webpage below.

Download 30-day free trial:

https://www.paessler.com/download/prtg-download

5. Site24x7 Network Monitoring – FREE TRIAL

Site24x7 Network Performance Monitor

Site24x7 is a monitoring service that covers networks, servers, and applications. The network monitoring service in this package starts off by exploring the network for connected devices. IT logs its findings in a network inventory and draws up a network topology map.

The Network Monitor uses procedures from the Simple Network Management Protocol (SNMP) to poll devices every minute for status reports. Any changes in the network infrastructure that are revealed by these responses update the inventory and topology map.

The results of the device responses are interpreted into live data in the dashboard of the monitor. The dashboard is accessed through any standard browser and its screens can be customized by the user.

The SNMP system empowers device agents to send out a warning without waiting for a request if it detects a problem with the device that it is monitoring. Site24x7 Infrastructure catches these messages, which are called Traps, and generates an alert. This alert can be forwarded to technicians by SMS, email, voice call, or instant messaging post.

The Network Monitor also has a traffic analysis function. This extracts throughput figures from switches and routers and displays data flow information in the system dashboard. This data can also be used for capacity planning.

Key Features:

  • A hosted cloud-based service that includes CPU time and performance data storage space
  • Can unify the monitoring of networks on site all over the world
  • Uses SNMP to check on device health statuses
  • Gives alerts on resource shortages, performance issues, and device problems
  • Generates notifications to forward alerts by email or SMS
  • Root cause analysis features
  • Autodiscovery for a constantly updated network device inventory
  • Automatic network topology mapping
  • Includes internet performance monitoring for utilities such as VPNs
  • Specialized monitoring routines for storage clusters
  • Monitors boundary and edge services, such as load balancers
  • Offers overview and detail screens showing the performance of the entire network and also individual devices
  • Includes network traffic flow monitoring
  • Facilities for capacity planning and bottleneck identification
  • Integrates with application monitoring services to create a full stack service

Site24x7 costs $9 per month when paid annually. It is available for a 30-day free trial.

More Information and Official Website:

https://www.site24x7.com/network-monitoring.html

Free Trial Download Link:

https://www.site24x7.com/signup.html

Start Free Trial

6. Nagios XI

Nagios XI open-source netowk monitoring tool

Nagios XI is aimed at a wide audience, from freelancers, SMBs (Small-to-Medium-Business), to large corporations. This makes Nagios’s XI pricing model one of the most flexible. They have a free version, open-source, one-time license and subscription. It is one of the few tools that allows an extreme flexibility (because of its adaptability to plug-ins) on what’s being monitored and alerted for a low cost.

Nagios XI focuses on monitoring. The key IT components that Nagios XI monitors are Network, Infrastructure, and Database. Although the software is easy to install, it will initially take some time to adjust to your requirements. This is because Nagios XI does not auto-discover devices. You have to configure each device that needs to be monitored with a configuration file.

Standard paid edition starts from $1,995 for 100 nodes. Nagios XI is supported only by Linux (or UNIX variants) OS.

Download Link:

https://www.nagios.com/products/nagios-xi/

7. Zabbix

zabbix

Zabbix is an open source monitoring tool. It is popular for its easy-to-use and pleasing Web GUI that is fully configurable. Zabbix focuses on monitoring and trending functionality. This software is frequently used for monitoring servers and network hardware. One of the highlights of Zabbix is that it can predict trends in your traffic. Zabbix can forecast future behavior based on historical data.

Since it is open source, it has an active user community spread around the world and good documentation. Zabbix gives the freedom to use the open-source solution without vendor lock-ins (including all components).

Zabbix is powerful for SMB networks below 1,000 nodes. Over that, the software can get slower and its performance decreased. Another disadvantage is that it doesn’t include real-time tests and reports.

Download Link:

https://www.zabbix.com/download

8. Icinga

Icinga

It is another open source infrastructure and service monitoring tool. Icinga was developed in 2009 by the same team of developers that brought you Nagios.
It is a very easy to use and flexible tool for SMB and enterprise networks. The software focuses strongly on monitoring infrastructure and services. The tool also includes great threshold analysis and report/alert functionalities.

Icinga is popular at providing superior altars and reports of the general health of your IT infrastructure. All alert dependencies can be displayed in the dashboard and sent via email, SMS or mobile message applications.

Since Icinga is open source it is completely free. With its strong community forum, you can get all the support you need.

Download Link:

https://www.icinga.com/products/demo/

Related Post: Best Open Source Network Monitoring Software

9. Progress WhatsUp Gold

Progress WhatsUp Gold Traffic Analysis

WhatsUp Gold from Progress Software Corporation uses the Simple Network Management Protocol (SNMP) to track the performance of networks. SNMP agents on each switch and router prepare a status report and update it constantly, waiting for a request from an SNMP manager. The only problem is that regular operating systems don’t include an SNMP manager. WhatsUp Gold provides that function.

This monitoring tool sends out regular broadcasts, asking for status reports, which are called MIBs. Each device agent responds to the request and then WhatsUp Gold compiles the results it receives. This mechanism tells the monitoring system exactly what devices are out there and which other devices each is connected to. This information is constantly refreshed, so WhatsUp Gold is able to maintain an up-to-date network inventory. The service also automatically draws up a network topology map based on the live updates to the network inventory.

A device agent will send a Trap message if it identifies a problem with the piece of equipment that it is monitoring. WhatsUp Gold interprets this into an alert. Network administrators can ignore the monitoring console and let WhatsUp Gold watch over everything. This is because they will be notified if anything goes wrong.

WhatsUp Gold installs on Windows Server. This software comes with different pricing plans to adjust to your network and wallet.

Key Features:

  • Acts as an SNMP manager
  • Automated self-setup discovers all devices connected to the network
  • Provides an automatically generated network map
  • Includes live performance data on network devices
  • Creates charts and graph of time-series data on recent device history
  • Displays a network summary, showing overall statuses at a glance
  • Support capacity planning with top traffic generators and trend analysis
  • Covers wireless networks as well as LANs
  • Includes log management functions
  • Generates alerts when device issues arise
  • Monitors cloud resources and storage devices
  • Can be enhanced by add-ons to monitor bandwidth, virtualizations, applications
  • A configuration add-on is available
  • Available in a multi-tenanted version for MSPs
  • An option of distributed monitoring to supervise many sites from a central location

More information and 14-day free trial link on the official website:

More Information and Official Website:

https://www.whatsupgold.com/trial

10. ConnectWise Automate

ConnectWise Automate (formerly Labtech)

Formerly known as Labtech, ConnectWise Automate is a new cloud-based manager and monitoring solution that can keep track of your IT infrastructure devices from a single location.
ConnectWise Automate discovers all devices in your network so they can be monitored proactively. The network visibility is improved because the tool interprets problems and initiates an automatic pre-defined action to mitigate the issue.

A cool feature of this software is the “Patch Management”, as it allows you to protect all your systems with simultaneous patching from a centralized manager. Use Windows Patch management or third-party software.

By extending the ConnectWise suite, the software can also allow a premier remote control. You can resolve issues quickly by allowing remote support, remote access and even remote meetings.
ConnectWise Automate is aimed at SMBs. The price of the software is based on quotes. You can get a price on their official site tailored accordingly to the size of your network.

Download Link:

https://www.connectwise.com/resources/trial/connectwise-automate-trial

11. Logic Monitor

LogicMonitor

LogicMonitor is an automated SaaS (Software-as-a-Service) IT performance monitoring tool. With LogicMonitor you can get full visibility of the performance and health of your network.

This software will automatically discover IT infrastructure devices and monitor them proactively. Besides from extraordinary monitoring capabilities, the software also improves the performance and health of your network. LogicMonitor can help identify incoming issues by providing predictive alters and trend analysis.

Logic Monitor is popular because it comes with a highly customizable dashboard, alerts, and reports. The software supports over 1000 different technologies, including hybrid cloud monitoring and networking devices, in order to provide granular performance metrics.

To get a price you can request a quote from LogicMonitor’s official pricing site.

Download Link:

https://www.logicmonitor.com/signup/

12. OP5 Monitor

op5 Unified Dashboard

OP5 Monitor is OP5’s Enterprise level monitoring solution. With OP5 Monitor you can monitor applications, networks, servers and storage, regardless of location, whether that’s on-premise, hybrid or in a private/public cloud.

OP5 Monitor is also Nagios compatible, meaning that it’s easy to migrate from Nagios and re-use existing agents and plugins.

Key features include:

  • Unified Dashboard – Fully customizable and interactive dashboards
  • Scalability- Unparalleled Scalability across Distributed Environments
  • Automation – Endless Possibilities To Automate
  • API- Developer Friendly Interface
  • SNMP Traps – Read, process and generate alerts from SNMP traps
  • Reporting – Custom, SLA- reports and network availability reports.

OP5 Monitor is free for up to 20 devices, and has a pricing plan based on your specific requirements.

Download Link:

https://www.op5.com/download/

Network Monitoring FAQ

How do I choose network monitoring tools?

Look for a network performance monitor that uses SNMP to gather device statuses. Also, use a bandwidth analyzer that can communicate with the brand of switches that you have on your network.

How do I monitor everything on my network?

It is impossible to manually watch the statuses of every device on your network around the clock so you have to get an automated network monitoring tool. Get a system that uses performance thresholds and raises alerts if these are crossed. Systems that forward alerts to you by email or SMS let you assume everything is OK with network performance unless you are notified otherwise. These monitoring features will take care of the network and allow you to safely pay attention to other tasks.

How can network monitoring software help me to optimize my network infrastructure?

Network monitoring software will help you to optimize network infrastructure because it records activity around the clock, identifying overloaded devices without the need for you to sit and watch live events. Records of device performance let you plan better usage of your network and either remap devices or implement traffic shaping measures so that you can get the best value out of your existing infrastructure without having to buy extra equipment.

What are the best programming languages for network monitoring?

A busy stems administrator doesn’t have time to write programs for network monitoring. So, the best tools for network monitoring are systems that include a utility for ad-hoc queries rather than full, standalone programs. If you want to run off quick system queries, try PowerShell on Windows or Bash on Linux.