We understand the headache that network administrators go through when monitoring network traffic, bandwidth usage, load-balancing, network devices, etc. Overloaded routers can represent a risk for your company’s communication system. This is why network admins should count on reliable IT Infrastructure monitoring tools, such as the software we are going to talk about.
As you look for powerful and affordable tools, there are some extra features that you should not miss. For example, port management, traffic analysis, and even network security.
Here is our list of the seven best router monitoring software and tools:
- SolarWinds Network Insight for Cisco ASA Monitoring – EDITOR'S CHOICE A group of software products that includes the Network Performance Monitor. The NPM communicates with switches and routers to extract status reports with the Simple Network Management Protocol. The NetFlow Traffic Analyzer watches over traffic patterns. Both run on Windows Server. Start a 30-day free trial.
- Paessler PRTG Router Monitoring – FREE TRIAL A package of monitoring systems for networks, servers, and applications that includes SNMP routines for router status monitoring plus traffic management systems. Installs on Windows Server. Stat a 30-day free trial.
- ManageEngine OpManager A network monitor that includes status monitoring for switches and routers and also bandwidth analysis features. Available for Windows Server and Linux.
- Nagios XI A system monitoring package that includes SNMP status checking for switches and routers plus traffic monitoring services. Runs on Linus or on Windows over a VM.
- Zenoss A system monitoring package that includes network performance and traffic analysis and can be extended by ZenPacks. There is a ZenPack for Cisco network device monitoring. Available as a paid cloud platform or for installation on Linux for free (Zenoss Core).
- WhatsUp Gold A network monitoring tool that uses SNMP for network device monitoring and can be extended by an add-on to include traffic monitoring. Installs on Windows Server.
- Icinga 2 A fork of Nagios that takes all of the Nagios plug-ins. The core system includes the monitoring of network devices and traffic analysis features. Installs on Linux.
In this article, we will review and take a closer look to the best monitoring software and tools for, port/interface management and bandwidth/traffic analysis. We hope by the time you finish reading you will have a better understanding of each one of these tools.
What should you look for in router monitoring tools?
We reviewed the market for bandwidth and traffic management tools that communicate with routers and analyzed the options based on the following criteria:
- A service that can collect performance data from switches and routers
- A service that is able to use SNMP for status querying
- An alerting mechanism to warn of impending problems
- A dashboard that shows live performance data
- An autodiscovery function for automated device enrollment
- A free trial or a free package
- A free tool that is worth installing or a paid tool that offers value for money
With these selection criteria in mind, we have found monitoring systems that will query switches for their statuses as well as watching over router performance. Our selection includes packages that will install on Window and Linux.
Here's the Top Router Monitoring Tools & Software of 2021:
SolarWinds Network Insight for Cisco ASA will allow you to monitor the performance of your routers and firewalls. This software provides you with continuous monitoring to ensure the availability of your networks are at an all time high. This platform also offers complete visibility of your firewalls in a single dashboard, allowing you to identify any error and reduce downtime, helping you to ensure service availability.
This software is based on two solutions, Network Performance Monitor and Network Configuration Manager, each one with its own features.
Features: Network Performance Monitor:
Reduce network outages and improve performance, very simple to use, customizable dashboards.
- Multi-vendor network monitoring.
- Network Insights for deeper visibility.
- Intelligent maps.
- NetPath and PerfStack for easy troubleshooting.
- Smarter scalability for large environments.
- Advanced alerting.
Network Configuration Manager:
Automated network configuration and compliance management, reduces the time required to manage critical changes. It also resolves operational issues faster and reduces downtime. Network Configuration Manager helps to identify that the network is compliant.
- Network automation
- Network compliance
- Configuration backup
- Vulnerability assessment
- Network Insights for Cisco ASA and Cisco Nexus
- Integration with Network Performance Monitor
Here is how the Cisco ASA Network Management Software looks like:
Implementation and System Requirements:
- Network Performance Monitor: Operating System: Windows Server 2012 and 2012 R2
Here are some other software requirement:
You can see the complete list of requirements for the Network Performance monitor here.
- Network Configuration Manager: Operating System: Windows Server 2012 And Windows 2012 R2, Windows 2016.
You can see the complete list of other requirements for the Network Configuration Manager, such as port requirements, here.
- Designed specifically to monitor Cisco hardware metrics
- Simple yet intuitive dashboards – uses color well to highlight key insights
- Can access insights from most modern browsers
- Offers condition and threshold-based alerting templates
- Designed for network professionals, the platform can take time to fully explore
The Network Insights group of monitoring systems is our top pick for router monitoring software because it combines three individual SolarWinds tools that are written on a common platform, called Orion. These tools provided total network monitoring and management services, offering network performance monitoring, which queries routers and switches to head off problems. The NetFlow Traffic Analyzer extracts traffic flow information and gives you options to implement traffic shaping. The Configuration Manager helps you to standardize the settings of your network devices and prevent unauthorized changes to them.
Official Site: solarwinds.com/topics/network-insight-cisco-asa/registration
OS: Windows Server
The PRTG Router Monitoring is a software suite that is a Great Network Monitoring tool as well as a Router and Infrastructure monitoring software as well.
Its purpose is to avoid overloaded routers by checking bandwidth consumption, network traffic, and router error messages. It can also detect suspicious traffic to your routers. This software is very flexible and customizable, and it’s also accessible through its web interface.
Here is how the Interface looks like:
- Flexible Alerting:
Schedule Alarms and Alerts to suit your needs, with different alert Types such as email, push notifications with your mobile phone, etc.
- Multiple User Interfaces:
You can access this software from the web interface, the enterprise console (native Windows application) and the apps (iOS and Android). All the interfaces can be used simultaneously.
- Cluster Failover Solutions:
The risk of a cluster being down is high, but PRTG allows failover tolerant monitoring, providing automatic failover handling. This is extremely helpful if the primary master of the cluster fails, another node will take over.
- Maps and Dashboards:
One of the most important features, because you can customize dashboards with the PRTG map designer, which can be created with HTML.
Here you can see the maps and dashboards of the PRTG:
- Distributed Monitoring:
You can use remote probes to distribute monitoring load and to monitor your LAN connection. Also, monitor several networks at the same time.
- In-Depth Reporting:
Reporting is another of the preferred features, you can personalize your reporting based on your needs. You can also export the reporting in many formats and schedule regular reports.
Implementation and System Requirements:
An advantage of this software is that the developer made it very easy to install, using a Step-by-Step installation wizard unlike some Open-Source monitoring tools on the market. You are fully guided by Modules to the installation by an e-learning module.
There are two installers for the PRTG: one for the Free Trial and Freeware version and one for the Commercial Version. If you have a Free Trial and you want to install the Commercial version, you just have to install it on the top of your trial.
It is important to know that you require to have a Windows machine to install this software, the recommended system requirements are specifically x64 PC/server hardware (not older than 2 years) or Windows Server 2012 R2 having .NET Framework 4.5 or later installed.
Many parameters should be taken into consideration for optimal performance and stability, but you can refer to the following sizing recommendations for the hardware of the PRTG server:
The price range depends on your needs and varies from a Free Version with includes Up To 100 Sensors FREE the way up to $1600, which includes 500 sensors and 1 server installation, to $60,000 including unlimited sensors and 5 server installations. If you need a personalized quotation you also have this option.
- Uses a combination of packet sniffing, WMI, and SNMP to report network performance data
- Fully customizable dashboard is great for both lone administrators as well as NOC teams
- Drag and drop editor makes it easy to build custom views and reports
- Supports a wide range of alert mediums such as SMS, email, and third-party integrations into platforms like Slack
- Supports a free
- Is a very comprehensive platform with many features and moving parts that require time to learn
Price & Download: Download Your 30-day Free Trial of PRTG and Get Started Today!
Download PRTG FREE TRIAL Now!
3. ManageEngine OpManager
OpManager, from ManageEngine, is a network management application which will help you manage network traffic, bandwidth usage, monitoring network devices such as routers, from one integrated platform. This tool is easy to use and doesn’t require any setup or consultation fee. You can monitor over 15,000 interfaces in just one minute.
With MangeEngine OpManger comes with a full router monitoring solution allows monitoring of critical WAN links and its routers. You can measure bandwidth and traffic in order to improve bandwidth allocation.
OpManager can check various features on router performance such as
- CPU Utilization
- Memory Utilization
- Temperature and Voltage
- CRC errors and Collisions
- Buffer statistics.
You can install ManageEngine OpManager in Windows and Linux OS. For more information, refer to the screenshot below.
You can check the complete list of the system requirements here.
- Supports a freeware version
- Uses both SNMP and NetFlow for monitoring giving it more coverage options than other tools
- Can scale easily, Enterprise package supports up to 10,000 endpoints
- Utilizes automatic network discovery to create live inventories and network maps for administrators to track assets and network size
- Viable for both large and small networks
- OpManager is dense with features, integrations, and settings, and may take time to fully learn
Price: You can get a Free Edition of OpManager, which includes monitoring up to 10 devices.
Then there are three editions of the Paid Version:
- Essential, which includes monitoring up to 1K devices from a single server
- Enterprise, which includes monitoring up to 50K devices or 100K interfaces from a single server
- Service Packs, for 12300 & above customers
Download A Free Version and Get Started Today:
Download OpManager Now!
4. Nagios Router Monitoring
- Monitor packet loss.
- SNMP status information.
- Bandwidth and traffic rate.
When the switch supports SNMP, Nagios is able to monitor the status of ports, so you don’t rely on IP. This is how Nagios will monitor your devices using SNMP.
Aside from monitoring your traffic going through your routers and switches, Nagios can also monitor their systems, protocols, applications, databases, logs, and bandwidth.
Implementation and System Requirements:
- Is open-source and completely free, with a paid option for enterprises
- Supports autodiscovery for easy device management
- Highly customizable and detailed dashboard
- Network mapping visualizations need improvement
- Not nearly as comprehensive as some of our top choices
- Must pay extra for support
Price: Nagios has four pricing options, depending on your needs:
You can get a free download for three of the above options
- Nagios XI: https://www.nagios.com/downloads/nagios-xi/
- Nagios Log Server: https://www.nagios.com/downloads/nagios-log-server/
- Nagios Fusion: https://www.nagios.com/downloads/nagios-fusion/
5. Zenoss Cisco Monitor ZenPack
The Zenoss solution ZenPack for Cisco Monitoring, provides performance monitoring and health checks for Cisco Layer 2, 3, and 4 devices, including virtual firewalls, virtual load balancers and vLANs. This tool collects events using syslog and SNMP traps. The solution support must Cisco devices, from ASA, ASR Catalyst, Nexus series.
Its comprehensive auto-discovery feature, allows easy and fast discovery of a router’s characteristics such as physical parameters (fans, chassis, power, voltage, temperature, fiber channel interfaces, modules, line cards) and also logical parameters, such as interfaces, port channels, QoS, VLANs, and VRFs.
The screenshot below shows the autodiscovery in action.
Zenoss models QoS class maps with network interfaces using the SNMP MIB (Management Information Base). You can search all modeled QoS class maps for each device.
- Discovery of physical and logical parameters.
- Monitoring of physical and logical parameters.
- Open-source, completely free tool with two paid options
- Uses network discovery to automatically pull in new devices that enter the network
- Supports Cisco Layer 2-4 devices
- Support only for paid tiers
- Dashboard interface needs improvement, specifically the nested menu options on the home screen
Price: Zenoss price should be requested, there are two options for Zenoss:
- Professional: For smaller, simpler environments with Limited data and Basic support.
- Enterprise: For larger, dynamic environments with Large-scale data and Premium support.
6. WhatsUp Gold Network Traffic Monitor
WhatsUp Gold Network Traffic Monitor is a network traffic and bandwidth analyzer. It will help you get a broad view of the traffic into your network, and see who are the top consumers, whether is a user, an application or a protocol. With this information in hand you can configure bandwidth usage policies and make sure that bandwidth is evenly distributed.
WhatsUp Gold Network Traffic Monitor is one of the best ways to avoid failures due to increased bandwidth usage.
- Network Traffic Visibility. Allows you deep insight into bandwidth consumption in order to provide a better performance to your infrastructure.
- Bandwidth Capacity Planning. Allows you to plan ahead your bandwidth needs, thanks to historical data and ongoing trends.
- Faster Troubleshooting. Knowing bandwidth consumption in detail helps to identify the source of a problem so you can provide a solution ahead.
- Find backups or file transfers running during peak load periods. So you can avoid overloaded bandwidth and bottlenecks.
- Track bandwidth high consumers like video streaming or gaming.
- Reprioritized authorized activities that consume a uneven share of bandwidth.
- Alerting features. Receive threshold-based alerts to your email.
- Reporting features. Reports that show who is using the most bandwidth (top consumers), for gaming, streaming, video-conferencing, etc.
Here is a screenshot of the dashboard:
Implementation and System Requirements:
WhatsUp Gold will run on Windows 7, 8.1, and 10. It requires Windows Server 2008 (32 and 64-bit), 2008 R2 (64-bit), 2012 (64-bit), and 2012 R2 (64-bit) and Windows 2016.
- Uses simple visualizations to help provide at-a-glance insights
- Supports modular pricing, allowing companies to pay only for features they intend to use
- Offers router monitoring alongside bandwidth management capabilities
- Modular upgrades might not be a good fit if you intend on utilizing all aspects of a networking monitor
Icinga is an open source infrastructure and service monitoring tool to monitor your network, servers and applications. The tool is easy to use and comes with pre-configured templates and plugins. Icinga can be configured in the most popular Linux distros, such as Ubuntu, SUSE, Debian and Red Hat (Fedora and CentOS).
Icinga is a great tool to monitor the status of your network devices, such as routers or switches. It can discover them either through pings or SNMP reply. Once discovered, the tool can quickly find parameters such as, packet loss and bandwidth.
Take a closer look at the software:
- Scalability: Scale up to thousands of nodes in a fast way.
- Web Interface: Analyze problems from the web interface anywhere and from any device.
- Flexibility: Write your own extension or choose from existing supported modules.
- Integrations: Integrate Inciga with your favorite workflows and tools.
- Cloud: Get a fully pre-configured monitoring stack from the cloud.
Implementation and System Requirements:
Icinga needs a quick configuration by editing the main Icinga config file, and then creating some object definitions. Although Icinga does not publish specific hardware requirements, the software can run pretty good on a quad-core processor with 4GB RAM
- Transparent and open-source tool
- Can be configured via GUI or DSL, making it a good choice for admins who enjoy CLI tools
- Supports built-in visual reporting
- Modules allow for different functionality, keeping the base installation sleek and lightweight
- Can run on Linux as well as Windows operating systems
- Reliant upon the open-source community for support and updates
- Designed for more technical users, other options have better out-of-box features
Price: Free and Open Source.
All of the above software are specially designed for different requirements of your networking equipment. Some are specific to monitor routers, firewalls, switches, etc. All of them offer great advantages to help your IT manager, making his life easier and allowing him to focus on other important day-to-day matters.
We suggest you Download a Couple of the Top Router and Switch Monitoring tools from Above to get a Feel for how they work in your Infrastructure and Environment before making a Decision – As they have different features and capabilities that differ from each other.
* We'll Be continually Updating this List as more software becomes available *
Router monitoring FAQs
How do you monitor a router?
You can monitor a router directly by connecting to it over the internet and accessing its management control panel. The exact range of information shown in this console and the menu location of performance data depends on your router’s make and model. The easiest way to monitor router health and performance is to use a network monitoring tool.
Can you monitor Internet traffic through a router?
All router types will give information on Internet traffic. If the router is being used as a gateway, it is only necessary to query the traffic statistics of one interface in order to get Internet traffic data. If the router is placed within the network, you should query traffic by source and destination IP address and aggregate data related to those packets that have addresses from outside the network.
How can I monitor free traffic on my router?
Traffic space that is still free and available for use can be calculated by accessing the capacity data for your router per interface and also the full CPU c\apacity of the device. Next, watch the live throughput statistics. The gap between current throughput and the device’s capacity is free for processing extra traffic.