Best Network Monitoring Tools

Here is our list of the best network monitoring tools:

  1. Auvik EDITOR’S CHOICE A leading SaaS network management solution. Quick to deploy, based around a network mapper, and simplifies network monitoring for both MSPs and in-house IT teams. Enables centralized system management in one location. Start a 14-day free trial.
  2. SolarWinds Network Performance Monitor (FREE TRIAL) Far more than just a simple scanner. Most network security issues arise when configurations are changed and SolarWinds NPM identifies changes and can automatically resolve many. Download a 30-day free trial.
  3. Paessler PRTG Network Monitor (FREE TRIAL) Free network monitoring software that uses SNMP, packet sniffing, and WMI to monitor your network. Access a 30-day free trial.
  4. Datadog Network Monitoring (FREE TRIAL) Provides a great visual overview of your network components and the network traffic flows between each component. This division of system monitors from a cloud platform provides device health checks and traffic flow analysis. Start a a 14-day free trial.
  5. ManageEngine OpManager (FREE TRIAL) A network monitor that can monitor SNMP devices, switches, servers, and virtualized network services. Get access to the 30-day free trial.
  6. Domotz (FREE TRIAL) This SaaS platform offers a range of network monitoring services from SNMP polling to security scanning.
  7. Checkmk (FREE TRIAL) A system-wide monitoring service, not just for networks, and it is available in free and paid editions. Runs on Linux or a physical appliance.
  8. NinjaOne RMM (FREE TRIAL) This RMM based package provides managed service providers with tools to look after networks and endpoints. Delivered from the cloud.
  9. Site24x7 Network Monitoring (FREE TRIAL) A combined IT infrastructure, applications, and user behavior monitoring service available in the cloud.
  10. Fortra’s Intermapper (FREE TRIAL) This straightforward tool starts off with an autodiscovery tool and maps your network and then offers constant performance monitoring.
  11. ExtraHop Reveal(x) This network security monitoring service scans for threats and suspicious behavior in real time. Available as a SaaS package or a network appliance.
  12. Zabbix Open source network monitoring software with SNMP and IPMP monitoring. Includes an alerts system and community plugins.
  13. Catchpoint Network Experience This module is part of a SaaS package of full stack monitoring tools that track the delivery of Web applications.
  14. Nagios Core One of the top open-source network monitoring tools. Includes a dashboard view, alerts system, community plugins, and more.
  15. Icinga Open source network monitoring system with a DSL. Includes extensions.

The best network monitoring tools

As part of our comparison we’ve looked out for important network management platform features such as SNMP, network mapping, uptime/downtime, alerting, bandwidth monitoring, network health, dashboards, and more to highlight tools with an exceptional user experience.

Our methodology for selecting network monitoring tools

We’ve broken down our analysis for you based on these key criteria:

  • An autodiscovery system to log all network devices
  • A network topology mapper
  • The ability to collect live network devices statuses by using SNMP
  • A facility to analyze network performance over time
  • Graphical interpretation of data, such as charts and graphs
  • A free trial period, a demo, or a money-back guarantee for no-risk assessment
  • A good price that reflects value for money when compared to the functions offered

The tools reviewed here include a combination of free, paid, and open-source software for Windows, Mac, and Linux.

Features Comparison Table

Product/Features

Auvik SolarWinds NPMPaessler PRTG Network MonitorDatadogManageEngine OpManagerDomotzCheckmkNinjaOne RMMSite24x7Intermapper Reveal(x)
SNMP DataYesYes
Customizable
YesYes
Polls OIDs
YesYesYesYesYesYesYes
AutodiscoveryYes
Collectors
Yes
Device level
YesYes
Dynamic
YesYesYesYesYesYesAvailable
Network MappingYesYesYes
Automatic & Interactive
YesYes
Automated & Custom
Yes
Automated
Yes
Automated
Yes AutomatedYes
Automated
Yes
Automated, Constantly refreshed
Yes
Custom
AlertsYesYes
By Default & Custom
Yes
Automatic & Thresholds
YesYes
Notification profiles
Yes
Email, Mobile push
Yes
Device level
Yes By Default & CustomYesYes
Performance-based
Yes
Threshold, Trend, and Detection
SaaS/On-PremisesSaaSOn-premisesOn-premises, SaaS availableSaaSOn-premisesSaaSOn-premises, SaaS availableSaaSSaaSOn-premisesHybrid
OSCloud-basedWindows ServerWindows ServerCloud-basedLinux, Windows Server, Azure, and AWSCloud-basedLinuxCloud-basedCloud-basedWindows, Linux, or macOSCloud-based
Free Trial Period14-days30-days30-days14-days30-days14-days30-days14-days30-days30-daysOn request

1. Auvik (FREE TRIAL)

Tested on: Cloud/SaaS

Auvik Network Monitoring
The main dashboard features detailed mapping and graphical performance over time

Auvik is a cloud-based network monitoring system that includes a number of system management tools. The package is accessed through a Web browser and when you open an account, the setup process installs collectors on your system. The Auvik package is able to monitor multiple sites and centralizes their control. This makes the package ideal for monitoring a WAN.

The service provided by Auvik begins with a network discovery process. This automatically populates all of the base information needed for the monitor to work. The discovery service is continuous, so it will spot when new devices are added to the network.

Key features:

  • Automated setup
  • Network mapping
  • Resource utilization alerts
  • Configuration management

Unique feature

Auvik’s automated network mapping provides a visual representation of the network infrastructure, which includes devices, connections, topology, network traffic and configuration history. Network administrators find its color-coded status indicators particularly helpful.

Why do we recommend it?

The great feature of Auvik that I found is that its higher plan provides both traffic analysis and network device performance monitoring. From its cloud location, this package can watch over multiple sites, providing alerts that buy time to head off system disasters.

Auvik colour-coded network mapping
You can drill down on each device on the map and explore it’s connectivity

As a cloud-based system, Auvik is designed for remote system monitoring – even your home network is remote to the processes on the Auvik servers. Network monitoring works on a system of thresholds. The service tracks a list of metrics on network activity and a threshold for resource usage or system performance is added to each of these conditions. If that threshold level is passed, the Auvik service will generate an alert. This means that your team of technicians doesn’t need to pay attention to the network unless a problem arises.

The Auvik service can be expanded through the use of third-party tools for which the network monitor has integrations. There are two plan levels for Auvik – Essential and Performance. The Performance plan is the higher plan and it offers traffic analysis functions and Syslog management on top of the network monitoring services that are available in the Essentials plan.

Who is it recommended for?

I feel that multi-site businesses would benefit most from the Auvik service. This network monitoring package enables you to centralize system management in one location.

Pros:

  • The monitoring package is able to monitor many networks on different sites and unify their data
  • The console is browser-based and can be accessed from anywhere
  • This system offers out-of-the-box performance thresholds but it is also possible to create new rules
  • Automated system asset inventory creation and maintenance
  • Traffic analysis features in the higher plan

Cons:

  • This service is the only package offered by Auvik, so there are no related services to add on

Auvik doesn’t publish its prices. Your buyer’s journey begins by requesting a 14-day free trial and seeking a quote.

Auvik Network Monitoring Start 14-day FREE Trial

2. SolarWinds Network Performance Monitor (FREE TRIAL)

Tested on: Windows Server

SolarWinds Network Performance Monitor
The main dashboard monitors the availability and performance of connected network devices from a holistic perspective.

SolarWinds Network Performance Monitor is a comprehensive network performance monitoring tool that can monitor the status of devices with SNMP. It can automatically discover network devices connected to your network.

When we tested Network Performance Monitor we found the following key features and a unique feature as compared to other reviews in this post.

Key features:

  • SNMP monitoring
  • Automatically discovers connected network devices
  • Network packet analysis
  • Intelligent network maps with NetPath
  • Create WiFi heat maps
  • Alerts system
  • Reports system

Unique feature

A unique feature of SolarWinds is its NetPath tool. This is like the TraceRoute function that is available in other tools on this list, such as PRTG and Site24x7. However, NetPath shows the route as a visual representation.

SolarWinds NPM Network Summary
The network maps show broken connections that need attention in red.

Why do we recommend it?

The SolarWinds Network Performance Monitor is an automated tracking system that identifies all devices connected to the network, maps them, and watches out for performance issues. This system will alert you of gathering problems and send a notification. Alongside solid vulnerability scanning and advanced options to create and monitor policies, this is by far the top choice for network monitoring systems.

Any devices, applications, or services that have been discovered can also be viewed on a network topology map where you can see how your infrastructure links together. The NetPath feature allows you to trace packet transfers hop-by-hop, which can help to diagnose the origin of performance network issues more effectively.

The custom alerts system enables you to set trigger conditions for alerts. Once the trigger conditions are met the software will send you a notification by email or SMS to let you know that an event has taken place. The user can view a comprehensive list of alerts according to severity by going to the All Active Alerts page.

Who is it recommended for?

I was impressed how this tool automates network monitoring – it even sets itself up, so it is suitable for all sizes of enterprises because it doesn’t require specialized network management knowledge to operate. Alerts mean that you can assume everything is running OK unless you get a notification, so you can spend your time on other issues and let the NPM take care of the network. Our testing surfaced the following pros and cons for NPM.

Pros:

  • Designed with large and enterprise networks in mind
  • Supports auto-discovery that builds network topology maps and inventory lists in real-time based on devices that enter the network
  • Has some of the best alerting features that balance effectiveness with ease of use
  • Supports both SNMP monitoring as well as packet analysis, giving you more control over monitoring than similar tools
  • Uses drag and drop widgets to customize the look and feel of the dashboard
  • Robust reporting system with pre-configured compliance templates

Cons:

  • This is a feature-rich enterprise tool, small LANs and operations may find it overwhelming

The price of SolarWinds Network Performance Monitor starts at $2,995 (~£2,350). You can download the 30-day free trial.

SolarWinds Network Performance Monitor Download a 30-day FREE Trial

SolarWinds Network Performance Monitor can rotate between SNMP monitoring to packet analysis with ease, giving you control over what segments of your network you monitor.

It gives detailed insights into what causes network slowness and allows you to quickly resolve the root causes using deep packet inspection. By identifying network traffic by application, category, (business vs. social), and risk level you can eliminate and filter problem traffic and measure application response time. With a great user interface, this is an excellent choice for packet sniffing and network analysis.

You can enhance network monitoring by adding on the NetFlow Traffic Analyzer, which is able to extract traffic statistics from switches and routers. The two systems can be bought together in the Network Bandwidth Analyzer Pack.

Network Bandwidth Analyzer Pack Get a 30-day FREE Trial

Related post: SolarWinds Network Performance Monitor – Full Review

3. Paessler PRTG Network Monitor (FREE TRIAL)

Tested on: Windows Server

Paessler PRTG
PRTG’s characteristic gauge style visualizations have become a mainstay for network administrators.

PRTG Network Monitor from Paessler is a free network monitoring suite that uses SNMP, packet sniffing, and WMI to monitor your network. Scan network segments to discover and add devices to monitor. You can choose between a range of sensors to monitor various segments of your network. Each sensor monitors an individual value in your network, for instance, there are Bandwidth Monitoring Sensors, Hardware Parameters Sensors, network data usage meters, SNMP sensors, VOIP and QoS sensors, and more.

Key features:

  • SNMP monitoring
  • Bandwidth monitoring
  • Scan for network devices by IP segment
  • Custom dashboards
  • Threshold-based alerts system
  • Reports system
  • Customizable network maps

Unique feature

Of the on-premises packages on this list, I found that PRTG is probably the best option for response time monitoring for websites. The PRTG system includes a Web Page Sensor for recording the load times of pages. You can use it on demand or set it to run on a schedule. I also found that the bundle includes a Ping-based availability monitor for websites. The website monitoring sensors can all be included in the free edition of the PRTG system.

Paessler PRTG Cloud HTTP sensor
The dials indicate how close each device and process is to it’s maximum capacity.

Why do we recommend it?

Paessler PRTG is a very flexible service. You can choose which sensors to turn on and create your own tailored monitoring system for networks, servers, and applications.

I was impressed with the great visualization, the tool has a customizable dashboard that allowed me to produce real-time network maps of our infrastructure. You can create maps with the drag-and-drop editor and use over 300 map objects to build the map. You can even create your own map objects with custom HTML.

The threshold-based alerts system keeps you updated if the status of a sensor changes, a value changes or a threshold is breached. Notifications are available in a variety of formats including email, push notification, SMS, Slack message, Syslog message, SNMP trap, HTTP action, execute program, and more.

Who is it recommended for?

The comprehensive nature of PRTG provides extensive monitoring for all categories of IT systems, which makes this a good choice for large organizations. However, the free option, which is limited to 100 sensors, is very appealing to small businesses.

Pros:

  • Uses a combination of packet sniffing, WMI, and SNMP to report network performance data
  • Full 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
  • Each sensor is specifically designed to monitor each application, for example, there are pre-built sensors whose specific purpose is to capture and monitor VoIP activity
  • Supports a freeware version

Cons:

  • Is a very comprehensive platform with many features and moving parts that require time to learn

PRTG Network Monitor is a must-try for enterprises looking for cost-effective but comprehensive network monitoring tools. The platform is available for free for less than 100 sensors, after which you have to pay. Paid versions start at $1,600 (~£1,335) for 500 sensors and 1 server installation. The software for PRTG runs on Windows Server and you can get it on 30-day free trial.

PRTG Network Monitor from Paessler Download 30-day FREE Trial

Related post: Paessler PRTG Network Monitor – Full Review

4. Datadog Network Monitoring (FREE TRIAL)

Tested on: Cloud/SaaS

Datadog Network Monitoring
The network devices are color-coded for easily identifying problematic connections

Datadog Network Performance Monitoring is a cloud-based SaaS infrastructure monitoring service that examines network traffic flows. It is partnered by a Network Device Monitoring service, which focuses on the statuses of each device on the network, such as switches, routers, and appliances.

Key features:

  • Live network mapping and protocol analysis
  • Alerts on performance thresholds that are adjusted through machine learning
  • Correlation with data from SNMP and other sources

Unique feature

Datadog offers out-of-the-box integration with hundreds of popular services and platforms, ranging from web servers, databases, cloud services, and even specific software like Shopify and WordPress allowing teams to monitor and analyze data from different sources.

Why do we recommend it?

You can choose to subscribe to device monitoring, traffic monitoring, or both with this flexible package. The cloud location of Datadog Network Monitoring enables it to monitor any network anywhere in the world from one operations center.

Datadog real-time network insights
It is easy to identify the stressed connections that are adding load to the network

The Network Performance Monitor is able to blend together the network monitoring effort for many sites and also include cloud resources. As a SaaS package, the service includes the processor to run the monitoring software and storage space for gathered statistics. As well as displaying live statuses, this network monitoring service offers packet capture and analysis utilities.

By combining both the Network Performance Monitor and the Network Device Monitor, you get complete oversight of your networks. The system implements an autodiscovery function on enrollment that identifies all of the devices connected to your network. The service creates an IT asset inventory and then generates a network topology map from that. The autodiscovery process repeats continuously, so any changes you make to your infrastructure are automatically reflected in the network inventory and the topology map.

The Network Device Monitor uses the Simple Network Management Protocol (SNMP) to query switches and routers for status reports. These reports are interpreted, providing live device health data on the screen. This system also gathers information about each device, such as make, model, age, and processor capacity.

Each network device has an SNMP agent preloaded onto it by its manufacturer and if that program spots a problem with the device it sends out a notification. The Datadog Network Device Monitoring service picks up those messages and displays them in the system console as alerts.

The alerting mechanism in Datadog Network Device Monitoring can be extended to generate an alert if any of the metrics that the system gathers passes a specified threshold. You can set up your own thresholds to get alerts on any condition that you choose. The alerting system is also available in the Network Performance Monitor so traffic limits will be highlighted when bottlenecks start to form.

You can set up an alert forwarding rule so that you can receive notifications by email, SMS, PagerDuty message or Slack message. This means that you can leave the two network monitoring systems to automatically monitor the network because you know that you will be notified if human attention is needed.

The traffic monitoring services in the Network Performance Monitoring module don’t just count packets circulating around the network. It is also able to identify data traffic within a virtualization system and it can perform activity monitoring for containers. The tool extends to cloud services, where it is able to show you the traffic in and out of each of your cloud-based accounts.

Who is it recommended for?

Centralized data centers would benefit most from the Datadog Network Monitoring service. The package can be set up remotely to monitor any network without any site visit.

Pros:

  • Autodiscovery to create a network asset inventory, which is constantly updated
  • Monitoring for network devices through SNMP
  • Network topology mapping
  • Alert notifications by SMS, email, Slack, or PagerDuty
  • Monitoring for traffic patterns, including activity within virtualizations
  • A cloud-based system with storage space for metrics included

Cons:

  • A longer trial period would be nice

Datadog Network Performance Monitoring and Datadog Network Device Monitoring are just two modules on the Datadog platform. These systems work well together with other Datadog monitors, which include the Synthetic Monitoring service and the Datadog APM. You can try any and all Datadog units with a 14-day free trial.

Datadog Network Performance Monitoring Start 14-day FREE Trial

5. ManageEngine OpManager (FREE TRIAL)

Tested on: Linux and Azure

ManageEngine OpManager
This customizable dashboard allows you to focus on your unique areas of interest

ManageEngine OpManager is a network monitoring solution that can monitor the performance of network devices, servers, routers, switches, and virtual machines in real-time. Customizable dashboards provide over 200 widgets for you to create a unique monitoring experience.

Key features:

  • Automatic discovery
  • Network mapping
  • SNMP monitoring
  • Email and SMS alerts
  • Customizable dashboards

Unique feature

Unlike the other on-premises network monitoring tools on this list, OpManager isn’t limited to network hardware tracking because it also monitors servers. The server monitoring facilities in the OpManager system record important resource metrics such as CPU, memory, and disk capacity and utilization.

ManageEngine OpManager Server Monitoring
An intuitive visualization of server loads

Why do we recommend it?

The ManageEngine OpManager system is one of the few detailed network monitoring systems that offers a graphical user interface for Linux. While most Linux network monitors are command-line systems, the high-quality graphs and charts of OpManager make status recognition easy.

SNMP monitoring keeps you updated on the performance of devices within your network. For increased visibility, you can use the network mapping feature to automatically discover and map new devices. You can schedule network discovery to find new devices once they’re added to your network.

We tested the alerts system which helps you to respond to performance changes quickly. It worked flawlessly. ManageEngine OpManager correlates network events and only presents relevant alerts to the user while minimizing false positives. The program sends alerts by email and SMS to keep you updated on any emerging problems.

ManageEngine OpManager is an all-in-one network monitor that is recommended for users that want a simple infrastructure monitoring tool.

Who is it recommended for?

This software package installs on Linux, Windows Server, Azure, and AWS. Although it works well on all these platforms, of all the network monitoring systems designed to run on Linux, ManageEngine OpManager is considered to be the best option.

Pros:

  • Designed to work right away, features over 200 customizable widgets to build unique dashboards and reports
  • Leverages autodiscover to find, inventory, and map new devices
  • Uses intelligent alerting to reduce false positives and eliminate alert fatigue across larger networks
  • Supports email, SMS, and webhook for numerous alerting channels
  • Integrates well in the ManageEngine ecosystem with their other products

Cons:

  • Is a feature-rich tool that will require a time investment to properly learn

ManageEngine OpManager is an all-in-one network monitor that is recommended for users that want a simple infrastructure monitoring tool. Paid versions start at $245 (~£195) for 10-1,000 devices up to $11,545 (~£9,000 for 250-10,000 devices. You can download the 30-day free trial.

OpManager from ManageEngine Download 30-day FREE trial

Related post: ManageEngine OpManager – Full Review

6. Domotz (FREE TRIAL)

Tested on: Cloud/SaaS

Domotz Network Monitoring
The icon style dash neatly categorizes the different facets of the network topology

Domotz is a cloud-based system that offers network monitoring. It can unify the supervision of multiple networks and also has a multi-tenant configuration for use by managed service providers.

The system is accessed through an attractive cloud-based console with any standard Web browser. Setting up an account involves installing an agent on a host that is connected to the network that is going to be monitored. The package also includes network and endpoint management tools and workload automation facilities.

Key features:

  • Network autodiscovery
  • Automated network mapping
  • IT asset inventory
  • SNMP-based device monitoring

Unique feature

Domotz’s strong emphasis on remote access and management capabilities. You can securely connect to devices on their network from anywhere in the world, facilitating remote troubleshooting and configuration –  especially beneficial for MSPs and businesses with multiple locations.

Domotz remote inventory monitoring
Assets and network stress points are easily identified

Why do we recommend it?

This cloud-based system can be accessed through any standard Web browser and it can monitor multiple sites simultaneously. Once we were granted access to a site, the autodiscovery feature of Domotz compiled and maintained an inventory and network map.

The Domotz package has a large number of features. The tool is centered on network monitoring via SNMP and other network protocols. This includes the possibility to easily configure SNMP sensors and alerts. You can also specify your own alert conditions.

SNMP reports enable the system to compile an asset inventory and draw up a network map. These services are updated with every SNMP agent response cycle. The information attached to each node in the map and the inventory list details the make and model of each divide and its capacity.

The package also includes a switch port mapper, and management tools within the package allow the remote access and configuration management of network devices. IoT services can also be accessed and controlled remotely. The system is able to cross network platforms to access wireless networks and devices, through hundreds of integrations and the possibility of implementing customized monitoring drivers.

Who is it recommended for?

Domotz offers a multi-tenanted version that is a good fit for use by managed service providers. In-house operations teams could also use this system for multi-site monitoring.

Pros:

  • Live network monitoring
  • Historical data for analysis
  • Multiple user accounts per client
  • Merges the monitoring of multiple sites
  • Encryption to protect interactions between the platform and the network
  • More than 500 integrations with third-party tools

Cons:

  • No endpoint agent for macOS

There are two editions to Domotz. The first of these has a stated price tag of $21 per month per network. It doesn’t matter how many endpoints or users there are on each network. This is called the Pro account and it is a month-to-month subscription system so there are no long-term prepayments or lock-in periods to deal with. The top plan adds on an account manager at Domotz and longer data retention periods. This is the Enterprise plan and it is priced by negotiation. You can try Domotz on a 14-day free trial.

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7. Checkmk (FREE TRIAL)

Tested on: Linux Server

Checkmk Dashboard
Visually identify stress points over different time scales

Checkmk is a system monitoring package that is able to track the performance of networks, servers, and applications. The network monitor can be used for LANs and wireless networks, so it can also be useful for following activity on networks that use both wired and wireless technology.

Key features:

  • Monitors servers and applications as well as networks
  • Network discovery
  • Network topology map
  • Wired and wireless networks

Unique feature

Checkmk stands out due to its automated service discovery for infrastructure monitoring simplifying the initial setup and any ongoing management. When you connect Checkmk to a server, it automatically detects the server’s operating system and the services running on it, and then suggests appropriate checks for those services.

Checkmk Automated Service Discovery
Warnings are suggested through frequent discovery scanning

Why do we recommend it?

Checkmk Raw is a fantastic system monitoring package for free. This system covers wireless networks as well as LANs and it will track traffic patterns along with network device statuses.

On testing, this network monitoring system started its service by searching the network and identifying all connected devices. The package compiled a device inventory from the results of this search and the resultant list of equipment formed the basis of the network monitoring dashboard’s status reports. The package also created a live network map.

The base package of Checkmk is completely free to use. There is also a paid version of the system, called Checkmk Enterprise, which has an edition that caters to managed service providers.

As a free tool, the basic service is very attractive to small businesses and companies on a tight budget. The monitor queries switches, routers, and firewalls through the SNMP system. All of your network devices will already have SNMP agents installed on them but that function might need to be enabled. The Checkmk software polls agents for status reports. The responses get compiled into live reports on network readiness and capacity performance.

The dashboard allows network managers to get an overview of all activity and then has a number of options to drill down through to reports on individual devices both live and over time. The Checkmk package also offers bandwidth monitoring, which gives you indicators on where device and cable capacity is not enough to cope with demand.

Who is it recommended for?

The Checkmk Raw system is an ideal solution for small businesses and startups that are operating tight cost controls. The device-based option for the paid Checkmk Enterprise keeps servers free for application hosting.

Pros:

  • Both network performance and bandwidth utilization monitoring
  • Locally hosted software
  • A good deal for small businesses
  • Alerts for device problems
  • Integrated server and application performance monitoring

Cons:

  • This is a copy of Nagios Core, which is an impressive rival

The paid version of Checkmk is priced on a sliding scale based on the number of hosts that are on the monitored network. Access the free version, which is called Checkmk Raw to assess the package. Both Checkmk Raw and Checkmk Enterprise run on Linux. The Enterprise edition can also be bought on a physical appliance. There is a 30-day free trial available for Checkmk Enterprise

Checkmk Start 30-day FREE Trial

Related post: Network Configuration Management Software

8. NinjaOne RMM (FREE TRIAL)

Tested on: Cloud/SaaS

NinjaOne Network Monitoring - Organizations
Problem areas of the network are color-coded and easy to see

NinjaOne RMM provides remote monitoring and management services from a cloud platform. This system can be accessed from anywhere through any standard Web browser, so your business doesn’t need any special equipment or even servers to administer multiple remote networks.

Key features:

  • Autodiscovery
  • Device status monitoring
  • Traffic analysis

Unique feature

The RMM is a multi-tenanted package for use by managed service providers. The MSP creates a separate sub-account for each client, keeping the data of each client’s services separate. Each client can also have several sites enrolled in the monitoring package.

NinjaOne Endpoint Management
You can drill down to the device’s IP address and file level

Why do we recommend it?

NinjaOne RMM optimizes the productivity of your IT support technicians. Alerts in the package mean that no one needs to sit and watch the activity on each remote site because the technical team will be notified if a problem arises. The system checks for network device availability and tracks traffic throughput volumes.

When an MSP has a new client to monitor, a technician needs to install a NinjaOne agent on a computer connected to the remote network. This agent sends out requests for network service status reports and then forwards the received data to the NinjaOne server.

Those device reports reveal what equipment is on the network. On testing, NinjaOne RMM compiled a hardware inventory from that information. As well as reference information, the tool brought back live device activity data, which it displayed in the dashboard. Those reports contain more data sets than the console can display and we got the opportunity to customize the dashboard to choose the metrics that you believe are important.

Each of the gathered statistics can have performance thresholds placed on them and when these levels are crossed, the system triggers an alert. The RMM also collects traffic through data using the NetFlow, J-Flow, sFlow, and IPFIX protocols. These statistics can also have alert thresholds placed on them.

Who is it recommended for?

The NinjaOne RMM is designed for use by managed service providers. However, there is nothing to stop IT departments from using the platform for in-house monitoring. We found that the tool can monitor multiple sites simultaneously and it also includes endpoint monitoring and management systems, such as a patch manager.

Pros:

  • Monitors multiple sites simultaneously
  • Sub-accounts to keep the data of each client separate
  • Automated inventory management and status polling
  • Traffic throughput analysis
  • Alerts that can be sent by email or SMS

Cons:

  • No public price list as you need to get a custom quote

G2’s 11-time consecutive acknowledgment placed NinjaOne atop in RMM, Patch Management, and Endpoint Management. You can get a custom quote for NinjaOne based on your needs. You can start by registering for a 14-day free trial.

NinjaOne Start 14-day FREE Trial

9. Site24x7 Network Monitoring (FREE TRIAL)

Tested on: Cloud/SaaS

Site24x7
Network Alerts are prominently displayed and colour-coded

The Site24x7 cloud-based network monitoring tool that covers IT infrastructure, applications, and user behavior. The network monitoring section of the tool is able to automatically discover all devices attached to the network. Site24x7 compiles an equipment inventory from the results of that search and then draws up network topology maps automatically. The inventory and maps all get updated automatically whenever equipment gets added, moved, or removed.

Key features:

  • All-in-one solution with automatic network discovery
  • Real-time application and network device monitor
  • Powerful reporting, analytics, and alerts

Unique feature

Each package of Site24x7 includes website monitoring tools that exceed basic connectivity and availability checks. The package also checks connections to cloud platforms. So, Site24x7 offers the monitoring of internet links as well as local networks.

Site24x7 Website Uptime Monitoring
A summary view of a device’s characteristics and status

Why do we recommend it?

The Site24x7 Network Monitoring service is bundled in with other monitors for servers, applications, and Web assets. You choose which services to track and set up performance thresholds that trigger alerts.

The autodiscovery feature of Site24x7 is driven by the Simple Network Management Protocol (SNMP). This system is built into all network devices. It just needs an SNMP manager to request status information from the agent software that is loaded onto every switch and router by their manufacturers. Site24x7 fulfills that SNMP manager.

SNMP includes a procedure that allows device agents to send a notification to the manager when it discovers a critical condition on the device that it is monitoring. This message gets converted into a warning or an alert by the Site24x7 dashboard, depending on the severity rating marked on the message from the agent.

Site24x7 monitors switches, routers, firewall appliances, power supplies, load balancers, wireless networks, cloud services, and WAN connections. It isn’t a bandwidth traffic monitor. The monitor focuses on connected hardware. A wider view of the Site24x7 package shows that the system also monitors other hardware, such as endpoints and servers. It also tracks the performance of applications. A user behavior module in the package is of particular use to businesses that run websites. It includes real user monitoring to analyze typical buyer journeys and also synthetic web transaction monitoring, which simulates access to a website.

Who is it recommended for?

The plans of Site24x7 are particularly strong on Web application monitoring and combine those services with network and connection testing services. Therefore, businesses that run websites would benefit from choosing this option.

Pros:

  • One of the most holistic monitoring tools available, supporting networks, infrastructure, and real user monitoring in a single platform
  • Uses real-time data to discover devices and build charts, network maps, and inventory reports
  • Is one of the most user-friendly network monitoring tools available
  • User monitoring can help bridge the gap between technical issues, user behavior, and business metrics
  • Supports a freeware version for testing

Cons:

  • Similar to other tools higher on this list, it’s a very detailed platform that will require time to fully learn all of its features and options

Site24x7 offers a free network monitoring service. However, this is just a straightforward Ping-based uptime monitor for up to 50 URLs or servers. The cloud platform offers a range of system monitoring and management tools and these are packaged in editions. There are five editions in total:

  • Website Monitoring
  • Infrastructure
  • APM
  • All-in-one
  • MSP

All of these packages include the network monitoring service. Each of the Site24x7 plans is available on a 30-day free trial.

Site24x7 Network Monitoring Start 30-day FREE Trial

10. Fortra’s Intermapper (FREE TRIAL)

Tested on: Windows Server and Linux

Fortra Intermapper Screenshots
Comprehensive maps and time graphs at your fingertips

Fortra’s Intermapper offers a network map on its main screen. However, we found that this tool offers more than just a visual representation of your network. For a start, that network map is derived from an autodiscovery function. The network probe cycles around constantly and if any changes occur in the network’s layout, the network map is updated automatically. The system operates around the clock.

Key features:

  • Autodiscovery
  • Constantly refreshed network map
  • SNMP-based network monitoring
  • Performance alerts
  • Capacity planning tool

Unique feature

Real-time, visual insights on the network’s health helps identify bottlenecks, spot device failures, and give better clarity on the impact of any network changes.

Fortra Intermapper real-time network map
Drill down to see each device’s connections and characteristics

Why do we recommend it?

Intermapper crowds a lot of information onto one screen, which saved me time looking through network performance information because I didn’t need to switch pages in the interface. The Intermapper implemented autodiscovery and created a rudimentary map to illustrate live performance status reporting.

The network map operates as a menu to details on each of the devices on the network. Click on an icon to see the activity on that particular node. You will see throughput data as well as status reports.

I was able to set performance threshold levels on each of the metrics that the monitor tracks, such as CPU capacity or interface throughout. This helped me monitor availability and other SLA-related conditions because the system will raise an alert if one of those thresholds gets tripped.

You can set up the preferences in the system so that Intermapper will send you an email or a text message if an alert occurs. That means that I didn’t have to sit and watch the network monitoring screen all of the time.

Who is it recommended for?

Fortra Intermapper is a free tool, so it is a great option for businesses that are trying to tighten spending. This is an on-premises package and it is one of the few network monitoring systems that will run on macOS – it is also available for Windows and Linux.

Pros:

  • Doesn’t need a server for a host – a PC is fine
  • Constant automated monitoring
  • Live time series throughput graphs
  • Free version available

Cons:

  • No cloud version
  • Free edition limited to monitoring five devices

Fortra’s Intermapper is on-premises software and it will install on Windows, Linux, or macOS. There is a free version available that will monitor up to five devices. The paid version has scaleable pricing that starts with ten devices. You can choose between a subscription or a perpetual license. The paid version of Intermapper is offered on a 30-day free trial.

Fortra's Intermapper Start a 30-day FREE Trial

11. ExtraHop Reveal(x)

Tested on: SaaS

ExtraHop Reveal x
Key Stats and processing times are prominently displayed numerically

ExtraHop Reveal(x) is a network security monitoring system that is able to block the threats that it identifies. This tool uses AI to spot illogical or non-standard behavior that can indicate account takeover or an insider threat. The service operates an anomaly-based detection method.

Key features:

  • Multi-site operations
  • Spots rogue devices
  • Device discovery

ExtraHop Revealx Network Monitoring

Why do we recommend it?

ExtraHop Reveal(x) provides a constantly updated network inventory and will immediately spot unauthorized devices on the network. It also uses anomaly detection to identify intrusion and insider threats. The package provides important network detection and response (NDR).

On testing, the ExtraHop service set itself up by scanning the network and creating an inventory of all connected devices. The tool then operated as a packet sniffer and protocol analyzer, categorizing all traffic on the network. User and Entity Behavior Analytics (UEBA) recorded activity metrics per user account and IP source.

Response mechanisms in Reveal(x) can be set up to run automatically. These use orchestration to shut down threats by coordinating with third-party systems. The ExtraHop platform is also available in an edition to protect cloud systems.

Who is it recommended for?

ExtraHop Reveal(x) is probably a little too complex for the needs of small businesses. However, mid-sized and large companies will benefit from using this network security monitoring system.

Pros:

  • User and Entity Behavior Analytics (UEBA)
  • Automatic network discovery
  • Identifies rogue devices

Cons:

  • No price list

ExtraHop Reveal(x) is offered as a SaaS platform. It is also possible to get the system as a network appliance. You can examine ExtraHop by accessing a demo.

These demos are:

  • Demo
  • Self Guided Demo
  • Guided Live Demo

12. Nagios Core

Tested on: Linux/Unix, Windows VMWare

Nagios XI
For those that prefer bar charts and color-coded device alerting

Nagios Core is an open-source network monitor that has a web interface for monitoring network performance. Through the user network interface, you can monitor your Current Network Status with your Host Status Totals and Network Service Status Totals broken down at the top of the page. The GUI is color-coded so you can easily see elements that are unavailable or compromised.

Key features:

  • Performance dashboard
  • Alerts system
  • Availability reports
  • Capacity planning
  • Community-created plugins
  • APIs

Nagios Core Network Monitoring

Why do we recommend it?

Nagios Core is one of the most reliable and respected open-source IT asset monitoring packages that will monitor networks, applications, and servers. This version of Nagios is free to use but you should also consider the paid Nagios XI edition.

We were able to track performance events through the alerts system, which sent out notifications by email and SMS. You can view the Alert History section to see what alerts were created and when. The list of alerts is also color-coded making it easier to prioritize critical alerts.

We were able to use APIs to integrate other network services. If you require more functions then you can also check the thousands of community plugins available on the Nagios Exchange to help you add additional functions. For example, there is a check SNMP CPU load plugin that allows you to monitor the SNMP load or CPU usage of your network device.

Who is it recommended for?

Nagios Core doesn’t have a proper user interface but it has a very flexible and powerful discovery and data-gathering engine. Therefore, it is a good option if you want to create your own monitoring application with a free data representation tool, such as Kibana or Prometheus, and feed in data from this tool.

Pros:

  • Open-source transparent tool
  • Simple, yet informative interface
  • Flexible alerting options support SMS and email
  • Robust API backend makes it a great option for developers who want to integrate their own custom applications

Cons:

  • Open-source version lacks quality support found in paid products
  • Installation can be technical and complex

Nagios Core is an excellent free network monitoring software however the setup can be slightly more hands-on than other products on this list. Download Nagios Core for free, or depending on your needs, see how it compares with Nagios XI. Both versions of the package run on RHEL, Ubuntu, CentOS, and Debian Linux. The software will run on Windows over a VMWare or Hyper-V hypervisor.

13. Catchpoint Network Experience

Tested on: Cloud/SaaS

Catchpoint Network Experience
Clear layout dashboard that is easy to drill-down

Catchpoint Network Experience is one of the four performance monitoring module on the cloud-based Catchpoint platform. The purpose of the Catchpoint system is to ensure the successful delivery of Web applications. The platform is offered as a single package rather than individual module purchases.

Key features:

  • Internet connectivity checks
  • BGP assessments
  • Assesses ISPs and other services

Catchpoint Network Experience Network Monitor

Why do we recommend it?

Catchpoint Network Experience is intended for use as part of a suite of tools that ensures the successful delivery of Web pages and other Web applications. Therefore, this tool is excellent for checking on the successful delivery of Web systems. It forms part of a monitoring chain that can quickly identify the root cause of performance issues.

The other modules in the Catchpoint platform are an application monitor and real user and synthetic monitoring tools for Web applications. The network service checks on the performance of connections to the different servers that contribute to the successful delivery of a Web page and its contents. These other servers include content delivery networks (CDNs), DNS servers, and serverless hosts of the microservices that get triggered by user interactions within a Web page.

The Network Experience system also analyzes the activities of virtual networks, such as Secured Access Service Edge (SASE) and SD-WANs. It will identify performance issues with remote access and site-to-site VPNs and then trace through a LAN to the Web servers that hold the company’s websites.

Who is it recommended for?

The full Catchpoint platform is specifically designed to track the performance of websites, so it isn’t a good choice for businesses that need a LAN monitoring service. Businesses that host their own sites will be the most suitable customers for the Catchpoint system. However, those companies that use hosting services and CDNs to optimize delivery can also benefit from the Catchpoint service.

Pros:

  • Tracks website delivery performance
  • Root cause analysis
  • Virtual network performance monitoring

Cons:

  • Not suitable for LAN monitoring

Although Catchpoint is a SaaS package, it does have an onsite element, which is called the Enterprise Node. This installs on one of your servers and manages the monitoring of your Web host and the network links between it and the outside world. This agent runs on RHEL and CentOS Linux. It can also be run as a virtual appliance over Hyper-V or VMware. Catchpoint is available for a 14-day free trial.

14. Icinga

Tested on: Windows and various Linux Distros

Icinga
Network alerts and stressed devices are prominently displayed

Icinga is an open-source network monitoring tool that monitors the performance of your network, cloud-service, and data center. The software is web-based and can be configured through the GUI or with the Domain Specific Language (DSL). Having the choice between the two gives you the power to monitor however you want.

Key features:

  • Web-based GUI
  • DSL configuration available
  • Dashboard
  • Icinga Modules / Extensions

Icinga Network Monitor

Icinga was developed as an improvement to Nagios and that background gives this system a big advantage over many of the other tools on this list. It is completely free to use, just like Nagios Core but, like Nagios XI, it has a useful graphical user interface that is delivered with pre-written screens but is also customizable. Icinga is still compatible with Nagios plug-ins, so users of this system can enhance the monitoring tool from Nagios Exchange as well as with plug-ins from the much smaller Icinga Exchange.

Why do we recommend it?

We love that Icinga is a free, open-source monitoring package for networks, applications, and servers. It was developed by a team of Nagios creators who were unhappy with the direction of that system’s evolution.

You can log in to the GUI and use the dashboard to view an overview of performance management. The dashboard displays whether there are any problems with performance or availability and color-codes them according to severity. Critical or Down network devices are marked in red.

Extensions or Icinga Modules, allow you to add more functions to the program. For example, the Icinga Module for vSphere allows you to monitor virtual machines and host systems. There is a range of community-created plugins you can download for free from the Icinga Exchange.

Who is it recommended for?

As it is open source, Icinga can be rewritten and its compatibility with Nagios means that it can be extended by the free plug-in library of that rival system. These features make it great for network engineers with programming skills who want to create a bespoke network monitoring tool.

Pros:

  • Transparent 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

Cons:

  • Reliant upon the open-source community for support and updates
  • Designed for more technical users, other options have better out-of-box features

Overall, Icinga is a scalable solution that gives you control over how you manage your environment. Icinga is available for Debian, Red Hat, SUSE, Ubuntu, Fedora, OpenSUSE, Raspbian, and Windows. You can download the free trial version.

15. Zabbix

Tested on: Linux/Unix

Zabbix
More generic visuals and less customizable than other tools in this list

Zabbix is an open-source free network monitoring tool that combines network, server, cloud, application, and services monitoring into one unified solution. Zabbix uses SNMP and IPMP to monitor your network. The autodiscovery feature automatically locates network devices and adds them to be monitored. The tool can also detect configuration changes automatically so you can tell if a network device has been updated.

Key features:

  • Autodiscovery feature
  • SNMP and IPMP monitoring
  • Application monitoring
  • Server monitoring
  • Network monitoring templates
  • Automatic detection of configuration changes
  • Alerts system

Zabbix Network Monitor

Why do we recommend it?

Zabbix is a free tool that can be expanded by templates. This service can monitor networks, servers, and applications and it uses SNMP to discover and monitor network devices.

Network monitoring templates make it easy to configure the program for monitoring. For example, there are preconfigured templates for vendors such as Cisco, Hewlett Packard Enterprise, Dell, Intel, Netgear, and more. If you require more variety then you can access even more community templates form the Zabbix community site.

To ensure that you can respond to alerts in time, Zabbix has a notification system. Alerts are sent by email, SMS, messenger, jabber, or custom scripts to update you on evolving network security events. The notification content can be customized according to the recipient to make sure that the point of contact has everything they need to reopen intelligently.

Who is it recommended for?

Zabbix is a Linux-based on-premises package and its competitive edge against many of the tools on this list is that it is free to use. The screens for this system contain great data visualization features and they can be customized, which makes this one of the easiest tools to tailor without the need for technical abilities.

Pros:

  • Open-source transparent tool
  • Uses both SNMP and IPMP for a broader monitoring range
  • Can detect new devices and configuration changes immediately
  • Offers useful templates for quick insights
  • Robust notification system supports SMS, email, custom script, and webhook

Cons:

  • Interface isn’t as intuitive as solutions such as Datadog or Site24x7
  • Would like to see better-alerting features, specifically related to reducing false positives

Zabbix is one of the top Linux network monitoring tools on the market. Autodiscovery and templates make the program straightforward to deploy. The software for the package is installed on Linux, macOS, and Unix. Although the main server for Zabbix isn’t available for Windows, there is an agent program that enables it to monitor Windows endpoints over a network. You can download the software for free.

Related post: Nagios vs Zabbix

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