Let’s face it. Running a network is often thankless work.
About the best you can hope for is for nobody to notice what you’re doing. Because when everything works, everyone’s mind is on their own job.
But when it doesn’t work? Suddenly there’s a whole business on your shoulders. Everything needed to be fixed yesterday and the whole office is on your case.
Now here’s the good part. There are awesome to help you solve all the problems before they happen. It gets better: some of the best of this stuff is free.
Here are 5 of the best network administration tools you can get for zero dollars.
If you’ve done any kind of network administration before, you probably already know about Wireshark. But no list of network administration tools would be complete without it.
Wireshark is the world’s most widely used network packet analyzer. It allows you to capture the data traveling back and forth on your network, and then filter and inspect individual packets. This makes it incredibly useful for network troubleshooting.
Wireshark runs on Windows, MacOS, Linux and other Unix-like operating systems including BSD and Solaris. It is widely accepted as an industry standard.
Microsoft’s Process Monitor, often abbreviated as “ProcMon”, displays in real-time all the file system, registry and process activity on a Windows operating system. It’s extremely useful for troubleshooting and for finding the root cause of a problem.
Angry IP Scanner
Angry IP Scanner is an IP address and port scanner available for Windows, MacOS or Linux.
It’s extremely handy for discovering any rogue devices that shouldn’t be on your network, or to map out an unfamiliar network.
Angry IP Scanner is extremely lightweight, and the executable file can be run without any installation required, which can be incredibly convenient in disaster recovery situations.
Nmap: the Network Mapper
Nmap is a security scanner used to discover hosts and services on a network.
And for whatever reason, whenever Hollywood wants to show someone doing some hardcore computer wiz stuff, they use Nmap – you can see it in action in some big films, like The Matrix Reloaded and The Bourne Ultimatum.
It turns out though that Nmap is so much more than a movie prop. It’s incredibly useful for network inventory and to monitor host or service uptime.
Nmap can also be used to query network devices for outdated software and firmware. This makes it a great tool to audit the security of your devices and firewalls.
This software can potentially be used by hackers to spot vulnerabilities. That’s why it’s a great idea to keep your network secure by spotting these vulnerabilities first.
Nagios is a widely used free and open source network monitoring tool.
You can set it up to send you alerts whenever there’s a problem with a server, switch, application or service. This makes your day to day work life so much easier.
It means that by the time you start getting those frantic phone calls, text messages and emails, you won’t be caught off guard. You can honestly say that you’re already aware of the problem and the fix is on its way.