Network Traffic Monitoring: The 8 Best Tools Available to You | Scalyr (2023)

Sales, pre-sales, human resources, the company cafeteria: they’re all online. If the network is down, employees are angry and customers have gone elsewhere.

That’s why network traffic monitoring is a critical part of maintaining a healthy enterprise. In other words: by monitoring what goes through your network, you increase the chance of detecting and fixing issues. Therefore, network traffic monitoring prevents network downtime. However, as you’ll soon see, there’s more to it than that.

This post is about network traffic monitoring as a concept. Moreover, it also covers the tools you should be aware of. Firstly, we’ll cover how to proactively watch systems, and why it’s important.

After that, we’ll also review a list of the best tools available to monitor your network traffic. That way, you can find the system that best suits your individual needs.

Network Traffic Monitoring: The 8 Best Tools Available to You | Scalyr (1)

Why Network Traffic Monitoring?

Fixing network problems when they happen isn’t good enough. IT managers have to proactively watch systems. They have to prevent potential issues before they occur.

In other words, this means observing network traffic. It also includes measuring utilization, availability, and performance.

Therefore, a useful monitoring tool offers these features:

  • real-time network monitoring
  • an ability to detect outages in real time
  • a mechanism for sending alerts
  • integrations for network hardware, such as SNMP and NetFlow monitoring

Available Tools

This is a list of the best tools for monitoringyour network traffic. Several of them are sold as SaaS. Others are sold for running on-premises. Also, a couple of them are open-source with optional commercial versions.

All of these tools offer more than just network monitoring. For instance, they also offer varying degrees of system, web, and application performance monitoring too.

Also, bear in mind that the tools are listed in no particular order.

Monitis

Network Traffic Monitoring: The 8 Best Tools Available to You | Scalyr (2)
(Video) Top 10 Network Monitoring Tools & Software

Monitis is a SaaS offering that has been around for more than a decade. You can get your network traffic monitoring up and running with it in minutes.

In addition, Monitis also offers custom plans. Those are based on the number of nodes in your network and the type of monitoring you desire. The system supports agent-based and agentless monitoring of a wide variety of devices.

Monitis supports SNMP too. Also, it offers users:

  • a browser-based management console
  • monitoring for users, websites, servers, applications, and networks
  • 30+ locations around the world for running availability checks
  • Detailed reporting based on preset and custom date ranges on up to two years of data

Monitis will send alerts via several channels. For instance:

  • email
  • SMS
  • telephone
  • Google Talk
  • Twitter

In addition, Monitis can also post alerts to a web URL that you define.

It also integrates with Pager Duty. Except for Spiceworks Network Monitor, Monitis is the most basic tool on this list.

ManageEngine OpManager

Network Traffic Monitoring: The 8 Best Tools Available to You | Scalyr (3)

OpManager is a software application that runs on-premises. OpManager is a fully-featured monitoring platform. However, it has a strong emphasis on network traffic monitoring.

Ops Manager has explicit support for real-time monitoring, threshold-based alerts, and a built-in set of troubleshooting tools. It can send alerts via email and SMS.

Some key features in OpManager are the following:

  • correlating related events in the management console to detect patterns
  • highly customizable management interface
  • real-time network graphing for statistics such as bandwidth utilization on network ports
  • built-in network tools such as ICMP ping and traceroute thatsimplify the process of troubleshooting problems
  • complete SNMP integration

OpManager is a complete network management tool. It boasts a client list that includes NASA, DHL, and AT&T.

A trial version is available for download. Licensing is based on the number of nodes you want to monitor.

(Video) How to monitor your network for free with Zabbix

Zabbix

Network Traffic Monitoring: The 8 Best Tools Available to You | Scalyr (4)

Zabbix is an open-source monitoring platform. It comes with a complete set of networking traffic monitoring features. You can download it and install it yourself. Alternatively, you can purchase consulting support, or buy a turnkey solution.

Zabbix has broad community support with extensive online documentation. In addition, it also has an extensive collection of plug-and-play “templates” for network hardware.

The templates support major vendors like Cisco, Brocade, Netgear, and HP. Among Zabbix’s major networking features are:

  • active and passive scanning of network hardware and servers
  • automatic detection of new devices and configuration changes
  • tools for building predictive functions based on historical data
  • full SNMP integration with templates for conventional network equipment

A version of Zabbix forthe cloud is in beta.

Logic Monitor

LogicMonitor is another SaaS offering. It’s a complete solution for system and network monitoring.

LogicMonitor has an extensive list of integrations. For instance,Slack and Pager Duty for messaging. The system can alert your team using email, SMS, and its integrated messaging system.

Logic Monitor includes these features:

  • interface metrics, such as throughput, error rates, and utilization statistics
  • automatic discovery of network devices and interfaces
  • profiles for monitoring VOIP, QOS settings, and wireless access points
  • predictive alerting andtrend analysis
  • SNMP integration

Logic Monitor is sold in three licensing tiers. Therefore, so you can customize your system to your network size.

Nagios and Nagios XI

Network Traffic Monitoring: The 8 Best Tools Available to You | Scalyr (6)

Nagios is another open-source project. It’s available both as a free or a supported product.

(Video) Simple Bandwidth Monitoring - Four Great Open Source tools for monitoring your system bandwidth.

The open-source project is called Nagios Core. It is a platform you can configure using open-source plugins. These plugins cover thousands of network traffic monitoring situations.

Network Traffic Monitoring: The 8 Best Tools Available to You | Scalyr (7)

On the other hand, Nagios XI is a commercial fork of the open-source project. It’s available as a licensed application with a variety of support options. Most importantly, both the open source and commercial variants applications run on-premises.

There are differences between the two versions. For instance, Nagios XI has a network analyzer package with features specific to network traffic monitoring. On the other hand, Nagios provides:

  • monitoring of network services
  • a browser-based management console
  • a simple plugin for custom service checks
  • Alerts via email, SMS, and user-defined scripts.
  • the ability to define event handlers to be run during service or host events for proactive problem resolution
  • extensive device support via SNMP

Paessler PRTG

Network Traffic Monitoring: The 8 Best Tools Available to You | Scalyr (8)

PRTG Network Monitor is an application that is available as both a download or a hosted application. It runs on a Windows server. However, it can be viewed from any browser. in addition, it can be viewed on Android and IOS apps.

PRTG will send notifications to many destinations. Those include:

In addition, Paessler has impressive online documentation on their site.

PRTG network monitor offers:

  • network traffic monitoring
  • in-depth reporting features
  • a customizable network map
  • SNMP management and monitoring

Paessler licenses PRTG Network Monitor on a per-node business. In addition, Paessler also offers a collection of freeware monitoring tools.

WhatsUp Gold

Network Traffic Monitoring: The 8 Best Tools Available to You | Scalyr (9)

Ipswitch’s WhatsUp Gold is an on-premise networking monitoring solution. It provides status and statistics for network devices, servers, storage, and wireless access points.

(Video) NTopNG - A Free, Open Source, Self Hosted, Network Monitoring and Analysis Tool.

In addition, it has an add-on for network traffic analysis. It provides data about bandwidth utilization for individual devices.

WhatsUp Gold can send alerts via SMS, Slack, email, and application alarms. Moreover, it has a comprehensive list of features, including:

  • automated network discovery
  • customizable dashboards
  • network traffic analysis
  • SNMP integration

WhatsUp Gold is licensed based on the number of nodes you wish to monitor.

Spiceworks Network Monitor

Network Traffic Monitoring: The 8 Best Tools Available to You | Scalyr (10)

Spiceworks Network Monitor is a free tool. It’s available for Windows and Linux. It offers basic monitoring capabilities via SNMP versions one and two.

Spiceworks works well with more network hardware. However, it has sponsored advertisements, since it’s free. Spiceworks Network Monitor sends alerts via email. In addition, it can alert you inside the application as well.

In conclusion, we can say Spiceworks is a basic network monitoring application. Its main features are:

  • real-time monitoring for servers, switches, and any IP device that support SNMP
  • support for up to 25 devices
  • very easy installation and configuration procedures

Conclusion

Selecting a network traffic monitoring tool requires thought. You’ll find that there are many good tools available. More importantly, each of them has its strengths and weaknesses.

The good news is the best have free trials. In addition, they also have good online documentation. So, use that to your advantage. Find the tool that best suits your individual needs.

(And remember: it doesn’t matter how you monitor your network traffic. You can always incorporate it as a Scalyr data source).

Speaking of which: don’t you use Scalyr? Then, we invite you to give it a try today.

FAQs

Which is the most common tool used for network monitoring? ›

SNMP: The Simple Network Management Protocol, a.k.a. SNMP, is one of the most common network monitoring protocols. SNMP can be used for polling (a monitoring station queries a network device) and notifications (a device sends an SNMP TRAP or INFORM to a monitoring station).

How do I choose the best network monitoring tool? ›

Networking monitoring tool features

The interface should include a Dashboard with easy-to-read graphs and tables that provide different views of network status; it should also have a network topology map -- or the ability to generate one -- as well as commands for modifying network settings and troubleshooting issues.

What are the tools used in monitoring? ›

The M&E Overview discusses:
  • Performance indicators.
  • The logical framework approach.
  • Theory-based evaluation.
  • Formal surveys.
  • Rapid appraisal methods.
  • Participatory methods.
  • Public expenditure tracking surveys.
  • Cost-benefit and cost-effectiveness analysis.

How many types of monitoring tools are there? ›

There are three basic categories of monitoring; technical monitoring, functional monitoring and business process monitoring.

What are the 4 types of monitoring? ›

We describe and label four types of monitoring—surveillance, implementation, effectiveness, and ecological effects—that are designed to answer very different questions and achieve very different goals.

What are the types of network monitoring? ›

4 categories of network monitoring
  • Availability monitoring. Availability monitoring is the simplest way for network teams to know if a device is up and operational. ...
  • Configuration monitoring. ...
  • Performance monitoring. ...
  • Cloud infrastructure monitoring.

What are the 5 different types of network management? ›

These operational areas are fault management, configuration management, accounting management, performance management and security management, also known as FCAPS.

Why are network monitoring tools important? ›

Network monitoring gives you the visibility you need to stay one step ahead of potential issues. By showing live network performance data in an easy-to-read interface, network monitoring software helps you identify outages that could cause bottlenecks.

What is the seven monitoring tools? ›

Recognizing the need is easy, but choosing which monitoring tool or set of tools to use can be difficult. The seven tools I wrote about here – Datadog, Ruxit, OverOps, Rollbar, Sensu, ELK Stack, and Graphite – are worthwhile tools to check out.

What are the 6 steps in the monitoring procedure? ›

Steps
  1. Step 1: Identify Program Goals and Objectives. ...
  2. Step 2: Define Indicators. ...
  3. Step 3: Define Data Collection Methods and TImeline. ...
  4. Step 4: Identify M&E Roles and Responsibilities. ...
  5. Step 5: Create an Analysis Plan and Reporting Templates. ...
  6. Step 6: Plan for Dissemination and Donor Reporting.

What are the 4 steps of monitoring? ›

Top 4 Project Monitoring Steps
  • Step 1: Designing an Efficient Plan For Monitoring. ...
  • Step 2: Designing Effective Report Management Mechanism. ...
  • Step 3: Recommendations For Project Improvement. ...
  • Step 4: Ensuring Guidelines And Recommendations Are Followed Accordingly.
13 Oct 2015

What is network monitoring systems? ›

Network monitoring is the process of constantly monitoring a computer network for problems such as slow traffic or component failure.

What are the examples of monitoring? ›

The Periodic tracking (for example, daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly, annually) of any activity's progress by systematically gathering and analyzing data and information is called Monitoring.

What are the 5 elements of condition monitoring? ›

Condition Monitoring consists of five key elements:
  • Site Assessment.
  • Fleet management.
  • Equipment Inspections.
  • Preventative Maintenance.
  • Fluid Sampling & Analysis.

What are the 4 Golden signals of monitoring? ›

The answer is with the four Golden Signals: latency, traffic, error rate, and resource saturation. In this blog, we explain what the Golden Signals are, how they work, and how they can make monitoring complex distributed systems easier.

What are the three monitoring methods? ›

In the world of monitoring and evaluation (M&E) three approaches can be identified: result-oriented, constructivist and reflexive (see table p.

What are the six 6 basic network security measures? ›

Here are six essential measures needed to keep your network safe.
  • Keep Informed. ...
  • Educate Your Team. ...
  • Know Avenues of Attack and Preempt Them. ...
  • Install Antivirus and Other Security Programs. ...
  • Make Sure Your System is Physically Secure. ...
  • Test Your Security. ...
  • About the Author.

What are the 8 types of networks? ›

  • Personal Area Network (PAN) ...
  • Local Area Network (LAN) ...
  • Wireless Local Area Network (WLAN) ...
  • Campus Area Network (CAN) ...
  • Metropolitan Area Network (MAN) ...
  • Wide Area Network (WAN) ...
  • Storage-Area Network (SAN) ...
  • System-Area Network (also known as SAN)
10 Jun 2016

What are the 7 practical steps for networking? ›

Here's 7 Steps to Networking Effectively:
  • Networking is about contact. It's eye contact, face-to-face contact, phone contact, e-mail contact. ...
  • Be the one to initiate. Keep your eyes and ears open to prospects. ...
  • Be bold. ...
  • Anticipate discomfort. ...
  • Expect acceptance. ...
  • Pass it on. ...
  • Always respond.
12 Sept 2017

What are the key features of network monitoring tool? ›

The 7 Key Features for Network Monitoring Solutions
  • Real-time performance metrics. ...
  • Automatic device discovery. ...
  • Intelligent alerts. ...
  • Issue diagnosis and root cause analysis. ...
  • Network maps. ...
  • Customizable dashboards. ...
  • Natural scalability.
10 Mar 2020

How do monitoring tools work? ›

In this system, each monitored device has monitoring software installed that sends information about the device's performance to a central SNMP manager. The manager collects this information in a database and analyzes it for errors. This is the most widely used protocol for modern network management systems.

What is the main purpose of monitoring? ›

Monitoring allows results, processes and experiences to be documented and used as a basis to steer decision-making and learning processes. Monitoring is checking progress against plans. The data acquired through monitoring is used for evaluation.

What tool is used to check networks? ›

Ping is a network administration utility or tool used to test connectivity on an Internet Protocol (IP) network. It also measures the latency or delay between two computers.

Is ping a network monitoring tool? ›

Using a ping scanning software tool to monitor your devices can tell you whether a device is up or down. Monitoring your network in this way gives you a clear perspective of the health of your key devices which in turn assures the stability of your network connections.

Which technology is used for monitoring network? ›

Performance monitoring

Data is collected using SNMP, Windows Management Instrumentation (WMI), the CLI or telemetry. Network devices and Linux-based endpoints typically rely on SNMP or telemetry for data collection, while Windows-based devices rely on the WMI remote protocol.

What is the tool used for server monitoring? ›

Dynatrace is a full-fledged server performance monitoring tool available in both software as a service (SaaS) and on-site models. With the ability to monitor server metrics as well as server logs, Dynatrace should meet most of your monitoring needs.

What are the six tools used for troubleshooting? ›

Some of the basic network troubleshooting tools are as follows:
  • Ping.
  • Tracert/ Trace Route.
  • Ipconfig/ ifconfig.
  • Netstat.
  • Nslookup.
  • Pathping/MTR.
  • Route.
  • PuTTY.

How can I check my network traffic? ›

You can proactively test network and load balancing by tracking UDP/TCP packets, which will give you insight into how your network performs under specific traffic load conditions, and you can study network activities without using real traffic.

How can I monitor my network remotely? ›

6 Best Tools for Remote Network Monitoring and Management
  1. SolarWinds ipMonitor (Lightweight and Affordable Solution)
  2. SolarWinds Network Performance Monitor (Comprehensive Solution)
  3. Domotz.
  4. ManageEngine OpManager.
  5. Intermapper Remote Access.
  6. Nagios XI.
31 Mar 2021

What is network traffic monitoring? ›

Network traffic monitoring is the process of analyzing, diagnosing, and resolving network usage issues that impact the security and performance of applications running on the network.

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