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Your Guide to the Best Network Monitoring Tools

By: NetreoNoaa
February 5, 2021

Are you struggling with network issues?

Monitoring your network is essential if you want to make sure you are protecting your productivity. However, knowing where to start is a challenge. That’s why there are multiple network monitoring tools available, some od them even free. But how do you necessarily know which are likely to work best for you?

In this guide, we will look at some of the most popular paid and free network monitoring software available. We will also consider what each model does to help support network management in real-time.

If you are at the start of your network performance monitoring journey, make a point of considering the below. Don’t go it alone.

Network Monitoring Tools in the Cloud

There are many network monitoring solutions based in the cloud. While it may seem efficient to host your monitoring system in-house, this may not always be the case. In fact, statistics show the average company cloud budget is $2.2 million. More than a few businesses are taking off-site monitoring seriously.

One of the best-rated cloud network monitors is Datadog. Datadog receives positive reviews and praise from the likes of Comparitech for various reasons. However, it is the fact it offers a flexible cloud and hybrid monitoring service, which puts it ahead of the pack.

You can also use Datadog for traditional in-house resources. With remote working on the rise – by 44% in the past five years – the software also offers flexible off-site support. One thing to be mindful of is Datadog’s emphasis on application performance. While the tool gives deep APM visibility it only provides high-level views into your physical infrastructure and network resources.

Netreo’s cloud network monitoring tool is highly rated, allowing monitoring of every cloud resource a company has, as well as all of the on-prem infrastructures. Netreo also offers multiple deployment models if the cloud isn’t optimal for your business. In addition to its native cloud SaaS option, Netreo can be deployed on-prem or in hybrid form.

However, cloud network monitors come in various shapes and sizes. Another, for example, is Atera. Atera is a network monitoring platform that receives praise for its scalability. Again, it is cloud-based, and its main appeal lies in its broad approach to companies of all sizes.

Is the future of network monitoring in the cloud? Most probably. According to Rick’s Cloud, there are plenty of benefits. For one, it means your monitoring and management service is more autonomous.

Free Network Monitor Software – Is It Worth It?

When running a business, budgeting is everything. However, there is the argument that you need to pay in to get quality support. In some cases, however, you might find you can access free network monitor options.

Let’s take a step back. Will a free network monitor really give you the same insight as a paid program? There’s no guarantee. However, there are some systems and programs which probably do more than you expect them to.

Spiceworks, for example, seems to be a good choice. It’s popular with those businesses who only really need bare-bones services. However, the drawback is that it may not stand the test of time. However, what we like about Spiceworks is that it will adapt to other tools and software.

Vallum Halo, too, tends to be popular with experts. It’s also a free network monitor, providing you have fewer than 15 devices to monitor. It might work well for smaller businesses. However, there is the drawback that some paid services will offer a more generous array of alerts and reports.

Therefore, it’s worth taking any free network monitor with an open mind. It may work well for smaller businesses, but sustainably, larger firms are likely to need more support. That’s not to say there aren’t free network monitor options worth looking into!

Plenty of paid Network Monitoring software also have more flexible pricing options to meet your specific demands rather than a pricy blanket cost.

Scalable Monitoring

We’ve seen a few network monitoring packages in our guide so far, which scale flexibly depending on your needs. In the age of remote working AND IoT, that can only be a positive trait!

However, it’s also worth looking closely at top network monitoring tools that you can break down and add to. Nagios XL, for example, is a perfect example.

While Nagios XL may need a little more tweaking than other network monitors, it is one of the most flexible platforms. It’s unable to pick up on devices automatically. However, this may work in favor of smaller operators and businesses.

What’s more, as experts suggest, this platform offers flexible pricing. It is aimed at an audience wider than just entrepreneurs and smaller offices.

Similarly, Netreo has a flexible pricing, inclusive of all features. The platform is self-contained, and therefore there are no hidden costs, and they make it easy to figure out exactly how many licenses you need. From a scalability perspective, Netreo is built to manage environments of all sizes from hundreds of devices to millions.

Alternatively, SolarWinds generally picks up great reviews. Various experts refer to this as one of the top monitors outright. That, we can assume, maybe to do with the quick setup and the customization.

SolarWinds allows you to customize and tailor alerts, too. This feature is available with other scalable monitors. However, the popularity of SolarWinds seems to revolve around the fact that it has a tool for everyone. This doesn’t come without challenges, though. Pay attention to the tools you need and the number of devices you need to monitor. Adding to your Solarwinds subscription can prove costly.

Free Network Monitoring Tools - Netreo Monitoring Software

All-in-One Packages

When looking for the best networking monitoring services, you may find that you need to add a few plugins along the way. Many business owners will likely want to get up and running as soon as possible! Therefore, all-in-one packages may offer the best solutions. These are what you might call ‘plug and play’ programs.

One of the best, according to reviews, is the PRTG Network Monitor. PRTG aims to offer everything you need in one package. For example, you can request it to monitor bandwidth and cloud devices. It will also give you the data you need in clear visualizations and dashboards.

The most popular part of this may be that it’s free for 100 different sensors. However, this may not necessarily be enough for your needs, so it is worth keeping an open mind.

WhatsUp Gold is also well-known for its all-in-one approach. It’s a straightforward dashboard system complete with different apps that you can use to go mobile. What might appeal to the everyday user is the fact that it integrates well with third-party applications.

Netreo’s “single source of truth” approach is both useful and user-friendly for everyone in the company, with a single customizable dashboard that allows full-stack visibility.  

There is no harm in taking up a monitoring solution that requires additional pieces. However, an all-in-one solution may offer you the out of the box support you need to get started. It’s likely to be a good beginner approach.

Real-Time Protection

Arguably, networks need monitoring 24/7. A piece of software may give you valuable insights, but if this is several hours after the fact, data may no longer be useful. Therefore, software such as Microsoft’s Network Watcher may appeal to you.

This is an Azure based system. Its main draw lies in its real-time data, though many will find its no-login approach a breath of fresh air. TechRadar, for example, states that routine checks are no longer necessary.

Companies such as Netreo predict issues themselves long before the first complaints. It also has dynamic automation, customizable alerts, and extensible ITSM integration to help you act intelligently.

Real-time network monitoring is not always a feature you can expect from the software. However, other top-rated software such as Pulseway are making it more of a default option.

Pulseway is popular for its network monitoring and built-in CRM. It also lets you tie-in end to end protection from third party providers. Not only can you track networks in real-time, but you can also take back control of your invoicing and admin too.

You may expect to pay more for more features, which is likely to be the case, more so, for bigger programs. However, real-time overviews are becoming increasingly commonplace. 

Mobile Network Monitoring App Platforms

The mobile app, of course, is as big as ever. Statistics suggest that there will be more than 352 billion downloads by the end of 2021. Regardless, it is a safe assumption that many businesses rely on networking and monitoring via apps.

For the most part, the network monitor apps available through Android and iOS app stores are free. However, their scope can vary from software to software. For example, 3G Watchdog Pro, while well-rated, only takes a look at mobile internet usage.

Other network monitors and software with strong reviews include Fing and Netreo. Fing, again, is a free model, and it gives you scope into IoT or Internet of Things devices. Crucially, what Fing aims to do is provide you with insight into the IoT pieces connecting via your wireless network.

Netreo’s mobile application works as an extension of their regular platform, without the need for extra VPNs or servers. The app works without additional setup and grants visibility to the entire Netreo UI. The app also functions as an out of band notification system in case of a failure of email or internet connection. 

It is worth keeping in mind that not all mobile apps will offer the same scope as all-in-one monitors. Many are smaller options for individuals or smaller offices. However, you may also find that there are network monitoring packages that come with apps included, too!

Choosing the Best Network Monitoring Software

As you can see, there are many different types of network monitoring platforms available. Some will work better for bigger companies. Others, meanwhile, offer scalability and customization to appeal to entrepreneurs.

It is, therefore, important to consider what you need from a network monitor. Is it merely the case that you need additional malware support? Are you increasing the volume of your IoT devices? You may also be considering the merits of a cloud-based service.

In any case, comparing the best monitors is purely common sense. Pricing alone won’t dictate which platforms are likely to fit your needs the best. You need to think about real-time data, remote accessibility, and ease of setup.

We hope you’ve found this guide to the best network management solutions helpful. As we move into 2021, it’s safe to say that there will be more choices emerging. Make sure to consider your own needs for efficiency and network protection. A bespoke or scalable option could be just what you and your team need.

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