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10 Best Network Monitoring Tools

written by

Jack Foster

last updated

April 1, 2021

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All connected organizations need to monitor their networks to ensure efficient operation. There are lots of great tools out there to help you with this. However, with so many options to choose from, it can feel impossible to know where to begin!

Don’t worry, though, as I have got you covered. I’ve tried out all of the main network monitoring tools so that you don’t have to. Continue reading to discover my take on the best options out there.

What is network monitoring?

In today’s world, “network monitoring” is widely used throughout the IT sector. It is a critical process where all of the network components are monitored to maintain and optimize their use. This includes the likes of servers, firewalls, switches, and routers. Of course, your VPN is also part of your network. You shouldn’t run into too much trouble if you use a well-known and established VPN, such as NordVPN. You can read my review on NordVPN here

One vital element of network monitoring is that it needs to be proactive. Locating performance problems and bottlenecks in a proactive manner will help you to find issues at the initial stage. This can prevent significant failures or downtime.

Some of the critical parts of network monitoring are as follows:

  • Establishing thresholds
  • Monitoring the essentials
  • Choosing the correct protocol
  • Optimizing the monitoring interval
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Finding the best network monitoring tool

There are many different specialist functions that make up the network monitoring tools available today. This means that there are a lot of factors that I recommend considering when choosing software. For example, I always start by finding out what areas of my network the tool will help me to monitor. Does it cover everything I need? Will it pick up on any potential problem?

The size of your network and business is what really matters here, as this is going to determine the extent of the network monitoring tools you require. Other factors to consider include the number of people in your admin team, your budget, and the make-up of your network.

So, while I cannot make up your mind for you, I can tell you all about the different features and my own personal experience with the most popular network monitoring tools out there. I hope that this guides you to the right network monitoring software for your specific requirements. 

SolarWinds Pros:

SolarWinds Cons:

#1 | SolarWinds Network Performance Monitor

There is only one place to begin when it comes to network monitoring tools in my opinion, and that’s with SolarWinds! One of the leading global producers of IT management software, SolarWinds has a great reputation in the industry, and their Network Performance Monitor helps you to understand the health status of all of your devices.

Solarwinds

You can use SolarWinds to monitor network equipment, such as switches and routers, as well as office equipment, such as printers, and mobile devices, desktop PCs, terminals, and much more. 

I really enjoy using the SolarWinds dashboard, as you get a thorough set of tools so that you can customize the way you view your network and the reports that are produced. 

Network Performance Monitor and all of the other infrastructure management systems are written in Orion. This means that you can use Network Performance Monitor alongside other modules and software without issue.

Main features of SolarWinds Network Performance Monitor 

There are so many features of Network Performance Monitor that it is difficult to know where to begin. With SolarWinds, you can make the most of deep packet inspection and analysis, cloud server monitoring, LAN monitoring, link analysis software, network device scanner, and much more. You have everything you need to ensure your entire network is healthy. 

How much does SolarWinds Network Performance Monitor cost?

Network Performance Monitor is not the cheapest. Prices  increase based on the size of your network. How does SolarWinds determine the size of your network? Well, they look at how many elements your network has. Elements are split into the following:

  • Volumes, i.e. the logical disks you monitor
  • Nodes, i.e. network equipment
  • Interfaces, i.e. virtual and physical interfaces, as well as switch ports

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WhatsUp Gold Pros:

WhatsUp Gold Cons:

#2 | WhatsUp Gold

WhatsUp Gold is another great network monitoring tool that comes with everything you need to manage your full IT infrastructure and network activities. It provides tools for monitoring, visualizing, and discovering your network devices, as well as displaying connections between devices and monitoring the status of your network. 

whatsup gold

Main features of WhatsUp Gold

WhatsUp Gold will automatically determine devices in your network, including workstations, data centres, VMware, physical servers, and much more. Using just a single map, IT administrators can manage cross-device connections at your business. They can also generate performance reports using the personalized dashboard, disable or enable connected devices, and monitor network traffic. 

How much does WhatsUp Gold cost?

You have to get in touch with WhatsUp Gold for a quote, as it depends on the number of devices you’re going to add. The price starts at $2,740 for 25 devices. 

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Idera Pros:

Idera Cons:

#3 | Idera Uptime Infrastructure Monitor

Idera Uptime Infrastructure Monitor is a locally-hosted, browser-based network monitoring tool. It is one of the more complex monitoring tools out there, and a lot of people will need install agents to extract the most from the software. However, a lot of business owners will tell you that it is worth it. 

idera

One word of warning, though; you will definitely need to use a VPN because this is an on-premises product. NordVPN or ExpressVPN are great options in this regard.

Main features of Idera Uptime Infrastructure Monitor

This tool is highly scalable and it gives you full visibility and control over the capacity, availability, and performance of your Information Technology environment. The holistic dashboard provides comprehensive and integrated monitoring, as well as reporting and alerting for all servers, applications, network devices, virtual machines, and physical servers in the one place. 

How much does Idera Uptime Infrastructure Monitor cost?

You can try Idera for free on-site, and the price you ultimately pay will depend on the number of devices you add and the suite of tools you choose to use, as there are a lot of different options.

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LogicMonitor Pros:

LogicMonitor Cons:

#4 | LogicMonitor

LogicMonitor is a mature and well-known web and application management suite and network monitoring tool. If you have a considerable asset infrastructure in the cloud, LogicMonitor would certainly be a tool that I would recommend. Unlike most of the other agentless systems out there, LogicMonitor is actually a SaaS system. The result is a solution that gives you the best of both worlds! 

logicmonitor

Main features of LogicMonitor

There are a lot of exciting features that you can expect from LogicMonitor. Some of the stand-out features in my opinion include the following:

  • Configuration monitoring
  • Dynamic services monitoring
  • Database monitoring 
  • Storage monitoring
  • Server monitoring
  • Network monitoring
  • Container monitoring 
  • Cloud monitoring 

How much does LogicMonitor cost?

LogicMonitor offers a number of different packages. With regard to their Hybrid Infrastructure Performance Monitoring core package, they have the Pro plan for up to 199 devices and the Enterprise plan for over 200 devices. Both plans require you to get in touch for a quote, yet there is a 14-day free trial available.

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Datadog Pros:

Datadog Cons:

#5 | Datadog Network Performance Monitoring

Datadog Network Performance Monitoring makes it easy for you to monitor network behaviour on-the-cloud. I found it very effective in terms of giving me full visibility into the performance of all of my applications. 

datadog

With this software, you will get an overview of a product to a single SQL query, with app errors and performance correlated with infrastructure events and metrics. This makes it easy for you to monitor containers or hosts, as well as identifying performance bottlenecks in infrastructure or code. 

Main features of Datadog Network Performance Monitoring

The main features of this software can be split into five key categories, which are as follows:

  • Visibility – You can monitor network traffic between availability zones, containers, services, and any other tag on Datadog.
  • Unification – You can lower MTTR with a single-source truth for your full organization.
  • Modernization – Harness containers, microservices, the cloud, and devices without sampling or any blind spots.
  • Live mapping – A live network map gives you a full picture of all dependencies in one place.
  • Deployment – Simple onboarding combined with lightweight eBPF-based agent enables you to keep your systems fast.

How much does Datadog Network Performance Monitoring cost?

In terms of pricing, you have two different options. The first is to pay per host, per month, with prices starting at $5 per month. The second is to pay per device, per month, with prices starting at $7 per month. Please note that the lowest prices are reserved for those paying annually. Therefore, if you were to pay on demand, the prices would increase to $7.20 per month for per host billing and $10.20 per month for per device billing.

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Atera Pros:

Atera Cons:

#6 | Atera

Atera is designed to be the ultimate all-in-one Remote Monitoring and Management tool suite for IT pros and MSPs, so I was certainly very excited to try it. At a fixed monthly cost, users are able to add an unlimited number of devices. 

atera

Main features of Atera

My favourite features of Atera are as follows:

  • RMM (Remote Monitoring and Management) – This enables you to be proactive, ensuring issues are spotted before your customers spot them. Expect the likes of patch management, root-cause analysis, and more. 
  • PSA (Professional Services Automation) – I found this integrated helpdesk to be seamless and powerful. It gave me full visibility on all elements of my company’s performance. 
  • Remote support and access – With Atera, it is easy to remain productive and connected no matter where you are. The remote access includes multi-screen support and file transfers.

How much does Atera cost?

In terms of pricing, there are three different packages for you to select from. The first is the Pro package, which is billed at $79 per technician per month. The second is the Growth package, which is billed at $119 per technician per month. The third is the Power package, which is billed at $149 per technician per month. There is a free trial available for all three packages, which I recommend taking advantage of.

So, what’s the difference between the three packages? Well, the Growth package contains everything in the Pro package, as well as >20MB patch and scripting installations, chat with your customers, direct Quickbooks integration, and a Mac agent. The Growth package then also comes with geo-redundant data and database snapshots. 

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ManageEngine OpManager Pros:

ManageEngine OpManager Cons:

#7 | ManageEngine OpManager

Another credible network monitoring solution, I had heard a lot of good things about ManageEngine OpManager, and it certainly did not disappoint. With this solution, I was able to monitor all of the devices on my network. This included the likes of storage devices, printers, servers, wireless LAN controllers, load balancers, firewalls, switchers, routers, and much more. Whenever there was a fault, it was easy to get to the bottom of it, determining why the fault had occurred and getting rid of it before it impacted my operations. 

Main features of ManageEngine OpManager

There are a lot of great features associated with ManageEngine OpManager, which I found to be very easy to set-up and affordable too. Some of the main features include WAN link monitoring, customizable dashboards, multi-level thresholds, virtual and physical server monitoring, and real-time network monitoring, which comes with more than 2000 in-built network performance monitors, ensuring that all of the critical metrics are monitored. From speed to latency, this comprehensive monitoring system leaves no stone unturned, which I was very impressed with. 

How much does ManageEngine OpManager cost?

In terms of pricing, you will need to get in touch with the company and they will provide you with a quote for their services. They will want to know what you require from their service, any additional modules you’re interested in, the number of devices you have, the number of users, and whether you need any onboarding assistance. Once you fill in the form, they will get back to you with a quotation for their services.

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Zabbix Pros:

Zabbix Cons:

#8 | Zabbix

Zabbix provides a number of different IT solutions, and their network monitoring software is very popular. It uses a number of different metric collection protocols and methods, ensuring that you have full visibility regarding your network status. Scalability is a real benefit associated with this platform, as it is able to cater to any network size, which is, of course, highly beneficial. 

Main features of Zabbix

With Zabbix, I found it easy to monitor performance incidents and metrics. The platform covers everything you would expect, and more. This includes network performance metrics, such as interface error rate, packet loss rate, and network bandwidth usage. Network health is also easy to monitor, with incidents such as the following raised: fan being in a critical state, low free disk space, critical power supply, and device temperature being too low or too high. You will also be alerted to any configuration changes, from a change in the serial number of a device to firmware upgrades.

How much does Zabbix cost?

In terms of pricing, there is a free solution available, but as you can imagine, this is very limited. In terms of the paid version, prices start from $1,600. There is a free trial option, so I highly recommend that you try this out before you commit any of your hard-earned cash.

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Icinga Pros:

Icinga Cons:

#9 | Icinga

Another network monitoring solution that your business may be interested in is Icinga. Icinga is used by the likes of Siemens, Adobe, and Audi, I was excited to try out this product for myself. The structure of the system is a stack that has six core strengths, ensuring all areas of monitoring are covered. I found the insights to be incredibly valuable, with the eye-opening visuals a real strength, as well as the real-time notifications. 

Main features of Icinga

There are a wide range of tools and features that you can expect with Icinga. This includes efficient workflows, infrastructure monitoring, automation monitoring, cloud monitoring, analytics, metrics and logs, and also helpful notifications. There are lots of integrations as well, which makes it easy for you to slot Icinga into your current set of tools. 

How much does Icinga cost?

You will need to get in touch with Icinga for pricing information. The company will put together a unique quote for you based on your specific needs and requirements. One thing I was disappointed to see is that there is no trial version available. There are some demo videos, though, so it is worth watching these so you can get a better understanding of how the platform works. 

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Paessler Pros:

Paessler Cons:

#10 | Paessler PRTG Network Monitor

The final tool that I recommend when it comes to network monitoring is Paessler PRTG Network Monitor, which I found to be very easy-to-use yet powerful at the same time. One of the great things about this solution is that there really is no need for any extra downloads or plugins, as the software has everything you require. It is suitable for companies and organizations of all sizes as well. 

prtg

Main features of Paessler PRTG Network Monitor 

This solution enables you to manage all of your applications, database, and bandwidth. You can figure out how much bandwidth all of your applications and devices are using, as well as determining the source of any bottlenecks. You can also keep track of your full local network, including services, switches, routers, workstations, and more, as well as monitoring all types of services, cloud computing services, and much more. 

How much does Paessler PRTG Network Monitor cost?

With Paessler PRTG Network Monitor, you can try the solution for free for 30 days, after which it will switch to the paid version. The free version is not as comprehensive, though, so you can elect to upgrade to a paid license as soon as you feel confident that this is the right solution for you.

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