How To Monitor Network Traffic



Monitoring Network Traffic

Monitoring your network can be a real pain. First of all, you need a tool to do this. So, what tool should you use? This is a tough decision because there are so many good tools on the market today. Also, each tool will help address a different set of requirements and, in some cases, fill completely different needs. We will review the top tools later in this article. However, after you download a tool, what do you do?

Well, after you download a tool, you will need to install it. After you have the tool installed, there will usually be a "Start" button" or a button that will start the monitoring. Click this button. Let the tool work for a bit. Now, you can start to look at the packet data. You should see a source IP which tells you where the data is coming from. You should also see a destination IP which will tell you where the packet was going. You will also probably see other data such as time the packet was sent, the packet type (TCP, HTTP, UDP), and some more info on what is going on with the packet. Now that you have the data, you can start to analyze the network traffic to see if anything weird or unwanted is showing up. You can use the source/destination IPs to look for this.

5 Best Network Traffic Monitoring Tools

Wireshark has always been one of the top monitors available. Wireshark is a cross-platform network monitor that does deep inspections of hundreds of protocols. It does live capture and capture save, which can be viewed in a few different modes. Wireshark also does VoIP analysis and can read/write many capture formats (tcpdump, Pcap NG, Microsoft Network Monitor, Cisco Secure IDS iplog, and many more).

Angry IP Scanner
Angry IP Scanner is one of the easiest to use of all the network traffic monitoring tools. It's interface is super easy to use and is a powerful little tool. One nice thing about Angry IP Scanner is that it is cross platform and doesn't require installation, so you can use it as a portable monitor. It can get NetBIOS information, favorite IP address range, Web server detection, customizable openers, and much more.

Colasoft Capsa Free
If you're an administrator for a Windows based network and are used to more Windows-like tools, Capsa Free might be the best tool for you. This software comes in both a free and paid form. The free version should be enough for most people. It provides an easy-to-use dashboard you can use to create various types of captures. The free verson also offers plenty of alarm configurations so you can be alerted when something occurs. It can capture more than 300 network protocols, so you won't be missing out on anything with this free tool.

Zenmap is a graphical front end to the cross-platform Nmap tool. Nmap can scan huge networks, is free, is portable, and has great readme docs. It's one of the most powerful IP traffic monitors. However, due to this, it has quite the steap learning curve. Zenmap takes Nmap and makes it more accessible to users who prefer to avoid the command line. That does not mean Zenmap is the easiest of the lot. You still need to use some commands though which contributes to its tougher to use nature.

If you are a Linux user, then EtherApe is probably for you. It is a linux only tool that offers an easy-to-use mapping of IP traffic on your network. It does this in real time and gives you a clear picture of the overall look of your network traffic. You can create filters to make reading the map easier. EtherApe will display both the node and link color with the most-used protocol so it's easier to take a quick glance, even on a busy network.

At this point, hopefully, you are all ready to monitor your network traffic for any problems.

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