Top 9 Network Monitoring Software in 2020 [Unbiased Reviews]

by Deyan G. | February 14, 2020

Every business depends on its network.

And every network administrator knows that maintaining this network isn’t a walk in the park.

Thankfully, there are many network monitoring software to simplify and streamline network management. 

I compiled a list of the best network monitoring tools that can equip network administrators with all they need to perform their daily tasks efficiently and more comfortably.

That way, you can detect issues and resolve them quickly, have an informative overview of all devices, and pull whatever performance data is necessary.

My unbiased, data-driven approach to each software will help you find the jewel among the stones. 

Needless to say, the following monitoring tools will save you hundreds of hours (and nerves) per year.

If you want to put an end to inefficient networks and emergency calls in the middle of the night, keep reading.

Top 9 Network Monitoring Software

Coming up are the best nine network monitoring software that can ease every IT specialist’s life.

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User rating: 9.7
+

Easy installation

+

Excellent support

+

Superior monitoring possibilities

-

The numerous updates cause downtime

-

Missing MIBs for some products

-

Configuring the alarms is time-consuming

Zoho is a synonym for quality software, and OpManager isn't an exception. This robust network monitoring software comes with excellent monitoring, alerting, and reporting features. On top of that, the company offers top-notch support. With OpManager you get more than 200 performance widgets that allow you to monitor each element in your infrastructure.
Read Full Review >
2
User rating: 9.5
+

Granular monitoring

+

Excellent reporting module

+

Easy to use

-

Slow at times

-

Pay-per-element pricing scheme

-

Time-consuming set up

SolarWinds is an excellent solution for monitoring on-prem, cloud, and hybrid infrastructures. Its powerful monitoring and reporting capabilities make this software a perfect solution for most companies. In fact, 85% of the US Fortune 500 are using SolarWinds to manage their networks. It comes with capacity forecasting, numerous automation options, auto-discovery, and granular level monitoring.
Read Full Review >
3
User rating: 9.3
+

Automation

+

Remote access

+

Powerful scripts

-

Occasional crashes

-

Not the friendliest UI out there

-

Learning curve

ConnectWise Automate is an excellent network monitoring software that comes with some amazing and practical features. The tool offers automation, practical self-help, and stealth remote access. This solution also comes with automatic asset discovery, endpoint management, patching, and excellent monitoring capabilities. To top it off, ConnectWise Automate offers a completely customizable dashboard, so you can tailor it to suit your needs.
Read Full Review >
4
User rating: 8.8
+

Wide variety of sensors

+

Scalability

+

Mobile apps

-

Cumbersome

-

Buggy on-premise version

-

Learning curve

Paessler PRTG Network Monitor is an excellent network monitoring tool that allows you to manage your infrastructure no matter its type. You'll find many practical features in this scalable product, and it could easily be the tool you've been searching for. This agentless network monitoring software comes with more than 230 sensors and a powerful reporting module.
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5
User rating: 8.6
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Easy to use, intuitive, and customizable interface

+

Great support

+

Easy to set up

-

Configuring alerts is time-consuming

-

Learning curve

-

Can get pricey

LogicMonitor is an agentless, cloud-based software for monitoring on-premise, cloud, or hybrid infrastructures. It offers numerous practical features like auto-discovery, a great alerting engine, and hundreds of widgets for granular monitoring. This easy-to-use network monitoring software will amaze you with its numerous integrations, customization options, and powerful monitoring capabilities.
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6
User rating: 8.2
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Excellent for mapping

+

Easy to use

+

Alert flexibility

-

Occasional bugs

-

Outdated UI

-

No mobile apps

Intermapper is a fast, reliable software that can automatically discover, map, and monitor every device in your network. You can monitor each device's metrics, and the software shows you its physical location for quicker troubleshooting. It's one of the best network monitoring software for mapping your entire infrastructure. Moreover, it's extremely easy to use, and even novice network and system admins will feel right at home with Intermapper.
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7
User rating: 8
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Easy to set up

+

Excellent for network mapping

+

Automated discovery

-

Lacks advanced features

-

Occasional bugs

-

Time-consuming configuration

WhatsUp Gold is a network management tool that can monitor on-premise, cloud, or hybrid infrastructures. This software offers everything you'd look for in such a system. You can monitor all types of networks, get alerts, and generate reports. WhatsUp Gold also allows you to control each device's access to the Web, filter suspicious IPs, and minimize potential threats. And if you are using cloud services, there's a built-in billing monitor.
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8
User rating: 7.9
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Easy to set up

+

Numerous integrations

+

Custom dashboards

-

Overwhelming UI

-

Learning curve

-

No mobile app

Datadog is one of the best network monitoring tools for hybrid cloud environments. It offers hundreds of integrations, a collaboration module, and a machine-learning algorithm to make your life easier and your work more efficient. It allows you to monitor the network traffic between objects, and you can visualize data flows via a map view. All in all, Datadog lets you keep track of all your devices and connections between them.
Read Full Review >
9
User rating: 7.8
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User-friendly GUI

+

Flexible and customizable

+

Easy to use

-

Time-consuming setup and configuration

-

Learning curve

-

Requires knowledge of Linux

Nagios is one of the well-known names throughout the industry. It's a robust network monitoring software that can help every savvy IT expert do their job more efficiently. With its help, you can monitor everything in your IT infrastructure – including apps, services, protocols, operating systems, system metrics, and devices. Nagios XI also comes with customizable dashboards and you can set rotations. That way, you'll never miss an anomaly or if a device isn't working as it's supposed to.
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Wonder how I compiled the list? 

Here’s the step-by-step process I followed to present you with the best of the best on the market. 

Methodology

It did take a lot of time and effort to find the best network monitoring systems, but this is how I managed to do it.

  1. I scanned the Web to find all suitable solutions on the market. 
  2. Then I compiled a list of the network tools I found interesting and worthy of some professional attention.
  3. Initially, there were 92 monitoring tools on this list.
  4. Then I rated them all from 1 to 10 based on their popularity and industry recognition. 
  5. That left about 20 reliable solutions. Then I started reading user-written reviews to evaluate each network monitoring software‘s pros and cons. I even went a few years back to check if the companies have fixed the issues reported in old user reviews or not.
  6. That eliminated eight more, and I signed up for a trial for each of the remaining network management tools. 
  7. Out of the dozen, I eliminated three because I wasn’t satisfied with their features or monitoring capabilities, or they were too slow or buggy. The latter is unacceptable in dynamic environments.
  8. That left the top nine network monitoring tools you’ll see below.
  9. Once the list was ready, I ranked each software based on:
  • Monitoring capabilities
  • Features
  • Alerts
  • Reports
  • Ease of use
  • Support
  • Price
  • + a combined rating boost based on my personal experience along with user-written reviews.

That’s how I ranked the best network monitoring software.

Coming up are the winners and their detailed, unbiased reviews! 

Top 9 Network Monitoring Software Reviews

Now that you know how I managed to discover the best ones out there, it’s time to get to know them better.

I give you the best network monitoring systems that money can buy!

You can even use some of them for free.

ManageEngine OpManager

Zoho is a synonym for quality software, and OpManager isn't an exception. This robust network monitoring software comes with excellent monitoring, alerting, and reporting features. On top of that, the company offers top-notch support. With OpManager you get more than 200 performance widgets that allow you to monitor each element in your infrastructure.
Things we liked
+

Easy installation

+

Excellent support

+

Superior monitoring possibilities

+

Mobile apps

Things we disliked
-

The numerous updates cause downtime

-

Missing MIBs for some products

-

Configuring the alarms is time-consuming

ManageEngine OpManager free trial

You can try out this network monitoring software free of charge for 30 days. No credit card is required.

ManageEngine OpManager overview

The developers at Zoho Corp. surely know how to create quality software

It’s a versatile company with an impressive portfolio of excellent products (CRM, inventory management, and more). So it comes as no surprise that the company’s network monitoring software is also among the best

OpManager is a robust and user-friendly tool that can monitor networks, physical and virtual servers, WAN infrastructures, analyze bandwidth usage, manage firewalls, and much more.

Some of ManageEngine’s well-known clients are L’Oreal, NASA, DHL, and AT&T.

Impressive, right?

Now we’ll see why they trust OpManager. And most importantly, why you should.

OpManager features

The first thing you’ll notice after completing the installation is the dashboard

It’s highly customizable, and you can create as many as you need. The network monitoring program offers more than 200 performance widgets, which allow you to see your entire computer network at a glance. 

Mapping

While you are admiring the beautiful GUI, the network discovery tool can map more than 15,000 interfaces. And it does so really fast. Additionally, you can automate it and schedule discovering new devices daily, weekly, monthly, or yearly. 

But wait!

It gets better!

During the initial discovery, OpManager will automatically assign a network performance monitor and notification profiles to each device. You’ll be ready to monitor everything a few moments after the installation is complete. 

Naturally, by being one of the best network monitoring systems, OpManager has excellent management capabilities!

Network management

You can manage your network configuration, firewall logs, schedule backups, map switch ports, and much more. You can even track application performance and availability across all types of environments.

Automations

OpManager can automate more than 70 workflow checks and actions to make your job easier. After all, that’s one of the reasons you are searching for the best network monitoring and management software, right?

Bear in mind that ManageEngine regularly updates its software and adds new features. Although this is typically a good thing, the updates will cause some downtime.

Integrations

OpManager comes with five out-of-the-box integrations (including Slack), and you can use the public REST API to connect to any other systems.

But that’s not all!

Extra features

There’s another rather unique feature that you’ll find in this software for network management.

You can create an exact 3D replica of your data center. You can add all the racks and monitor the devices’ health in real-time. 

Ain’t that some next-level monitoring?

And while on the subject, let’s focus on the main feature.

OpManager monitoring

Screenshot of OpManager's interface

First of all, this server and network monitoring software gathers more than 2,000 performance metrics!  That way, you can keep track of the devices’ health, CPU usage, memory, network latency, speed, errors, and much more. 

On top of that, unlike other tools on the market, OpManager is suitable for both Layer 1 and Layer 2 network mapping. Additionally, you can use Google or Zoho Maps for better geographical visualization. There’s a lot you can do with this tool.

And if that’s not enough:

By using this network monitoring software, you can perform in-depth monitoring of router performance, switch ports, WAN link availability, and VoIP call quality.

OpManager is an excellent solution in terms of scalability. You can monitor up to 10,000 devices! This is excellent news if you work for an enterprise.  

But there’s more!

In addition to monitoring your processes and system’s health via SNMP, WMI, and CLI, you can also keep track of virtualized servers.

Currently, OpManager supports VMware, Hyper-V, and Citrix servers and hosts. 

All in all, ManageEngine’s network managing tool gives you in-depth knowledge of your entire network. And if something doesn’t function the way it’s supposed to, the software will let you know.

OpManager alerts

OpManager comes with a robust alerting module that can notify technicians via SMS or email (no voice-call, though). You can set multiple thresholds and get alerted for any violations. 

What I liked about the alerting module is that you can apply various rules to increase alert accuracy and diminish the noise. Unlike other network monitoring tools, OpManager is sensitive, but you can configure it to eliminate the alert bombardment. 

However, setting up alarms isn’t a walk in the park. It takes some time to configure them correctly, but at the end of the day, it’s worth investing the time instead of receiving hundreds of notifications daily. That way, the best network monitoring software for 2020 can serve its purpose – help you out, instead of being a pain in the… neck.

The software supports color-coded alarms so you can easily see the issues by category (critical, trouble, attention, service down, etc.)

Additionally, you can set up various escalation rules to automate some of your workflows. For instance, you can get a report of alarms that are open for more than an hour. The software can automatically send this report via email periodically.

Which brings us to:

OpManager reports

While the dashboards provide all the information you need for analysis, this network monitoring software also offers more than 100 out-of-the-box reports. They are customizable, and you can create your own from every gathered metric. 

Screenshot of OpManager's reporting module.

You can also schedule report generation, and the software can email or convert them to PDF or Excel. 

Additionally, OpManager has three forecasting reports – CPU, memory, and disc usage forecast. The software can forecast from a week to a year ahead. Needless to say, that can immensely improve your planning. To top it off, you can turn each report into a widget! 

Ease of use

This network monitoring solution offers many features. Better yet,  the UI is easy to navigate, and you can quickly access each module. 

Unlike other monitoring tools, OpManager wouldn’t give newcomers a close-to-a-heart-attack first impression. Everything is neatly arranged and functional. 

Screenshot of OpManager's UI

OpManager documentation and support

The website offers a decent knowledge base that covers the software’s features. Additionally, there are how-to videos and webinars. 

You’ll also find that the company’s YouTube channel has several hour-long tutorials for the newest version. For comparison, the majority of network monitoring tools’ video tutorials are at least one-year-old. 

Still, if you encounter any issues you can’t resolve on your own, support is always there to help. You can reach out to them via phone or email. Also, the software has a built-in live chat function. 

And like with the other Zoho products, customer support is excellent! 

If there were any “best network monitoring solution support” awards, OpManager’s and LogicMonitor’s reps would be competing for the top spot. 

OpManager pricing

If you decide to purchase this top network monitoring software, you can request a personalized quote. However, to get an idea about the software’s pricing, here are the available plans:

  • Standard edition – Starting at $245 for 10 devices, this plan offers the software’s basic features. 
  • Professional edition – For the starting price of $345, you can monitor 10 devices and take advantage of all of the software’s features, excluding distributed network monitoring. Also, both the standard and professional editions can monitor up to 1,000 devices. If you need more, you’ll have to opt for the next plan.
  • Enterprise edition – If you want to purchase the best monitoring software with its full set of features, you’ll have to pay at least $11,545 for 250 devices. The only limitation is the enterprise edition can monitor up to 10,000 devices, which is more than enough for most companies. 

Also, numerous add-ons that can enhance OpManager’s possibilities. They don’t come for free, so make sure you do the math before purchasing. 

Verdict

In a nutshell, OpManager is the best network management tool on the market. Its monitoring, alerting, and reporting possibilities turn this piece of software into a must-have solution for most IT teams. 

SolarWinds Network Performance Monitor

SolarWinds is an excellent solution for monitoring on-prem, cloud, and hybrid infrastructures. Its powerful monitoring and reporting capabilities make this software a perfect solution for most companies. In fact, 85% of the US Fortune 500 are using SolarWinds to manage their networks. It comes with capacity forecasting, numerous automation options, auto-discovery, and granular level monitoring.
Things we liked
+

Granular monitoring

+

Excellent reporting module

+

Easy to use

Things we disliked
-

Slow at times

-

Pay-per-element pricing scheme

-

Time-consuming set up

-

Learning curve

SolarWinds NPM free trial

You can test this network performance monitor free of charge for 30 days. No credit card required. There’s also an interactive demo available on the company’s website. 

SolarWinds NPM overview

SolarWinds is one of the well-known names in the IT industry. It has been making IT-related software for the last 20+ years. 

Moreover, 425 companies of the US Fortune 500 are using SolarWinds products, which is a testament to their products’ quality. 

The company’s network performance monitor is a robust solution that can monitor your entire IT infrastructure at a granular level. It comes with automatic discovery, customizable dashboard, powerful alert and reporting capabilities, network mapping, and much more.

SolarWinds NPM uses SNMP and WMI protocols to interrogate your devices and can monitor on-prem, cloud, and hybrid infrastructures

SolarWinds NPM features

Screenshot of SolarWinds' interface

After installing the SolarWinds Network Performance Monitor, you can use the auto-discovery tool or manually add your devices. You can also run discoveries on a scheduled basis. The software is vendor-agnostic and supports IP and SNMP-capable devices. 

When that’s done, you’ll see the customizable dashboard. You can create as many as you need, and the drag and drop UI is easy to use. 

What I like about this software for network management is that it comes with out-of-the-box features. It offers deep packet inspection that can analyze more than 1,200 apps, including Facebook and Skype. It measures the network response time and automatically classifies the traffic. 

Network management

Additionally, there’s a built-in link analysis software that reveals bottlenecks quickly and gives you insight into network paths. Combining this tool with the network traffic analyzer helps you improve availability, optimize performance, and decrease the downtime in your network.

And if that’s not enough, SolarWinds NPM  comes with a network diagnostic tool, fault management, sniffer, and packet analyzer!

It gets even better!

Extra feature

One of the cool things about this network monitoring software is the capacity forecasting feature. Based on performance trends, the software can forecast when a CPU is going to hit a critical state. You can do the same for memory and volume. 

All in all, many features make SolarWinds NPM one of the best network monitoring tools on the market. But the main star of the show, naturally, is its monitoring capabilities.

SolarWinds NPM monitoring

This software for network monitoring offers a single-pane-of-glass view that is fully customizable. You can add any of the numerous widgets to observe practically everything in your network. 

By hovering the cursor over a node, you’ll see an overview of its performance. You can also click on it and drill down into details like status, CPU load, memory usage, polling details, statistics, and so on.

Screenshot of network devices and details

This network management tool can drown you in a wealth of information. You can also visualize every aspect of your network infrastructure. 

SolarWinds NPM can monitor and manage wireless networks, create Wi-Fi heat maps, discover and control devices via the SNMP protocol, etc. 

The software comes with numerous widgets that can display various metrics. You can use the visualization tool to create maps, graphs, and charts of your network. That way, you can identify network faults and get availability and performance information.

By adding these widgets, the net monitor can show you your switches’ health and performance, router traffic, and the network’s usage, uptime, and infrastructure. The software can also monitor cloud servers and visualize the network path. 

And if something along the path reaches a threshold, you’ll get notified. 

SolarWinds NMP alerts

Out-of-the-box, this network monitoring software comes with pre-configured typical alerts. It will notify you when a node is down, when a hardware component goes into a warning state, etc.

Typically, this isn’t such a notable feature since most network performance monitoring tools do the same. 

However, what distinguishes SolarWinds from its competitors is the sheer number of actions the software can perform in case something goes wrong. 

There are more than 30 actions that this top network monitoring software can execute in case of an alarm. They include sending an SMS and email, running a script or a program, Syslog, sending SNMP trap, and much more. 

Screenshot of the alerting module

What I like most about the alerting module is that you can get very granular here. You can apply a set of rules for each notification. 

For instance, you can configure SolarWinds NPM to alert you only when multiple objects meet the trigger conditions. 

You can also specify how long this condition should exist before informing you. That way, you can diminish the noise. Furthermore, you can assign the teams or members that get notified if something goes wrong. 

In a nutshell, this network management tool gives you plenty of options to configure the alerts.

Now.

Let’s move on to the next module.

SolarWinds NPM reports

Out-of-the-box, you get 70+ report templates. They are all customizable, and on top of that, you can create your own. You can also limit the displayed information by user profile. 

There’s a bunch of available reports but let’s name a few:

  • Node and Interface Availability
  • Current Node Status
  • Historical CPU and Memory Reports
  • Historical Traffic Reports

And much more!

As I mentioned earlier, the data in these reports serves as the base for the software’s forecasting capabilities. 

SolarWinds Network Performance Monitor can export the reports into PDF, and you can run them on a scheduled basis. 

It’s incredibly easy to use the software’s report manager! In case you experience any difficulties, you can check the website’s knowledge base.

SolarWinds NPM documentation and support

The SolarWinds website offers a rich knowledge base, including whitepapers, guides, tips, datasheets, and more. There are also about 60 videos and webcasts that can help you figure out the software’s capabilities. 

All in all, the network monitoring solution offers enough resources to guide you through your journey. 

The software has a very active community on a platform called THWACK, which has more than 150,000 members. So, if you need help, you will get it.  

Naturally, you can also reach out to SolarWinds’ customer service. The reps are accessible via the phone or email. 

SolarWinds NPM pricing

SolarWinds offer five plans, and their pricing depends on the number of elements you want to include.

  • NMP SL100 – $2,995 for up to 100 elements. 
  • NMP SL250 – $6,795 for up to 250 elements.
  • NPM SL500 – $10,695 for up to 500 elements.
  • NPM SL2000 – $19,795 for up to 2,000 elements.
  • NMP SLX – $33,195 for unlimited elements. 

Each plan offers the software’s full set of features.  

Verdict

Undoubtedly SolarWinds NPM is one of the best network monitoring systems out there. Yes, it can be a bit slow at times, and machine learning would be awesome. But the software delivers on its promises. It’s an excellent tool for network monitoring, analysis, and management

ConnectWise Automate

ConnectWise Automate is an excellent network monitoring software that comes with some amazing and practical features. The tool offers automation, practical self-help, and stealth remote access. This solution also comes with automatic asset discovery, endpoint management, patching, and excellent monitoring capabilities. To top it off, ConnectWise Automate offers a completely customizable dashboard, so you can tailor it to suit your needs.
Things we liked
+

Automation

+

Remote access

+

Powerful scripts

Things we disliked
-

Occasional crashes

-

Not the friendliest UI out there

-

Learning curve

-

Short trial

ConnectWise Automate free trial

You can test ConnectWise’s network monitoring software free of charge for seven days. 

ConnectWise Automate overview

ConnectWise Automate is a robust remote monitoring and management (RMM) tool that comes with an excellent network monitor system and automation. 

Typically, it’s an on-premise solution, but you can access the browser version as well. The latter has limited functionalities but is much faster. 

With ConnectWise’s help, you can quickly identify future problems and solve them before they occur. It’s an especially helpful tool for managed service providers (MSPs). However, if you can afford it, it can help with in-house operations as well. 

This network monitor solution comes with automatic asset discovery, endpoint management, patching, monitoring, and automation

ConnectWise Automate allows you to monitor, manage, and connect endpoints remotely. And the best part is, you can perform all of these actions without interrupting the end-user! 

ConnectWise Automate features

The automation allows the system to resolve issues efficiently, thus saving time. For instance, if the software detects low disk space, ConnectWise can automatically delete temp files. That way, engineers can have the time to focus on more pressing issues. Also, once the system automatically resolves a ticket, it closes it, and you won’t need to bother with it.

This network and server monitoring software also comes with a self-help feature. All your clients have to do is click on your company’s tray icon and choose the customized self-help options. That way, ConnectWise makes your job much easier.  

Dashboard

This network monitoring program comes with customizable dashboards, and you can create different ones for your day-to-day work. Keep in mind that the more tabs you have, the slower the loading time will be.

Screenshot of ConnectWise's dashboard

However, some users complain that whenever there’s a new software update, their customizations are gone. And it’s been like that for a while now. Still, it doesn’t happen to everyone.

Note: There weren’t any updates while I was testing this tool.

Anyways, back to business.

Network management

Another notable feature is the remote control access – ConnectWise control (formerly called Screenconnect). You can drag and drop files, install software, or whatever you have to do. What’s fantastic about this feature is its speed. You can access the remote device in less than a second! This feature turns ConnectWise into one of the best remote network monitoring software out there.

That’s not all!

See, ConnectWise allows you to solve issues without interrupting the end-user – sort of behind the scenes actions. By reviewing the monitors, you can see what the problem is, and you can fix it without remoting to the computer. For instance, you can uninstall software to free up space. 

Last but not least, let’s review the patch management feature. It’s quite flexible, and you can apply patches and updates to an individual machine, or a group of them. You can also set schedules and reboot and approval policies. 

All in all, these remote capabilities make ConnectWise one of the best network monitoring tools on the market.

ConnectWise monitoring

Another feature that makes ConnectWise one of the best enterprise network monitoring software is the detailed monitoring of your (clients’) devices. For example, you get to see CPU and memory usage, low disk space, temperature, etc. Naturally, you can also see which machines are operational or not. 

Even though this network management tool comes with numerous pre-defined monitors, you can create your own and assign specific alert actions.

Fantastic, right?

ConnectWise alerts

The software offers more than 40 pre-defined alert templates. You can also apply rules, like setting timeframes and configuring the monitors. 

ConnectWise can send emails, create tickets, run scripts, and auto fix specific issues. The warnings are customizable, and you can tailor them to suit your operations. 

ConnectWise reports

ConnectWise’s software for network management comes with a report center. There you will find a variety of pre-defined reports, including devices’ health, performance, network assets, and much more. 

Furthermore, you can customize the reports or create your own by using the report designer. Generating one is straightforward, and you can add or remove information with one click. 

Ease of use

At first glance, the interface is clean and simple. 

However, once you start using the network monitoring software, you’ll quickly understand it will take some time to get used to it. 

The reason for that is the sheer number of features built in the software. Still, the more time you invest in using it, the easier it gets. 

ConnectWise Automate's interface.

Support

I have mixed feelings about ConnectWise’s support team. The reps will sometimes resolve your issues quickly, but more often than not, you’ll have to wait for the right rep to get help. In a nutshell, let’s say it’s hit-and-miss and leave it at that.

As far as the knowledge base goes, the website covers almost everything. “Almost,” because in my research, I found some of the documentation lacking. Still, there are enough resources to help you should you choose to purchase this system monitoring software.

ConnectWise pricing

This network managing tool’s price is tier-based and can fluctuate depending on the environment and packages (read: the number of endpoints). So you’ll have to ask the company for a quote depending on your individual needs. 

Verdict

Despite some drawbacks, ConnectWise is one of the best network monitor software on the market. The powerful scripts, automation options, and practical remote access turn this piece of software into a worthy contender for the top spot on my list. 

Paessler PRTG Network Monitor

Paessler PRTG Network Monitor is an excellent network monitoring tool that allows you to manage your infrastructure no matter its type. You'll find many practical features in this scalable product, and it could easily be the tool you've been searching for. This agentless network monitoring software comes with more than 230 sensors and a powerful reporting module.
Things we liked
+

Wide variety of sensors

+

Scalability

+

Mobile apps

+

Reporting capabilities

Things we disliked
-

Cumbersome

-

Buggy on-premise version

-

Learning curve

-

Email-only support

PRTG Network Monitor free trial

You can test Paessler’s network monitor solution free of charge for 30 days. No credit card required.

PRTG Network Monitor overview

PRTG is an agentless network monitoring software, so it doesn’t require any installations on your devices. It uses SNMP, WMI, SQL, packet sniffing, and other protocols to communicate with the network’s endpoints.

It is available via a web browser, on-premise client, and mobile apps. 

The software’s a bit cumbersome, and newcomers will find it difficult to understand what’s going on within the network. However, once you get past that first impression, you’ll see that PRTG is an excellent tool for both monitoring and infrastructure management.

This server network monitoring software is easy to implement and has an auto-discovery module. It can monitor LAN and WAN devices, cloud services, servers, websites, and apps. PRTG’s network analysis tools turn it into an excellent solution for WAN optimization, network tomography, route analytics, and website monitoring.

One of PRTG’s most significant benefits is its scalability – its monitoring capacity can grow along with your business. 

With that said, let’s see which other features make PRTG one of the best network monitoring systems on the market.

PRTG Network Monitor features

Like the majority of network monitoring tools on this list, PRTG will welcome you with a dashboard. From there, you can access the hierarchical device tree, and you can use the drag and drop interface to customize it. 

However, the tab you’ll be using the most for visualization is called Maps. 

Maps

There aren’t any out-of-the-box maps, so you’ll need to create your own. Although it will take some time, creating the widgets is easy enough – you have to select an object from the device tree and choose its properties. Once finished, you can set an automatic map rotation

There’s an awful lot you can do with maps – you can choose different designs, create various layouts, include geo-maps, and much more. Moreover, these maps are excellent for network performance monitoring, since you get to see all the metrics at a glance.

Paessler PRTG Maps

Interface

As mentioned before, this network monitor software has a web, on-premise, and mobile applications. The desktop one is only available for Windows devices, and mildly put – needs some polishing. It’s slow and buggy at times, but I guess most professionals would prefer to access the tool via the web browser anyway.

As you can see from the screenshot above, PRTG uses the sunburst view to represent your network. It’s quite useful, and you can drill down to devices’ details with one click. 

Extra feature

The software also comes with a top-notch automatic failover handling, and there’s one failover in every PRTG on-premise license. That way, you can keep monitoring even if the cluster’s primary master is down for some reason.

And while on the subject, let’s focus on the main feature.

PRTG monitoring

Paessler’s network monitor software comes with 230 out-of-the-box sensors, and you can add custom ones. 

With PRTG, you can monitor practically everything in your IT infrastructure. You’ll gain insight for your servers’ health (CPU load, performance, disk space, RAM, etc.), bandwidth, firewalls, switches, routers, databases, websites, еtc. 

Furthermore, the tool supports distributed monitoring, meaning it can monitor networks in various locations. That makes PRTG one of the best network performance monitoring software one the market. 

And since by the end of 2020, 67% of enterprise infrastructure will be cloud-based, PRTG offers cloud monitoring as well. Also, the company’s devs are creating an Azure cost sensor. 

How do I know? 

The software’s roadmap is public, and you can request additional features. Once enough people have voted for one, the company’s devs will start working on it. And that’s just one of the reasons why PRTG is one of the network monitoring software – the company listens to its clients. 

Anyways, in addition to the solution’s monitoring capabilities, PRTG is also a WiFi and internet monitoring software. You can track speed, usage, bandwidth, URL response time, and much more.

But it gets better.

PRTG supports monitoring of all the major vendors – Cisco, Dell, HP, IBM, Oracle, VMWare, Citrix, and more. That way, you won’t have to configure the sensors manually for any of their devices and services. And if these sensors’ status changes, you’ll get notified.

PRTG alerts

Paessler’s network monitoring software will notify you if any of the following happens:

  • Sensor status changes
  • Threshold breaches
  • Value changes

Paessler PRTG Network Monitor alerts module

 

If any of those occurs, you can configure the software to perform specific actions. 

It can notify you via email, SMS, push notification, Slack, or Teams message. It can also send an SNMP trap, a Syslog message, or assign a ticket. And finally, you can configure PRTG to execute an HTML action or a program.

On top of that, by setting custom threshold levels, you can adjust the sensors’ sensitivity, thus eliminating the noise. 

PRTG reports

This network monitoring software won’t blow your mind with the number of out-of-the-box report templates. In fact, there are only eight, including a summary for all sensors, uptime/downtime, fastest/slowest ping sensors, etc. 

However, you can create your own reports by using the built-in report generator. From there, you have plenty of options, and you can extract whatever information you need. Furthermore, you can schedule the custom reports to be run at specific time intervals.

PRTG can generate reports in HTML, XML, PDF, and CSV. The software can also email them automatically.

Ease of use

PRTG’s interface will be overwhelming for beginners. 

It’s functional, but I expected to see some of the famous German precision implemented in the software. At first glance, it seems a bit chaotic and overwhelming. 

However, once you get past that first impression, you’ll see it’s a relatively easy-to-use network monitoring program

Still, more than likely, there will be a learning curve, especially for newcomers. 

Paessler PRTG Network Monitor interface and network structure in a sunburst view

PRTG documentation and support

I rarely use the word extensive in my reviews, but it suits Paessler’s knowledge base like a glove. 

In addition to the software’s manual, you can find everything you need to know about monitoring on the company’s website. There are webinars, how-to guides, and even articles explaining the basic IT terms – like server, SNMP, ping, etc.

All in all, you can understand everything – from general concepts to how to use Paessler’s network monitoring solution

So far, so good, but eventually you’ll need to contact support. And the only way to do so is by sending a ticket. And although the website claims that the reps “strive to respond to all requests within one business day,” support is often slow to respond.

PRTG pricing

First of all, here’s what I like about PRTG’s pricing – each of the following plans includes all of the software’s features. 

You won’t have to pay extra for add-ons, licenses, or anything else. The prices depend only on the number of sensors you’ll need. Typically, you’ll need about 10 per device. 

With that said, let’s see how much it will cost you annually to use this network monitoring software:

  • PRTG 500 –$1,600 for 500 sensors 
  • PRTG 1000 –$2,850 for 1,000 sensors
  • PRTG 2500 – $5950 for 2,500 sensors
  • PRTG 5000 – $10,500 for 5,000 sensors
  • PRTG XL1 – $14,500. With this plan, you can use unlimited sensors. 
  • PRTGL XL5 – $60,000 for unlimited sensors and five server installations. The plans above include only one server installation. 

The network monitoring program also offers a free plan with 100 sensors. Once your trial expires, the software reverts to freeware. And you can upgrade to a paid license at any time.

PRTG’s pricing makes it one of the best network monitoring software for small business. It’s affordable and gets the job done efficiently.

Verdict 

Although there are several drawbacks, PRTG is an excellent piece of network monitoring software. By using it, you’ll be able to monitor your entire IT infrastructure. And after all, that’s what you need from such software.

LogicMonitor

LogicMonitor is an agentless, cloud-based software for monitoring on-premise, cloud, or hybrid infrastructures. It offers numerous practical features like auto-discovery, a great alerting engine, and hundreds of widgets for granular monitoring. This easy-to-use network monitoring software will amaze you with its numerous integrations, customization options, and powerful monitoring capabilities.
Things we liked
+

Easy to use, intuitive, and customizable interface

+

Great support

+

Easy to set up

+

Mobile apps

Things we disliked
-

Configuring alerts is time-consuming

-

Learning curve

-

Can get pricey

LogicMonitor free trial

You can test this network monitoring software free of charge for 14 days. No credit card required. 

LogicMonitor overview

LogicMonitor is an agentless, cloud-based software for monitoring on-premise, cloud, or hybrid infrastructures. It discovers devices automatically and can monitor hardware metrics, network flow data, and website performance. Moreover, the software starts collecting the data automatically. 

It uses many data collection methods (SNMP, WMI, MySQL, etc.) to monitor the network devices and NetFlow to keep track of traffic flows. LogicMonitor uses this data to create alerts and generate reports. Moreover, the software comes with more than 2,000 out-of-the-box integrations and an open REST API. 

Like the majority of network performance monitoring tools on this list, LogicMonitor has a customizable dashboard. You can create as many as you need and rearrange them however you want. There are more than 1000 modules that can give you insight or alert you about any issues. 

LogicMonitor features

In addition to the monitoring, alerting, and reporting features (more on that in a bit), you can visualize the network’s topology. 

Network mapping and management

This feature isn’t as robust as some of the competitors’ but it still shows the logical relationships between objects. Unfortunately, it’s not something special if you want to see their physical locations, for example. Nevertheless, although it’s not perfect, it does a decent job.

There’s also an anomaly detection feature, which is a must-have for such a product. That way, you can reduce troubleshooting time and perform better monitoring. 

Role-based access

This software for network management offers some other great-to-have features. For instance, you can set a completely customizable role-based access control. And you can have as many users as you like since you’ll pay only for the number of devices you want to monitor. 

And speaking of users, LogicMonitor has a built-in audit log that lets you see who did what and when. Additionally, the software can create automated reports based on these logs, summarizing the important events. 

Mobile app

Also, LogicMonitor is one of the few monitoring tools that offer a mobile app. It has some limitations compared to the browser version, but it does offer the core functionalities of the product. That way, you can monitor your network on the go. 

Monitoring

Thanks to the customizable panels and numerous modules, you can monitor your entire infrastructure. Also, the company offers extra features (at a price) if you want to visualize cloud performance, containers, and applications. 

These additional options can turn LogicMonitor into a rather pricey network monitoring software. However, if you can afford it, the software won’t let you down.

Anyways, you can still monitor the hardware infrastructure, network flow data, and website performance, without purchasing the additional features. 

Furthermore, you can monitor and manage devices’ configuration and analyze how any changes affect the network’s performance. 

And if something goes wrong, you’ll get notified. 

LogicMonitor alerts

LogicMonitor's alerting module

LogicMonitor wouldn’t be one of the best network software if it didn’t provide an effective alerting system. 

Out-of-the-box you’ll get preconfigured alerts. However, tuning them with specific thresholds is a time-consuming process. 

Anyways, once you manage to tailor the alerts according to your needs, you can get notified via SMS, email, voice call, or any integrated third-party app (like Slack). Moreover, you can take immediate action and acknowledge or escalate the alert. 

The network monitoring program offers more than a dozen filters to help you quickly address the alerts. You can filter them by anomalies, severity, rules, and much more. 

Additionally, you can use the access roles mentioned above to configure who gets notified. You can do so based on the severity of the problem, device, technology, and even the time of day. 

LogicMonitor reports

This network monitoring software comes with a variety of industry-standard reports. You can generate reports based on alerts, monitored data, resources, and users. 

There are more than 15 predefined reports, and you can set schedules to receive them daily, weekly, or monthly. 

You can generate SLA, dashboard, user, role, alert trend reports, and many more. 

One of LogicMonitor’s strong suites in terms of reporting is that you can create an “Alert forecasting report.” It can forecast which endpoints are likely to have any issues in the next 30 days. 

All in all, LogicMonitor offers a practical reporting module and then some.

Ease of use

Although this network monitoring solution has an easy-to-use and functional drag and drop interface, it will take some time to get used to the software. The installation itself is a breeze, but after its completion, there is a learning curve.

The reason behind it is the sheer number of monitors and features packed in the software. It can be overwhelming in the beginning, so don’t expect you’ll be good to go in no time. 

LogicMonitor's interface

LogicMonitor support and resources

First of all, the website has detailed documentation and knowledgebase, where you can find everything you need. 

Additionally, there is an “extensive” video library with tutorials and webinars. Well, I wouldn’t call it extensive, but there are enough videos to teach you the basics. 

And if you require further assistance, you can reach out to customer service.

LogicMonitor is arguably the best network management tool in terms of customer service. My questions got answered by friendly and helpful reps. Still, I’m not that easily impressed with customer reps, so I read dozens of user-written reviews related to customer support. 

The feedback from all of these reviews was the same – LogicMonitor offers stellar support. I couldn’t find a single negative review of the company’s reps. 

All in all, if you need any assistance or guidance – you’ll get it.

LogicMonitor pricing

The company offers three plans, and you’ll have to request a quote for each of them. Bear in mind that you’ll be charged based on the number of devices you’d like to monitor. 

Here are the plans:

  • Starter – Starts at 50 devices. It offers basic network tools and visualizations. 
  • Pro – Starts at 100 devices. This plan includes workflow automation, Netflow, topology mapping, integrations, and one-year data retention. 
  • Enterprise – Starts at 200 devices. If you opt for this plan, you’ll unlock all of LogicMonitor’s features, 24/7 customer support, and a dedicated customer success manager. 

If you are a service provider that needs to monitor many endpoints, LogicMonitor has two plans available – SP Pro and SP Enterprise. Both start at 250 devices. 

The company doesn’t reveal the software’s pricing, but the overall user opinion is that the software can get quite expensive.

Verdict

So, is LogicMonitor the best monitoring software? It certainly has the potential to be. 

A few more improvements and it will be ready to claim the crown. However, it’s an excellent piece of software with some minor drawbacks. If its price doesn’t stretch your budget, that is. 

Intermapper

Intermapper is a fast, reliable software that can automatically discover, map, and monitor every device in your network. You can monitor each device's metrics, and the software shows you its physical location for quicker troubleshooting. It's one of the best network monitoring software for mapping your entire infrastructure. Moreover, it's extremely easy to use, and even novice network and system admins will feel right at home with Intermapper.
Things we liked
+

Excellent for mapping

+

Easy to use

+

Alert flexibility

Things we disliked
-

Occasional bugs

-

Outdated UI

-

No mobile apps

Intermapper free trial

You can test this network monitoring software for free for 30 days. No credit card required. There’s also a free plan that allows monitoring of up to 10 devices. 

Intermapper overview

Intermapper is a map-based network monitoring program developed by HelpSystems. It can monitor everything with an IP address.

The software uses a variety of protocols to communicate with devices, and you can monitor on-premise, off-site, and cloud infrastructures. There are more than 100 out-of-the-box probes (sensors) that can interrogate the devices and gather metrics. 

What I like most about Intermapper is that it’s so easy to use. 

Compared to the other network monitoring tools on the market, the learning curve is almost negligible. 

The software is easy to install, and the auto-discovery tool finds the devices in your network relatively fast. Creating maps and assigning probes and alerts is also a breeze, thanks to the (outdated) drag and drop UI. 

And unlike other monitoring tools, Intermapper allows you to manage your network from whatever platform you use – be it Windows, Mac, or Linux.

Now let’s see what makes this tool one of the best network monitoring software.

Intermapper features

Intermapper’s primary purpose is to map and monitor your network. And it does an excellent job at it.

Screenshot of a network map

You can create live diagrams of your network, and you can convert them into Layer 2 and 3 topology maps. Additionally, you can customize the visualization by choosing various icons, backgrounds, and layouts. 

In addition to its impressive mapping capabilities, this network monitoring software is excellent for performance monitoring. It’s vendor-agnostic, and you’ll get information about every device with an IP address. 

Automation

The network monitoring software has some automation options as well. You can execute scripts to restore or restart failed devices and create backups and logs. 

The software’s automation possibilities are far from mind-blowing, but HelpSystems have another software called “AutoMate” that can expand Intermapper’s automation capabilities immensely. 

But it gets better.

Capacity planning

Thanks to its robust data collection, Intermapper can help you find trends and discover issues so you can perform efficient capacity planning. 

You can create a variety of charts for every monitored metric. You can use those to get a birds-eye view of your network’s issues. And thanks to its powerful mapping features, Intermapper displays device dependencies, so you can quickly find any bottlenecks. 

Remote access

Intermapper also allows you to give users remote access to monitor the network, and keep track of network traffic and bandwidth usage. Unfortunately, you’ll have to purchase the software’s add-ons to do so.

All in all, HelpSystems delivers all the essentials you’d need from a network monitoring solution and then some.

Intermapper monitoring

So, what can this network monitoring program actually monitor? 

The short answer would be – anything with an IP address. 

That includes servers, routers, switches, firewalls, environmental sensors, and much more. You’ll be able to drill down into details about the CPU load, disk space, memory, health, etc. 

Additionally, you can use Intermapper’s probes to monitor applications. 

The software can interrogate nodes via SNMP, HTTP, TCP, and command-line access. You can also use probes to monitor standard devices, and there are many user-created probes you can download. You can create your own as well!

Isn’t that great?

What makes Intermapper different from other monitoring tools is that it doesn’t monitor the devices via dashboards. You can view everything from the maps you’ve created. They are very easy to build! With a few clicks, you can drill down into details or open subnets. 

A map of devices in an office.

You can also add various graphs to your view for real-time monitoring of devices’ performance.

That said, if you’ve used other network monitoring tools that offer a single pane of glass view, you might find Intermapper a bit baffling at first. Still, the software is easy to use, once you overcome the initial confusion. 

However, if you find it more convenient to use dashboards, you can integrate Intermapper with HelpSystems Insite. It’s a web-based tool that you can use to create customized dashboards. 

The software’s original interface allows you to see quickly if any device changes its status. On the top right corner, you can see all nodes and their state. And if any of them isn’t in the “OK” state, you can configure the software to notify you.

Intermapper alerts

When a device exceeds its performance thresholds, the network monitor system will notify you. The software can send a notification via email and SMS, play a sound (the default sounds are quite fun), Syslog. Furthermore, you can configure Intermapper to send an SNMP trap and execute a task or a script. 

What I like most about Intermapper’s alarming module is its flexibility

You can assign which person (or group) gets notified when a device changes its state. You can set various notifiers to an entire map or an individual node. And to limit the noise, you can add delays for minor outages, so you don’t get bombarded with alerts. 

Intermapper reports

Compared to some of the other best network monitoring systems on this list, Intermapper won’t amaze you with its reporting capabilities. 

There are eight built-in reports, and you can customize them by including the data you need. They include:

  • Average Response Time
  • Outage History
  • Down Devices
  • Worst Devices
  • Outgoing Traffic
  • Incoming Traffic
  • Slowest Devices
  • Short-term Packet Loss

Additionally, you can create your own by using any of the gathered data. Intermapper also comes with a built-in basic report editor so you can customize the layout. 

The network monitoring software can export the reports to CSV files, and you can send a link to the document to whoever needs to see it. 

You can’t convert reports to PDF, run scheduled ones, or automatically email them. 

Ease of use

As mentioned earlier, Intermapper is incredibly easy to use, even for newcomers. 

The software’s interface isn’t flashy and won’t give you any modern look vibes, but it’s functional. There are occasional bugs, but no major deal-breakers. 

Overall, this network monitoring program is easy to use, and its maps are easy to navigate and understand. 

Intermapper documentation and support

The website’s knowledge base is sufficient and offers lots of resources and documentation. I found it somewhat lacking, and it could be more detailed. Still, it’s easy to discover what you are looking for. If it’s there, that is. 

Also, there are about two webinars each month. Moreover, HelpSystems’ YouTube channel has many videos that will guide you through your Intermapper journey. 

Naturally, if something remains unclear, you can contact support. You can do so via live-chat (through a third-party vendor), email, or phone. 

However, I have mixed feelings about this network managing tool’s customer support. 

The live chat is outright useless unless you have very general inquiries. The reps aren’t familiar with the software, and all they can do is copy/paste information from HelpSystems’ website. 

On the other hand, the email I sent got answered quickly, and the reply was detailed and helpful. I couldn’t find any user reviews focusing on the company’s customer support, so I guess the email support is fine. My personal experience with this rep is positive. 

Intermapper pricing

You can use Intermapper as a freeware as long as you need to monitor up to 10 devices.

For anything more, you’d have to request a quote. The network monitoring software’s pricing scheme is transparent – you pay for the number of devices you want to monitor, and that’s that. You can also opt for the “Unlimited License” that can allow you to track unlimited devices. 

Verdict

In a nutshell, Intermapper is an excellent network mapping and monitoring software. It’s not flawless, but its ease-of-use, mapping capabilities, and detailed monitoring make it one of the best network monitoring systems on the market. 

WhatsUp Gold

WhatsUp Gold is a network management tool that can monitor on-premise, cloud, or hybrid infrastructures. This software offers everything you'd look for in such a system. You can monitor all types of networks, get alerts, and generate reports. WhatsUp Gold also allows you to control each device's access to the Web, filter suspicious IPs, and minimize potential threats. And if you are using cloud services, there's a built-in billing monitor.
Things we liked
+

Easy to set up

+

Excellent for network mapping

+

Automated discovery

Things we disliked
-

Lacks advanced features

-

Occasional bugs

-

Time-consuming configuration

WhatsUp Gold free trial

You can test this network monitor software for 14 days. No credit card required.

WhatsUp Gold overview

WhatsUp Gold dashboard

WhatsUp Gold is a network management tool that offers performance monitoring and mapping. You can use it to monitor on-premise, cloud, or hybrid infrastructures

Although it doesn’t offer many features compared to other solutions on this list, it certainly deserves its place among the best. And there’s a simple reason for that – WhatsUp Gold is perfect for monitoring networks.

The software has all the essential tools you’ll need to keep your network up and running. You can monitor all the crucial data, receive alerts, and generate reports.

So, let’s see what the software is capable of.

WhatsUp Gold features

The first thing you’ll notice after the super-easy deployment is the auto-discovery feature. Naturally, the best network monitor tools shouldn’t require you to input all the devices’ addresses manually. So, within minutes, WhatsUp Gold will find all your devices, their types, vendor, and more. 

Network management

Additionally, the software has the Network Traffic Analysis tool that collects data for the network traffic monitor and the bandwidth one. 

The same module can reveal any communications from suspicious IPs. It also applies when users are accessing the Dark Web. That way, you can control their access and minimize potential threats.

You get an out-of-the-box action policy that can detect if a device goes down. I know it’s one of the must-have features for such software, but this one can automatically execute a script to reboot the device.

But it gets better! 

Configuration management

WhatsUp Gold also comes with configuration management. It archives and can restore devices’ configuration to ensure the network’s performance. The software will send you a notification in case there’s a change in a device’s configuration. 

What makes WhatsUp Gold one of the best network monitoring systems is that it can help manage not only the configuration settings but IP addresses and wireless networks as well. 

And if that’s not enough, have some more amazingness:

Extra features

WhatsUp Gold includes a public REST API for integrations and workflow automation. It also has mobile apps for both iOS and Android devices.

In a nutshell – it’s an all-in-one monitoring solution, no matter the type of your network.  

WhatsUp Gold monitoring

Although the software has several handy features, it shines the brightest when it comes to monitoring.

WhatsUp Gold lets you see everything:

  • Virtual machines – VMWare and Hyper-V
  • AWS, Azure, SQL server monitoring
  • Applications
  • Bandwidth consumption
  • Network performance 
  • Wireless networks 

And more.

The network monitor uses SNMP, SSH, WMI, and other methods to interrogate the devices and track CPU and memory usage, disk space, and other metrics. 

The recently released version also includes cloud application performance monitoring. It can be used with all cloud-based apps in the AWS or Azure ecosystems. 

And speaking of the cloud, WhatsUp Gold has a built-in billing monitor for cloud services.

But it gets better. 

WhatsUp Gold also has decent mapping capabilities. You can get a birds-eye view of the entire network, device dependencies, and any issues that have occurred. Double-click any of them, and you can drill down to details. 

A birds-eye of a network's location and its details.

WhatsUp Gold alerts

This network managing tool handles the alarms via the action policies mentioned above. 

You can configure these policies to ring an alarm or inform a team member via SMS or email. A nice touch is the option to select which team members should get notified about the issue. 

What I like about these action policies is that they can perform specific automated actions – logging, restarting the device, or launching a script. 

The alerting module isn’t as robust and customizable as the ones offered by the other monitoring tools listed, but it does get the job done.

WhatsUp Gold reports

The software comes with predefined reports about everything in the system. 

You can add these in the dashboard and create different dashboards for a variety of audiences (stakeholders, for instance). 

The reports are customizable, and you can export them to PDF. Also, the software can create them on a scheduled basis.

Although I liked the software, the reporting module didn’t impress me much. There are other network monitoring tools on this list that are levels above WhatsUp Gold in terms of reporting capabilities. 

Ease of use

It may take some time to get used to the software. Overall it offers an intuitive and relatively easy to use interface. Even if you face any challenges, you can always consult the knowledge base (more on that in a bit).

The UI is functional, but it needs some polishing. There are several minor bugs, but nothing critical. 

The thing that annoyed me the most was the speed. The software itself worked fine and didn’t crash, but switching through different tabs took some time. It’s not permanently like that, but I guess the company’s servers experience some difficulties during peak traffic hours. 

Documentation and support

WhatsUp Gold’s website offers a rich library comprised of more than 3,000 documents that can help you get the most out of the software. 

There are a few gaps in the knowledge base, but the same goes for all network monitoring tools

Naturally, you can reach out to support if you face any challenges. You can contact the reps via the phone, or you can open a case. 

Additionally, WhatsUp Gold has an active community, and you can get help in the forum as well. 

WhatsUp Gold pricing

Until recently, you could view the software’s pricing options on the website. Today, following the industry’s standards, the company tailors the pricing according to the specific customer. 

Simply put,  you have to request a quote. You can opt for an annual subscription or perpetual license. 

Additionally, there are two bundles – for network and system admins. 

Verdict

Although WhatsUp Gold isn’t the absolute best network monitoring software on the market, it delivers what it promises and can compete with more sophisticated solutions. It’s an excellent tool for monitoring and can be a handy tool for businesses of all sizes. 

Datadog

Datadog is one of the best network monitoring tools for hybrid cloud environments. It offers hundreds of integrations, a collaboration module, and a machine-learning algorithm to make your life easier and your work more efficient. It allows you to monitor the network traffic between objects, and you can visualize data flows via a map view. All in all, Datadog lets you keep track of all your devices and connections between them.
Things we liked
+

Easy to set up

+

Numerous integrations

+

Custom dashboards

Things we disliked
-

Overwhelming UI

-

Learning curve

-

No mobile app

-

Complicated pricing scheme

Datadog free trial

You can test Datadog’s network monitor software for 14 days. No credit card required.

Datadog overview

Datadog is one of the best cloud-based infrastructure monitoring tools on the market. It’s suitable for all-sized businesses and comes with an impressive amount of features. It’s suitable for companies working in hybrid cloud environments. 

Datadog covers the entire monitoring spectrum – applications, networks, services, and deployments. Moreover, it comes with all the essentials, like analytics tools, alerts, API, and machine learning. It’s a great piece of software, and it’s no surprise that companies like DreamWorks, Samsung, and Ferrari are among Datadog’s notable clients. 

Datadog features

This network monitoring software offers a feature-rich environment. 

Datadog has more than 350 built-in integrations, including the leading cloud service vendors – AWS, Azure, and Google Cloud. You can also find many tools for collaboration, security, notifications, monitoring, etc. And if that’s not enough, you get full API access to integrate Datadog with any other systems and apps. 

Performance monitoring

Secondly, the software offers application performance monitoring, and recently the company launched its networking performance monitor. It allows you to monitor the network traffic between objects, and you can visualize data flows via a map view. This feature reveals where network issues are causing connectivity problems. 

All in all, you can monitor every service and device and all the connections between them. 

Dashboards

One of the coolest (yet challenging for newcomers) features is that you can create custom real-time dashboards! That way, you can visualize all the metrics you need and put them in one place. You can slice the data by various tags and arrange metrics from different sources in one dashboard. You can create as many as you need. 

Collaboration

Datadog’s network management tool also arrives with a built-in collaboration module. You and your teammates can share, comment, and notify each other about changes, issues, etc. 

Monitoring and logs

Although it’s somewhat cumbersome, the dashboard offers you a complete view of your network. And if something caught your interest, you can drill down into related processes, hosts, or logs for more information. 

With Datadog, you can monitor SLA, SLO, servers, uptime, performance, and more in real-time. The network monitor system lets you group the gathered data in any way you like – from datacenters to individual containers. 

Datadog's network monitor

Datadog allows you to collect all your logs from all the sources. That way, you can analyze everything and use your records for future troubleshooting. 

The software also offers a live tail of your logs, and you can apply various tags to keep track and inspect them quickly. Additionally, you can use your records to create automated alerts when Datadog detects any issues in your systems. 

Datadog alerts

Datadog can automatically alert you via email, Slack, or other third-party apps, integrated with the network monitoring program

As mentioned above, Datadog uses machine learning (called Watchdog) to detect performance anomalies anywhere in your infrastructure. You get alerts based on events or metrics. You can also use custom metrics via StatsD. 

Datadog can monitor and alert you about complete services or individual hosts. You can exclude any section from your infrastructure and get warned only about what matters, thus diminishing the noise.

And since you don’t want to receive hundreds of alerts, you can tune the software by applying logic to the warnings. You can mute or exclude some of them, and fine-tune Datadog to recognize acceptable failure levels. 

Still, despite all these options, one of Datadog’s disadvantages is the significant number of alerts you are bound to get. 

Datadog analysis and reports

Although this network monitoring software focuses on real-time analysis, you’ll receive weekly reports. 

The “Monitor Trends Report” will inform you about the last week’s issues, whether they are new or recurring, and if the alerts have patterns. You can also see which employees get notified most often. 

Still, Datadog’s superpowers lie in the customizable dashboards. You can use the drag and drop interface to add any graphs you need to analyze quickly. 

Ease of use

Datadog is one of those network monitoring tools that need some time to master. But once you get the hang of it – it’s relatively easy to use. The drag and drop UI allows you to tailor Datadog to fit your needs.

Datadog's dashboard

Support and resources

The Datadog website offers a rich knowledge base with hundreds of documents explaining the ins and outs of the software. Additionally, there are many videos and a couple of webinars that will help you with your Datadog journey.

However, even the best network monitoring systems aren’t flawless, and eventually, you’ll need to contact customer support. You can do so via email, the in-built chat, or you can join the company’s Slack channel. 

Overall, the reps are helpful and will work towards resolving your issues. 

Datadog pricing

The company offers three plans, which you can enhance by purchasing additional services. The following prices apply for annual billing. 

  • Free – For $0, you get the software’s core features, limited to up to five hosts. Also, you’ll get only one-day metric retention. 
  • Pro – For $15 per host, per month, you’ll unlock the alerting module, container monitoring, and custom metrics. 
  • Enterprise –  You’ll have to pay $23 each month for each host if you want to take advantage of Datadog’s full potential. This plan gives access to machine learning-based alerts, forecast monitoring, live processes, and advanced administrative tools. In a nutshell – the features that make Datadog one of the best network monitoring systems.

Now. 

Everything else, including log management, APM and distributed tracing, network traffic monitor, and others, will cost you extra each month. In fact, that’s one of the most common complaints from Datadog customers – that the software’s price can escalate manifold. 

Verdict

All in all, Datadog is a fantastic network monitoring solution. Despite the complicated pricing, some minor bugs, and the numerous alerts, the software offers some great features. The customizable dashboards, ML-based alerts, and hundreds of integrations make Datadog one of the best network monitoring software on the market.

Nagios XI

Nagios is one of the well-known names throughout the industry. It's a robust network monitoring software that can help every savvy IT expert do their job more efficiently. With its help, you can monitor everything in your IT infrastructure – including apps, services, protocols, operating systems, system metrics, and devices. Nagios XI also comes with customizable dashboards and you can set rotations. That way, you'll never miss an anomaly or if a device isn't working as it's supposed to.
Things we liked
+

User-friendly GUI

+

Flexible and customizable

+

Easy to use

Things we disliked
-

Time-consuming setup and configuration

-

Learning curve

-

Requires knowledge of Linux

Nagios XI free trial

Nagios XI offers the most extended trial, compared to the other network monitoring tools listed. You can test the software free of charge for 60 days.

Nagios XI overview

Nagios is one of the oldest network monitoring tools on the market. Ethan Galstad created the software’s forefather back in 1996 and renamed it to Nagios in 2002. At first, he named the app NetSaint, but due to trademark issues, he changed the name. 

Okay, enough with the history lesson, let’s focus on Nagios today.

In 2020, companies like Airbnb, Cisco, and PayPal trust this tool to monitor their networks. 

It’s a network monitoring software that monitors everything in your IT infrastructure – including apps, services, protocols, operating systems, system metrics, and devices. And because of the software’s massive community, there are hundreds of third-party apps that can help you keep your systems up and running. 

Furthermore, you can complement Nagios XI’s superpowers with its sidekicks – Nagios Log Server and Nagios Network Analyzer. The latter offers a network traffic analyzer and a network bandwidth monitor.

Anyways, let’s focus on the star of the show and see what it can offer.

Nagios XI features

There are two ways you can check your network elements – active and passive. Active checks mean that Nagios reaches out to a specific device, gathers metrics, and executes the required actions. 

In the passive method, the object itself sends data to Nagios. That’s handy when you can’t get inbound permissions to access particular subnets.  

Dashboards

This network monitoring software uses the Nagios Core 4 monitoring engine. It allows you to oversee the entire IT infrastructure, create maps, and view everything at a glance, thanks to the customizable dashboard.

And speaking of the latter, you can use the drag and drop interface to select the tabs you need, and you can even create multiple dashboards. 

Hold!

Things get even better!

Rotation

Another excellent feature is the “views” tab. From there, you can create a slideshow of your dashboards. That way, you can keep track of various displays, without creating an overwhelming panel with dozens of monitors. 

Sounds great, right?

Well, there’s more!

Role-based access

One of Nagios’ cool features that makes it one of the best network monitoring software is the ability to set up access roles. This comes in handy for large organizations, where different employees are in charge of various systems. 

Community

There’s an active (and massive) Nagios community, and you’ll find many add-ons and third-party integrations.

Nagios XI monitoring

Nagios XI offers 60+ monitoring wizards that cover a broad spectrum of systems, like various types of servers, environmental sensors, databases, and much more.

Keep in mind that using the wizards is straightforward and relatively easy, but if you need to add host and services groups, you’ll have to configure the Nagios Core. Unfortunately, this is far from easy and fast. Especially if you aren’t familiar with Linux.

Nagios wizards

There’s also an auto-discovery wizard that creates a list of IPs, thus mapping the subsystems. 

You can set the time intervals for how often the net monitor reviews the endpoints. 

For instance, you can configure Nagios to monitor a server every three minutes. In case it finds a problem, the software can perform multiple checks per minute before sending an alert. That way, if the issue is resolved or it’s a momentary spike within a specific timeframe, you won’t be notified. 

You can keep track of specific metrics, like drive space, CPU load, memory utilization, temperature, etc. 

All in all, it allows you to monitor devices at a granular level. 

Additionally, you can view the network’s topology in Nagios’ maps tab. Several mapping views can give you a bird’s eye over the entire system. This is quite useful, especially when you are monitoring hundreds of nodes. 

A map of devices.

Nagios XI alerts

When something needs your attention, you can configure Nagios to remind you at specified intervals.  You can also select the individual (or group) that needs to get notified. The network monitoring software can send alerts via SMS, email, or IM platforms. Also, you can customize the alert messages.  

Additionally, Nagios XI can send an SNMP trap, which is useful for integrating with a ticketing system, for instance. 

Naturally, you can see all alerts on your dashboard, and the numerous visualization options let you drill down into details. 

Nagios XI reports

You’d expect that one of the best monitoring software can create a variety of reports, right?

Well, Nagios delivers. 

There’s a variety of reports, and they are all customizable. You can choose time intervals, host groups, hide warning states, and much more.

Additionally, you can download the reports as CSV, PDF, or JPG files. You can email them right from the software’s interface too. If you opt for the standard edition, you’ll have to generate reports manually, while the Enterprise one gives you the option to schedule them. 

You can get reports on a variety of data, including top alert producers, and much more. Still, if you need a detailed network report, like bandwidth usage, network queries, and others, you’d have to purchase Nagios Network Analyzer. On the bright side, you’ll get a discount, seamless integration, and two powerful networking monitoring tools!

A list of reports available in Nagios XI

Another cool feature is the data visualizations tab. It lets you choose from several visualization options to transform the data into easy-to-digest visual information.  

Nagios XI ease of use

This network monitoring program comes with a functional, easy to use interface. It requires some time to get used to, but it’s quite intuitive considering the software’s many features. 

Support and resources

First of all, the Nagios website has an impressive library with all the necessary documentation. Additionally, you can find many videos that explain all the software’s features. 

Still, if you encounter any issues or have any additional questions, you can reach out to customer support. You can contact the reps via phone, email, ticket, and live chat. 

All in all, the reps are friendly and helpful. So is the opinion of other Nagios customers. 

Nagios XI pricing

Nagios XI is available in two editions – Standard and Enterprise. The network monitor software’s pricing depends on the number of nodes you want to monitor. Simple as that.

The prices for the “Standard Edition” are as follows: 

  • 100 Node $1,995
  • 200 Node $3,495
  • 300 Node $4,995
  • 400 Node $5,995
  • 500 Node $6,995
  • 1,000 Node $11,995
  • Unlimited Node+ $19,995

The prices above include a one-year license and maintenance. The Enterprise Edition costs an additional $1500 (for instance, it’s $3,495 for 100 nodes). It unlocks the SLA reports, business process monitoring, scheduled reports, and many other features. 

Verdict

Undoubtedly Nagios is among the top network monitoring tools. Although it doesn’t offer so many features as other programs on the list, Nagios is a robust software that gets the job done.

Phew.

That was a long ride.

With Nagios, my list of the best network monitoring systems on the market is completed.

You’re probably wondering something along the lines of: “Do I really need network monitoring software? Will it actually make my life easier?”

Let’s see: 

The Benefits of Network Monitoring Software

The benefits of network monitoring software. An Apple monitor with a dashboard in the centre.

In addition to saving you time and nerves, there are many benefits of using such a tool. Let’s name a few.

Saving money

The average cost of IT downtime is $5,600 per minute! You can do the math. 

By using any of the monitoring tools mentioned above, you can react fast and efficiently, thus staying ahead of outages. 

There will be no need for Sarah (or whoever) to call you to tell you that there’s something wrong. You will already know and more than likely have already taken care of it.  And you won’t even alert the end-user! That’s the main benefit of using such software – all the devices run smoothly and offer the best possible experience. 

Better planning

That is related to the first benefit mentioned, but it’s more than that. By being able to see the network’s issues quickly, you can plan ahead and make the required changes efficiently. That has two bonuses if you are an engineer – whoever’s in charge of the IT budget will have proof that you need to invest in new devices. 

Secondly, by using a network monitoring software, you can pinpoint the exact cause for any problems without having to run complete diagnostics. Finding the issues in an enterprise-level network without such software is like searching a needle in a haystack. A very big haystack, at that.

Security

75% of companies say a data breach has caused a material disruption to business processes.

That’s three out of every four companies!

By using network monitoring software, you can identify suspicious traffic. Moreover, the tool you choose will give you insight into how your network functions. Any spikes and out of the ordinary performance levels can indicate a potential threat. 

And the best part is – you’ll know exactly where to look to eliminate it.

Troubleshooting

One of the most significant benefits of using any of the network monitoring tools mentioned above is that they can save you time. By being able to see your entire network from a central location, you can quickly identify the root of the problem. 

That said, you won’t need to check each device and the links to find the problem. Instead, you’d go directly to the second floor to Tim’s office, clean up some temp files and free up some space on his hard drive. 

Better yet – you don’t need to go there. Some solutions can free disk space on their own. And you can automate the process and have a smoothly running network without even lifting a finger! 

The network monitoring software can also help you keep track of your entire infrastructure, no matter its location. You can create reports, get alerted when something’s wrong and much more. 

Now let’s talk a bit about you and what you should consider when choosing the best monitoring software for your company.

How to Choose the Best Network Monitoring Software?

How to choose the best network monitoring software? Multiple grey question marks scattered in the background. Only one is red.

There are a few criteria you should consider when selecting your network-improving solution. You can make the right choice by answering a few simple questions.

How many devices do you need to monitor?

When choosing the right network monitoring software, you should consider how many nodes you’ll have to keep track of. Some network tools have a limit, and you won’t be able to go beyond that. 

Also, the pricing scheme for most tools can be confusing. Do you pay per sensor, per element, or per device? Make sure you know the limits of the software of your choice. It should be able to monitor everything you need. Thankfully, most of the tools on my list offer a variety of plans, including unlimited ones. 

Is the solution scalable? 

If you’ve found the software that you like, make sure it can meet your needs in the future. Keep in mind that the network you monitor today isn’t the same as the one you’ll monitor in a year or two. It can grow, or it can shrink, depending on numerous circumstances. 

The best network monitoring software should be able to scale according to your network’s needs. Also, you should be able to downgrade your plan, or you’ll end up paying for something you don’t fully use.

How much money are you (or your boss) willing to spend on such software?

Pricing is a tricky part when it comes to network monitoring software. Once you’ve convinced whoever’s in charge of budgeting that you need such a tool, the fun begins.

When you have a hard figure on the table, consider the software’s pricing method. For instance, if the software of choice offers 1,000 sensors in a plan that fits in your budget, know that you won’t be able to monitor 1,000 devices. Think around 100.

With that said, before choosing the network monitoring solution, make sure it will fit the bill. 

Also, watch out for the addons. A software’s website may claim that it comes with additional features, but there’s rarely the information that it will cost you extra. So, make sure you understand the ins and outs of the pricing method before purchasing.

What features do you need?

At the end of the day, it all comes down to how much the software costs and what it can do. Besides monitoring, that is. 

Sure, there are network monitoring tools that offer features in buckets, but do you actually need them? 

Here’s my advice:

Before purchasing, try out the software. Each of my top picks offers a free trial. Make sure that the features you need function in a way that suits you. Anything on top of that is a bonus. 

So feel free to evaluate any (or all) of my suggestions, and you’ll see they do a terrific job. It’s up to you to choose the best network monitoring software for you and your company. 

Wrapping Up

Choosing the right solution is a difficult task. 

You can find many articles all over the Web that explain how to choose the right network monitoring software. In most of them, you’ll find the same advice – “Do your research.”

Well, I did it for you.

It wasn’t easy, and it took a lot of time. In the end, it was worth it. I’m sure you’ll find the right one for you among my picks.

So, take them for a test drive and choose the one that suits you best.

And just before I let you go, do you know how a group of engineers is called?

An outage.

If you don’t want to become the butt of that joke, go ahead and try any of the best network monitoring systems out there. You’ll see it’s worth it.

Well, thanks for staying with me for that long ride!

At this stage, you probably have your eye on a solution or two of my list. I won’t take any more of your time.

Have fun testing them!

FAQ

Q:What are some examples of network monitoring software?
A:

I will not only show you examples, but I will also give you the best ones in the industry:

  1. ManageEngine OpManager
  2. SolarWinds Network Performance Monitor
  3. ConnectWise Automate 
  4. PRTG Network Monitor
  5. LogicMonitor 
  6. Intermapper
  7. Ipswitch WhatsUp Gold
  8. Datadog
  9. Nagios XI 

And in case you want to know how to monitor network traffic, just use each of the tools above. 

Q:What is network traffic monitoring?
A:

Network traffic monitoring or network flow monitoring refers to the process of ensuring network availability and that all of its components are running smoothly. 

That means a system is monitoring the devices connected to the network, their bandwidth usage, and their overall communication with each other. 

Q:How does a network monitoring tool work?
A:

Simply put, a network monitoring solution creates a list of all devices in a system. Then it uses an array of protocols (like SNMP) to “interrogate” them. For instance, such a tool can request information about a server’s CPU usage, disk space, and so on.

Naturally, the top network monitoring software can do much more than that, as you can see in the reviews above.

ABOUT AUTHOR
Deyan G.
Deyan G.
I've been fascinated by technology my whole life. From the first Tetris game all the way to Falcon Heavy. So writing for Techjury is like a dream come true, combining both my passions - writing and technology. In my free time (which is pretty scarce, thanks to both my sons,) I enjoy traveling and exploring new places. Always with a few chargers and a couple of gadgets in the backpack. Follow me on Twitter @DeyanGeorgiev87