Keeping track of the status of all the devices and hardware connected to your local area network (LAN) has become a large, never-ending task. In the early days of network management, you could keep track of your networks on your own — this isn’t possible anymore. You’ll need a tool that can help you act quickly to outages, downtime, unusual behavior, etc. Thus, a good LAN monitoring tool is the ideal solution to overcome this challenge.
That said, how do you choose the right LAN monitoring tool? It’s not an easy task, but I’ll try to make it easier for you in this article. I’ll discuss LAN monitoring, its benefits, and some top products to narrow your search. First, let’s learn more about what LAN monitoring entails.
What Is LAN Monitoring?
Local Area Network (LAN) monitoring is the best way to manage and monitor all the devices connected to your network. A LAN monitor is software that can find your devices and track the data flowing to and from these devices. Devices include anything connected to your LAN, like computers, printers, servers, routers, and bridges. For example, with LAN monitoring in place, you’ll get a notification if a router goes down.
LAN monitoring is a great way to monitor your network and help you spend your time more efficiently. It’ll help you automate processes and saves time in the long run. Thus, you won’t have to spend time guessing what the issue is when a router goes down. In addition, if a printer goes offline, you’ll find out before other users realize. That way, you can fix it before someone asks questions. In essence, LAN monitoring helps you be proactive with network issues. That said, what kind of features and functions should you look for?
Let’s dive into what makes a good LAN monitor next.
4 Features to Look for in a LAN Monitor
When shopping around for a great LAN monitor, you must ensure it has all the best features. Here are 4 features you should look for when determining the best LAN monitoring tool for your company’s needs:
1. Network Switch Monitoring
This feature helps find all the switches and switch stacks in your network. It’ll then actively monitor and listen to all the ports. As a result, you can track the data down to the user requesting or modifying it.
2. Router Performance Monitoring
In a LAN monitoring tool, this feature looks at all the monitors on your network and can identify any downtime, latency, etc. Seeing what your routers are doing is a great way to tackle issues preemptively. This will also enhance the user experience.
3. User and Server File Activity Monitoring
This cool feature lets you see who’s updating what files. It’ll log each user that makes new files or updates existing ones. Consequently, if malicious activity comes from inside your business, you can see which user account made those changes.
4. Storage Space Monitoring
This process will keep an active tab on how much free space you have across your network. That could be either on-prem or in the cloud. You can then get metrics on how quickly you use your free space. You can also see what’s being deleted and at what rate.
Now, after mentioning what features make a good LAN monitoring tool, let’s consider some great options.
Top 5 LAN Monitoring Tools
When looking for the best LAN monitoring tool for your company, you’ll come across many options. It can be time-consuming to look through all of them. To help cut down the time spent searching, here are the top 5 picks I recommend.
1. GFI Languard
GFI LanGuard enables you to manage and maintain end-point protection across your network. It provides visibility into all the elements in your network, helps you assess potential vulnerabilities, and enables you to patch them. In addition, the patch management and network auditing solution are easy to use and deploy. GFI Languard also has a great UI and gives you a 30-day free trial to test their powerful tool. As for pricing, you can contact the company for further information.
2. SolarWinds Network Performance Monitor
SolarWinds NPM offers a friendly UI allowing you to quickly detect, diagnose, and resolve network performance issues and outages. It’ll also allow you to monitor and manage wireless networks. In addition, it has dynamic network discovery and mapping. Features like network availability monitoring and deep data packet inspection ensure your network’s security. Deep packet inspection and network mapping are great features for any large business or enterprise. Check out their free trial to test it out.
Site24x7 gives your company an all-in-one monitoring solution. It can monitor websites, servers, clouds, networks, application performance, and real-time user monitoring. An easy-to-use UI combined with powerful features make Site24x7 a top pick! The tool also offers a variety of pricing tiers. It starts from USD9 per month and goes up to USD449 for the enterprise version. This ensures everyone has access to the pricing and performance they need. You can also check out their 30-day free trial.
4. ManageEngine OpManager
ManageEngine OpManager is an easy-to-use and affordable network monitoring solution. It monitors network devices like routers, switches, firewalls, load balancers, wireless LAN controllers, servers, VMs, printers, and storage devices — and it’s connected to the network. The tool also offers great pricing and many extra features to make it a great deal. It offers 3 tiers: Standard, Professional, and Enterprise, with varying price points. You can contact them for exact pricing and details.
5. Paessler LAN Monitoring with PRTG
Paessler is an all-in-one LAN monitoring that uses SNMP, Packet Sniffing, NetFlow, and other protocols for monitoring your LAN. Pre-defined sensors can also be used immediately and combined with other network flow monitoring. In addition, Paessler improves your LAN at all levels of accessibility, security, and performance. They are very well-known in the industry for their quality software. The tool’s pricing starts from USD1,799 per server license up to USD15,999, with 3 more tiers in between.
Now that you’ve gone through our best 5 options, it’s time to wrap up.
The Bottom Line
To manage your network performance, you must first establish a LAN monitoring software that you can use to build upon and solidify your network performance monitoring. LAN monitoring is important for your network security and effectiveness. That’s why you should ensure the tool you pick has the best features. These features include network switch monitoring, router performance monitoring, storage space monitoring, and user and server file activity monitoring. That said, you should ensure that the tool you pick caters to all your business needs.
Have more questions? Check out the FAQ and Resources sections below.
What is LAN monitoring?
LAN monitoring is the process of monitoring all the devices, computers, printers, servers, routers, bridges, etc., on your network. It also involves knowing their status at any given moment. You can get updates if devices go offline, have a high traffic volume, etc. In essence, LAN monitoring puts your devices and their statuses at your fingertips.
What is network management?
Network management involves managing network traffic and data across distributed networks like on-prem, cloud, and hybrid models. Depending on your company’s size and business, you might have an entire team dedicated to looking after every network management facet. Otherwise, you might also have many teams assigned to each facet of the business.
What is data visualization and monitoring?
Data visualization looks at the application side of things rather than the hardware and devices. That said, in most cases, you can combine all of this data into one tool or platform for easy access and monitoring.
What types of network monitoring are available?
Network monitoring has 4 available types: availability monitoring, configuration monitoring, performance monitoring, and cloud infrastructure monitoring. These types are generally all lumped into the general category of network monitoring.
What’s the best way to improve LAN monitoring?
The best thing you can do to improve your LAN monitoring is to combine it with other management tools. These tools could be network management, network performance management, network observability, etc. The more tools you use, the better your network will be.
TechGenix: An Article on Network Segmentation
Find out the best network segmentation practices for your company.
TechGenix: An Article on Network Performance Monitoring
Learn about network performance monitoring for your business.
TechGenix: An Article on Network Observability and Network Monitoring
Explore the two worlds of observability and monitoring and how to combine the two.
TechGenix: An Article on Continuous Security Monitoring
Check out the guide on continuous security monitoring.