Review and compare the top Network Diagnostic Tools used to scan, analyze, identify blockages in network infrastructure:
We all are aware of internet outages or slowness in network connectivity or total shutdown of internet services. The major reasons for such incidents are the breakdown in network devices or slowness in the network infrastructure. Such breakdowns or slowness causes either huge revenue loss or loss of credibility of the company.
To overcome such losses, the company adopts network diagnostic tools to keep surveillance on network devices and network infrastructure. Such tools help to take action before incidents and prevent major disasters.
Network diagnostic tools are built to scan, analyze, identify blockages in network infrastructure and send alerts or notifications much in advance before a breakdown happens. There is a high probability that such outages or breakdowns can be reduced or minimized using such tools.
What You Will Learn:
- Network Diagnostic Tools (NDT) Review
- Frequently Asked Questions
- List of Top Network Diagnostic Tools
Network Diagnostic Tools (NDT) Review
In the subsections below, we’ll look at the most popular network diagnostic tools, their technical overview, comparison, features, and cost-effectiveness for administration.
Technical Explanation Of NDT
The primary role of NDT is to quickly analyze performance issues, check availability, and troubleshoot network devices, applications, components, and more.
NDT monitors traffic movement, network performance, and performance issues, and provides network functionality without delay. It also measures and reports metrics in statistics and graphical format for quick and easy steps to troubleshoot problems before major disruptions occur.
Advanced network diagnostic tools collect packet data, intrusion detection, suspicious traffic, and more.
Pro-Tip: There are various brands on the market today, both paid and free, but choosing the right one depends entirely on the network and user needs. It is best to use a trial or basic version of the software before finalizing and implementing the entire package.
The primary tasks of network diagnostic tools are to find latency on networks, hosts and networks resource utilization, traffic movement, hardware and software application usage, and much more. The advanced tools support process-level monitoring, locating the source of suspicious data packets, cloud virtualization metrics, DNS (domain name server) monitoring, and so on.
Below are the top 6 network challenges that can be solved by implementing a network diagnostic tool or software.
- Poor network performance.
- Locating and fixing errors.
- Network security.
- Configuration management.
- Scalability and availability.
- Cost and credibility.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q #1) What are the five 5 network diagnostic utilities?
Answer: Top 5 Free network diagnostic utilities are:
The top 5 Paid network diagnostic utilities are:
- PRTG Network Monitor
- ManageEngine OpManager
- SolarWinds Network Performance Monitor
Q #2) What is network diagnostics used for?
Answer: It is used to scan, investigate, and troubleshoot network problems. The network can be a Local Area Network (LAN), Wide Area Network (WAN), and World Wide Web (WWW).
Q #3) How do network diagnostic tools work?
Answer: A network diagnostic tool sends and receives data packets over the network. It inspects all gathered network metrics at a centralized console to provide the status of the network. It displays statistics/metrics in graphical and chart formation to ease the interpretation and to take quick action to resolve the issues.
Q #4) How do I run Windows network Diagnostics?
Answer: To start the Network Diagnostics on Windows systems, follow the below steps:
Go to command prompt and type Control Panel or else directly go to Control Panel
Select Network and Internet -> Network and Sharing Center-> Troubleshoot problems-> Select appropriate module where you want to run the network diagnostics.
After following the above steps, the system will automatically run the network diagnostics.
Q #5) What are common network problems?
Answer: Top 6 common network problems are:
- High traffic flow leads to slowness in the network.
- High server usage leads to lower throughput.
- Physical connectivity issues related to cabling, routers, switches, network adapters, etc.
- Error or breakdown in network components and devices.
- Name resolution issue.
- IP address-related error or duplication.
List of Top Network Diagnostic Tools
Enlisted below are some impressive and popular software for network diagnostic:
- SolarWinds Network Performance Monitor
- ManageEngine OpManager
- PRTG Network Monitor
- Microsoft Network Diagnostic Tool
Comparison of Top Network Diagnostic Software
|SolarWinds Network Performance Monitor||Mid-size to large |
across the regions
|Tracks and display |
current and historical
performance data through
charts and dashboards
|30 days||The Price is available |
on quote request
|ManageEngine OpManager||Enterprise levels |
|Packet loss monitoring to |
find latency in the
|Nil||The Price starts at |
$245 for 10 devices
|PRTG Network Monitor||Small to large |
|Large number of sensors for |
precise monitoring of
every aspect of the network
|30 days||Its Price starts at |
$1750 per server license
|Wireshark||Tool for Network administrators |
for data packet analysis
|Live capture of data |
packets to identify and
|-||It is |
|Dynatrace||Medium to Large |
|In detail statistical |
data about hosts and process to
process in the network
|15 days||The Price starts at |
$21 per month for
8 GB per host.
Let’s start the technical review of the above-listed tools:
Best for mid-size to large enterprises distributed across the regions.
Solarwinds network performance monitoring software is a comprehensive monitoring, management, diagnosis, and troubleshooting tool. It monitors network performance and performs latency tests. Helps determine if the problem is application or network related, resulting in fast resolution.
By customizing the alert system, administrators can set pre-defined thresholds and receive notifications. It automatically tracks and displays current and historical performance statistics in charts and dashboards, helping to quickly resolve network connectivity issues.
- Quickly solve connection problems.
- Reduce network downtime.
- Faster problem-solving.
- Diagnose network problems and optimize performance.
Verdict: This tool is used for quick diagnosis, fault finding, detecting performance issues, and troubleshooting.
Price: The software is available for free for 30 days. Pricing is available upon request of a quote, but there are many flexible licensing options based on perpetual and subscription models.
Best for enterprise levels networks.
ManageEngine OpManager is one of the robust network management tools and Network diagnosis is one of its features. It monitors every network device such as routers, switches, servers, and even virtual systems. Its intelligent workflow automation tools eliminate first-level problems based on pre-defined workflows.
One of its unique advantages is that it uses the Internet Control Message Protocol (ICMP) to measure packet loss and determine network latency. Packet loss is one reason why the network becomes slow.
- Built-in tools like Telnet, Tracert, Telnet, and Remote desktop terminal.
- Packet loss monitoring to find latency in the network.
- Built-in workflow automation for repetitive maintenance tasks.
Verdict: ManageEngine OpManager is an award-winning comprehensive tool that can monitor networks and services and maintain large enterprise networks.
Price: The price category is divided into 3 editions and the price starts at $245 for 10 devices, with prices for other versions listed below.
#3) PRTG Network Monitor
Best for small to large networks, even for distributed locations.
A PRTG network diagnosis is part of the PRTG Network Monitor. One of the best network diagnostic tools in the segment. It monitors network operations, devices, Windows, Linux, and MAC OS, and triggers alarms for slowness or bottlenecks. It also performs server diagnostics, event log monitoring, and database server monitoring, such as SQL.
Administrators can easily configure monitoring agents using pre-configured sensors and take action when they see suspicious activity. PRTG uses Simple Network Management Protocol, Flow Sensor, and Packet Analyzer to closely monitor network and device performance.
- A large number of sensors to precisely monitor all aspects of the network.
- Historical data for quick investigation of the source of the damage.
- Special alarm system.
- Custom reporting structure.
Verdict: Easy to set up, monitor, and diagnose with thousands of pre-configured sensors. Can be used by small to large companies. It has a very flexible licensing model suitable for any network.
Price: There is a fully functional trial version for 30 days. Its price starts at $1750 per server license. There is also a subscription-based pricing model. If you are looking for a free version for your home or small network, then it will be set up for free with 100 sensors.
Website: PRTG Network Diagnosis
Best tool for network administrators for data packet analysis.
It is a free data analyzer that is used to identify and fix various network problems. It captures and records real-time network traffic data. This tool collects data packets flowing back and forth from the network interface card, and this data can identify problems with network performance.
- Support for multiple operating systems such as Windows, Linux, Mac, Solaris, FreeBSD, etc.
- Support for multiple protocol decryption.
- Capture live data packets and the ability to perform offline analysis.
- VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) analysis.
Verdict: This network protocol analyzer and can be used in commercial, not-for-profit, government agencies, and educational institutions.
Price: This is free software.
Best to get statistical data about hosts and processes to analyze and troubleshoot.
It has the largest presence in the market and receives the highest satisfaction rating among network monitoring products. It is a comprehensive diagnostic tool that monitors the processing of network communications spread across the cloud and data center.
It helps identify services and processes that are interrupted by network connection issues. It monitors and detects resource-intensive processes, bandwidth usage, network traffic at the host and process level, detects connection issues, and more.
- Network capacity monitoring at the process level.
- Integrated monitoring of network status.
- Provides real maps of how devices interact with each other.
- Identify infrastructure changes and automatically detect new machines and network interfaces.
Verdict: A diagnostic tool that helps monitor, identify, and fix problems not only at the host level but also at the process level. Supports data centers and virtual environments.
Price: This software can be used for free for 15 days. Prices start at $21 per month for 8GB per host.
#6) Microsoft Network Diagnostic Tool
Best for Port Scanner, ping test, and LAN Chat.
This is a free diagnostic tool from Microsoft. Used by technical administrators to scan Network Interface Card (NIC) ports to detect open-and-closed ports to prevent unauthorized access to the network. To check the latency in the network, speed, and ping tests, this tool can be used.
- Access to Windows Firewall Management.
- LAN chat.
- External port scanner.
Verdict: If you are looking for an internal and external port scanner, network latency checker, and built-in LAN communication tool, then this free Microsoft diagnostic tool is the best pick.
Price: This is a free tool.
Website: Microsoft Network Diagnostic Tool
Best for small to larger networks for inventory, scanning, and security audit.
Although this tool is free, it performs lots of critically important network functions, such as network inventory, network upgrade planning, and uptime monitoring. This award-winning diagnostic tool is compatible with almost all operating systems like Windows, Linux, Mac, Unix, and more.
An important aspect of the network is security, and it is possible to check it with this tool. Host-specific details such as runtime, operating system, and services, package types, etc. can be monitored.
- Scanning thousands of systems.
- Scan port and detect operating system version.
- Available in CI (Command Line) and GI (Graphical Interface).
Verdict: A best free tool for network administrators to perform critical tasks like network discovery, security audits, upgrade planning, and more.
Price: It is a free tool.
Best for local networks, nationwide networks, and large campuses.
perfSONAR stands for performance Service-Oriented Network Monitoring Architecture. It is a set of tools used to test key network performance measures to identify and separate problems. The software also measures network bandwidth and identifies network paths.
It is an open-source software used to monitor various networks for performance inconsistencies, and packet loss, find network problems and fix them.
- Network measurement planning and monitoring.
- Display of different data types.
- Alerting mechanism.
Verdict: This tool is used to monitor and measure network performance from small to large networks. Built-in tools perform various tasks to find, diagnose, and troubleshoot network and host problems.
Price: Free of cost.
Additional Free Tools
Best for testing the connectivity between two nodes.
It is used via the command-line interface to determine network latency. Used to transfer data packets from host to server to find bidirectional delays. It can be used on the local networks and global networks. It is a tool that is built into the operating system.
Best to get the domain name from the command line.
The main purpose of this tool is to find problems related to Domain Name Server (DNS). DNS plays a very important role in name resolution on the web. The command obtains a DNS mapping with Internet Protocol (IP) addresses on the network. It is used to find the host IP address and domain name from the IP address.
It is best to look for problems on the network.
The netstat (network statistics) command is used to monitor network connections and troubleshoot problems. Used to display inbound and outbound connections using Transmission Control Protocol (TCP) and User Datagram Protocol (UDP). It has various command-line options used to get active ports, Ethernet statistics, and routing tables for IP4 and IP6 protocols.
It is best to follow the route of data packets on the network
This command is used to find the route of data packets that travels from the source to the destination on the network. It also reports all IP addresses of routers between them. Usually used to troubleshoot connection issues like lags, routing errors, etc. This command is used on Windows, Linux, and Mac operating systems.
Best for managing host IP addresses
Ipconfig stands for Internet Protocol Configuration. The command without option will display the IP address, including the subnet mask and the computer’s default gateway. It shows the active and disabled system connection details. When used by this command with options, it updates the Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DHCP) IP address and clears the Domain Name System (DNS) setting.
Ifconfig is an interface configuration and behaves like Ipconfig, but with the slight difference that it only indicates an active TCP (Transmission Control Protocol) connection and is used in Unix operating systems.
Best for wide-ranging networks for large enterprises.
Datadoghq is a very comprehensive tool for monitoring, tracking, diagnosing, and solving network problems. Its uniqueness is that it monitors a wide variety of network devices and components, including bare metal devices, databases, Domain Name Servers (DNS), and cloud networks.
By setting up custom notifications for devices and services, administrators can easily track performance. All diagnostics and troubleshooting require data metrics and this tool makes them very effective in predicting network bandwidth usage.
- Monitor interactions between services, pods, and cloud resources.
- Analyze DNS performance, including health, query volume, response time, etc.
- Error tracking mechanism.
- End-to-end incident management.
Verdict: A comprehensive tool for monitoring, diagnosing, and troubleshooting various network devices and services. It is suitable for both local and cloud networks.
Price: Supports free for 5 hosts. The price starts at $15 per host/month.
As you have read from the above sections, you will find various types of network diagnostic tools that fulfill varied network situations and admin requirements.
If you are looking to take care of a wide-ranging and large network then diagnostic tools like PRTG Network Monitor, ManageEngine OpManager, Daradoghq, and SolarWinds are recommended. If you are looking for high-level monitoring like process-to-process monitoring, dynamic environment, and capacity monitoring, then Dynatrace would satisfy your need.
If you are looking for free net diagnostic tools, then you can start with Microsoft Diagnostic Tool, PerfSONAR, and award-winning Nmap tool.
- We spent 30 hours studying and researching various network diagnostic tools to choose the best one for you.
- Total software researched- 20
- Total software shortlisted – 14