Network mapping software is anything that is used to map the network or network topology of a business and all its components. This mapping of network is vital for any business as it is vital for the effective functioning of a business, especially those that are big and have substantial number of computers. Network mapping software helps in this regard since it helps to cover the area under inspection properly, whether a small home based business or a big corporate enterprise
Free graphical network monitoring software is one of the most sought-after items on the internet, as networks are swiftly becoming an integral part of modern life. Basically, network monitoring software allows you to track how well your network is functioning and also helps you spot any flaws or bugs that might occur unexpectedly. When it comes to free graphical Network monitoring Software, there are tons of options on the market. However, not all of them do the job adequately, making it quite the task to find a good one.
Best for: All businesses, network engineers, and designers.
EdrawMax Pricing: The free version is provided and the pro version starts from the US $99 annually. Education price is also provided.
EdrawMax is ideal for network engineers and network designers who need to draw detailed network drawings. It is lightweight yet compelling network diagram software.
It can be used to create the following network diagrams: basic network diagrams, AWS network topology, Cisco network topology, logical network diagrams, physical network diagrams, LAN diagrams, WAN diagrams, LDAP, active directory, and more. You can find all the EdrawMaxnetwork diagrams examples here.
Also, except for network diagrams, EdrawMax is an all-in-one diagramming tool for creating more than 280+ types of diagrams like flowcharts, UML diagrams, floor plans, mind maps, org charts, Infographic and so on.
- Available for Windows, macOS, Linux, and web versions.
- MS-style interface to get you started quickly.
- Easy-to-use network diagram tool with rich examples and templates.
- Abundant free network diagram examples and templates: Basic Network, Home Network, AWS, Cisco, Rack.
- Drag-and-drop simplicity.
- 3D symbols with smart buttons or handles.
- Robust File Compatibility.
- All-in-one diagramming software for creating more than 280 types of diagrams.
Verdict: EdrawMax is excellent in drawing network diagrams (AWS, Cisco, Rack…) on Mac, Windows, Linux, and Web online. Starting with a drag-and-drop interface and a large collection of ready-made network symbols, even one without any drawing skill can make professional-looking network diagrams in minutes.
Net-Probe is another one of network mapping software in this list. It provides a free version which works for maximum 8 devices. So, using its free version, you can scan and map up to 8 devices.
How to map your network using Net-Probe
- Go to Workspace menu and click on New Workspace Wizard option. To perform scanning of networked devices, you need to enter IP address range. It scans networked devices using Ping and Traceroute. The scan results with networks & hosts, hops, SNMP community, SNMP response, Perf response, MAC address, etc. are displayed in real time.
- As the scanning ends, the network map is displayed on the interface. You can view discovered devices and related information in the right panel. There, you can also view Connection Points, Unspecified Devices, Unattached Devices, Bad Networks, Unattached Network Points, etc. You can view properties of each device by selecting it, such as type, name, IP address, etc. In the Graphs tab, you can view node’s Ok Uptime %, Critical Uptime %, and Warning Uptime %.
- It not only displays the network map, but it also lets you customize it by adding a new device, new connecting line, text, cloud, etc. and by customizing device properties like color schemes, shape, picture, etc.
- You can directly print the network map.
- It also lets you set graph refresh rate.
Net-Probe is a nice network monitoring software. It provides various useful features like Log Viewer, Aquirer/Target List, Alarm Messages, Failure Action Manager, Host Shortcut Editor, etc.
Datadog Network Performance Monitoring
Best for small to large businesses.
Datadog Pricing: Its pricing starts at $5 per host per month. Datadog offers various solutions like Network monitoring, Security monitoring, Log management, etc. and the pricing will change according to it. A free trial is available for the platform.
Datadog Network Performance Monitoring (NPM) solution makes use of a unique, tag-based approach. It tracks the performance of on-premise & cloud-based networks and enables you to break down network traffic between hosts, containers, services, or any other tag in Datadog.
It will provide complete visibility into network traffic, infrastructure metrics, traces, and logs, all-in-one place by combining flow-based NPM and metric-based Network Device Monitoring.
- Datadog Network Performance Monitoring (NPM) will give you unprecedented visibility into modern networks using meaningful and human-readable tags.
- It maps the flow of network traffic between hosts, containers, availability zones, and even more abstract concepts like services, teams, or any other tagged category.
- Maps network traffic flow in an interactive map so you can identify traffic bottlenecks and any downstream effects.
- It correlates network traffic data with relevant application traces, host metrics, and logs, to unify troubleshooting into one platform.
- You can identify traffic bottlenecks and any downstream effects through an interactive map.
Verdict: Datadog Network Performance Monitoring solution is easy to navigate and use. It will allow you to see metrics like volume and retransmits without writing queries. You can use it for a cloud-based or hybrid network.
Network Performance Monitor – Free Trial
My top pick is SolarWinds Network Performance Monitor (NPM). NPM is extremely useful for both mapping networks and determining how your network is performing. It includes a feature called NetPath, which maps your network and then provides you with information on network performance, traffic, and configuration along the entire service delivery path. You can also see performance metrics with hop-by-hop data between your central servers and your satellite offices.
NPM also features a number of network visualization graphs and charts. Insights from NPM network mapping features can easily be viewed alongside your other performance tools to provide troubleshooting assistance of your entire network. Try out a free trial of NPM for 30 days.
Network Topology Mapper – Free Trial
SolarWinds Network Topology Mapper (NTM) is focused on network mapping. Unlike NPM, the tool doesn’t include network performance measurement capabilities. However, NTM shines in its ability to automatically plot your network to build multiple different kinds of network maps from a single scan.
The automatic scanning function is useful if you have an already established network needing to be properly mapped. It automatically detects any changes in your network topology and updates the maps accordingly. You can choose whether you want it to determine your network using SNMP, ICMP, WMI, CDP, or another method of discovery. You can also try NTM free for up to 14 days.
Paessler PRTG Network Monitor is a well-known software with monitoring and performance tools as well as reporting features and dashboards. It lets you create maps to show you devices and connections, as well as live status information for your network, so you can detect problems in one glance and troubleshoot effectively using maps as a primary source of information. You can customize your map using HTML, and you can share the map with whoever you want (company-only or external). While the maps are extremely useful, you must create them manually using the drag-and-drop map editor, which can be time-consuming.
Nmap (Network Mapper) is a free and open source network mapping software for network discovery. Apart from network mapping, it also provides a host of other network management services. Nmap uses raw IP packets to determine the hosts available on a network. Nmap collects data regarding the services offered by the host devices. The IP packets sent by Nmap can also determine the type of OS versions being used by the host devices. Nmap can run on all operating systems. It provides official binary packages for Linux, Windows, and Mac OS X.
- Supports advanced techniques for mapping out networks filled with IP filters, firewalls, routers, and other obstacles.
- Port scanning mechanisms, version detection, and OS detection
- Scan capacity for huge networks with thousands of systems
- Supports most of the operating systems, including Linux, Windows, OpenBSD, FreeBSD, Solaris, Mac OS X, IRIX, Sun OS, HP-UX, NetBSD, Amiga, etc
- Easy to use graphical (GUI)
- Comprehensive and up-to-date guidelines to use the software in multiple languages
- Support through a vibrant community of developers and users
Cacti is a free and open source network mapping software that provides graphical representations of the network. With easy to use interface, Cacti is suitable for both smaller networks such as LAN based installations and large network with thousands of computers. It is free software with a GPL license. It provides support through its community forum. The project started in 2001, and currently, it runs on version 1.2.0.
- Unlimited number of Graphs can be drawn
- Support for all of RRDTool’s graph item
- Common network maps and graphs can be grouped together
- Built-in SNMP (Simple Network Management Protocol)support
- User-based administration control which allows admins to control access to the software
- Preview display of the graph
- In-built templates for network graphs
- Automatic network discovery
- Cross-platform operating system support
Nagios XI is an open source network mapping software application. It is a high efficiency and comprehensive tool for IT infrastructure and networking monitoring. It provides a central view of everything happening in your networks. With a smart GUI, it provides options to customize the application’s layout, design, and user preferences. With Nagios XI users can view network incidents and resolve them before they escalate further.
- Nagios Core 4 monitoring engine to provide scalable monitoring to users
- The dashboard provides a customizable overview of services, hosts, and network devices.
- Administrators can view network issues and troubleshoot them proactively
- Bulk Host Import,
- Auto-discovery of networks
- Multiuser capacity and extendable architecture with integrations
- Save your most recent configurations
- Easily set up and manage user accounts
- Nagios is a secure software
- Can work with CentOS or Redhat Enterprise Linux (RHEL), Ubuntu or Debian
OpenNMS is an open source network mapping software application. OpenNMS is a highly integrated, open source software designed for building network monitoring solutions. OpenNMS comes in two different distributions: Meridian, which is more suitable for enterprises and Horizon for monitoring new technologies and IT ecosystems. Both are completely open source and are licensed under AGPLv3. While Horizon is free to download, Meridian is available under a subscription model.
- Device and network Auto Discovery
- Location-Based Mapping
- Supports Layer 2 and Layer 3 Network Topologies
- Matrix type display on the dashboard
- Sends alerts and notifications in case of any network glitch
- Uses SNMP protocol for monitoring networks
- Detects interface outages, the response time of servers, etc
- Allows IT admins to do Root cause and impact analysis
- Users can monitor the performance of the devices using OpenNMS
- Data collection through various network protocols
Lantopolog is a free and open source network mapping software tool that lets you monitor the network, topology discovery, and visualization. The current version of LanTopoLog is 2.44. It runs on Windows Vista/2008/7/8/2012/10/2016/2019. It is licensed under Shareware.
- Automatic network discovery based on SNMP
- Provides detailed and searchable physical network topology map
- Maps the physical port connections
- Detecting new devices in the network and notifying of this event
- Add custom data to the map
- Sends notifications when the Spanning Tree Topology is changed
- Ping monitoring tool
- Generating alarms when there are failures in the network
- Email alerts notifying
- Web browser-based access from anywhere in the network
- Network traffic monitoring
- Monitoring invalid and dropped packets
- Notify the administrator when traffic thresholds are exceeded
- Easy-to-use interface
- Safe to use and does not write anything to OS
As a network engineer, you always want to monitor your network and troubleshoot any issues as soon as possible. If you are in a managerial position and is responsible for overseeing the performance of your company’s network infrastructure, it is just as important for you to have the same tools to help quantify the effectiveness of your company’s network operations. Monitoring tools can help in maintaining a healthy network by identifying points of weakness (if any) and the potential areas for improvement.