Every now and then you run across a utility that just makes your life easier. Everybody has their tools that they use and has their reasons for using them. Well here are mine. I have compiled a list of my top 10 Network Administration tools. As well, since most IT budgets are tight these days, I tried to limit these to either free or low cost software.
The LazyNetworkAdmin’s Top 10 Network Administration Utilities
10.) NetMeter – Net Meter monitors network traffic through all network connections on the computer it’s installed on, and displays real-time graphical and numerical downloading and uploading speeds. Show real-time download and upload speeds, show bandwidth consumption at any moment and run daily, weekly, monthly and summary traffic reports.
9.) SuperScann – A nice, quick utility to scan IP Addresses and port numbers to determine what ports are open on that address. Useful when troubleshooting firewall configurations or determining what kind of device a certain IP address is.
8.) Sysinternals – A large collection of system tools to do anything from change your desktop background to enumerating permissions of a shared folder. They even have a BSOD screensaver. With a total of 65 different tools, the entire suite takes up only 10 merges of storage and give you hundreds of answers to your network problems.
7.) Firebug – A FireFox plugin, not only is this a great web development tool but this also does a good job of troubleshooting network issues with regards to your web server. Determine website problems, speed, latency, page size, total number of requests and more. A must for any web server administrator.
6.) Look@Lan – A fantastic little utility to scan anything from an entire subnet, IP range or individual computer. Tells you ping, hops, snmp, portscanner, OS version, hostname mac address and more. Great when your trying to determine what certain devices are on your network. Although the makers of this software have stopped updating it, they still have it available for download and I still use it regularly
5.) Windows Software Update Services – No more wandering around from computer to computer, taking up precious WAN bandwidth going to Microsoft’s website to download updates every month. With Windows Software Update Services, you can manage it all through one console. Download only necessary updates to your LAN and have computers check into there. Updating has never been this easy.
4.) Microsoft Visio – Microsoft Office Visio 2007 makes it easy for IT to visualize, explore, and communicate complex information. With a wide variety of diagram templates, stencils and shapes, you can confusing text into an orderly flowing diagram.
3.) ADSIEdit – Active Directory® Service Interfaces Editor (ADSI Edit) is a Lightweight Directory Access Protocol (LDAP) editor that you can use to manage objects and attributes in Active Directory. ADSI Edit (adsiedit.msc) provides a view of every object and attribute in an Active Directory forest. You can use ADSI Edit to query, view, and edit attributes that are not exposed through other Active Directory Microsoft Management Console (MMC) snap-ins: Active Directory Users and Computers, Active Directory Sites and Services, Active Directory Domains and Trusts, and Active Directory Schema. I call this the Active Directory Swiss Army Knife
2.) NetFlow Analyzer – NetFlow Analyzer is a, web based (no hardware probes), bandwidth monitoring, network forensics and network traffic analysis tool that has been optimizing thousands of networks across varied industries for peak performance and helping them to put their bandwidth for a better use. NetFlow Analyzer is a NetFlow, sFlow, JFLow (and more) collector, analyzer and reporting engine integrated together.
1.) WireShark – Its never been easier to determine network issues. Wireshark offers deep inspection of hundreds of protocols and a customizable filtering engine to allow you to filter all the way down to only the data you need. With its ability to watch packet captures live then store them for analysis later, you will always have the data you need to troubleshoot network traffic.