If you’ve ever wondered why your company’s network seems to slow down at times, or how efficiently your employees are using their networked devices, then it’s time you implement a network analysis strategy.
Network Traffic Analyzer (NTA) tools can help you find bottlenecks in traffic, analyze what types of network traffic is being used within your organization, and even help you proactively identify areas where network, device, and communication line upgrades are needed.
Basically, Network Traffic Analyzer tools provide you with visibility inside your network to identify what applications are being used, possible misuse of the network by employees or malicious traffic and much more.
Check out the following top network traffic analyzer tools to make the most of your company’s intranet and Internet connections and resources.
Auvik Networks provides cloud based network analysis tools and currently monitors over 5 million devices for a variety of companies.
Since Auvik’s Network Traffic Analyzer (NTA) toolkit (named Auvik TrafficInsights) is off-site in the cloud, you don’t need to buy any additional hardware to use it.
One of the best features of this NTA is the graphical network representation option within the user interface, which allows network administrators to quickly visualize not only the network infrastructure, but where potential issues are arising within the network.
With the help of machine learning, the tool allows you to gain deep visibility into your network’s traffic to identify a myriad of issues such as application and traffic usage, which devices consume the most bandwidth, traffic flows within the network etc.
The Netflow Analyzer by ManageEngine is a real-time network monitoring tool with powerful features related to bandwidth usage, security, traffic visibility etc.
This is one of the premier tools for network administrators concerned with having both deep insights into network flows and also visibility into possible security and network threat detection including report archiving for forensic network analysis.
This NTA supports a wide variety of network hardware including devices from top vendors like Cisco, HP, Fortinet, Juniper, Brocade, PaloAlto etc.
Some notable features about ManageEngine’s NetFlow Analyzer that I personally find very useful are the following:
- It allows you to discover which application or IP is consuming your bandwidth, helping identify resource-intensive applications or network components.
- It generates real-time traffic reports for various sources and traffic types, granting visibility into network operations.
- It allows you to search for the traffic patterns of specific IP addresses, applications, ports, and protocols with different traffic types like volume, speed, and utilization.
- By supporting multiple traffic flow protocols (like NetFlow, JFlow, sFlow, IPFIX), it means you can have a holistic traffic analysis solution in network environments with different vendors.
You’ll need to contact ManageEngine for a quote, as subscription and licensing prices for this tool differ based on the needs of your business.
SolarWinds’ Netflow Traffic Analyzer is a great tool for small businesses through enterprise level organizations and can help monitor network traffic in real time.
This product detects changes in bandwidth usage, alerts administrators when data transfer rates go beyond predetermined thresholds, and reports destination and source data for all network traffic.
This NTA is a great tool for any administrator with a need to keep tabs on network usage and traffic patterns.
With a thirty-day free trial and a price point just over $1,000, this product is accessible for most medium and large businesses.
What I like also about this option is its support of Vmware vSphere distributed switch. This means that the tool can monitor also traffic going through your virtualization platform so you can have visibility in your Vmware VM flows as well.
If simple, high-level network analysis won’t cut it for your company, you’ll want to consider a more in-depth NTA like the Network Analyzer from Nagios.
Nagios is a well-known IT and network monitoring and management software with thousands of implementations around the globe.
This tool is capable of deep packet inspection, live cross-threshold alerts, application monitoring, and even has team licensing options so your authorized network administrators and engineers can all login to view traffic conditions across your network.
Nagios’ network analyzer is also a great choice for any company already running Nagios XI based systems, as it integrates seamlessly to create a unified IT management and monitoring platform.
A single license of this tool costs $1,995.
The PRTG network analyzer, Network Monitor, from Paessler is a powerful full featured product for keeping an eye on your traffic and networked devices.
This tool creates reports that just about anyone in your IT department can make use of, with user friendly interfaces and visualizations.
Paessler’s Network Monitor comes in several editions, with the full feature edition being free for the first thirty days.
A restricted edition is available for free, which is a great way to get used to the software and see how a NTA can benefit your business.
This product is available as a desktop client for Windows based machines, and also has a web interface for those who prefer not to administer such applications locally.
PRTG is also a popular brand trusted by over 500,000 users and its licensing is based on number of “sensors”.
Each “sensor” monitored is an aspect of a device (such as bandwidth, CPU, RAM etc).
You can estimate an average of 10 “sensors” per device monitored. So, if you purchase a 500 sensor license you can expect to cover around 50 monitored devices.
Wireshark is a network packet analyzer that’s packed full of features and comes at an amazing price; free!
This NTA is distributed under open source, GPLv2 licensing, meaning anyone can download and use it.
This is a great option for new or small businesses or non-profit organizations who need an effective means to monitor network traffic and find bottlenecks and other issues among their network.
Wireshark runs on MacOS, Windows, and even Linux, and has been a favorite among network administrators since its first release in the late 90’s.
Wireshark can be used to determine source and destination information as well as packet type data and other multi-protocol analytics.
It has a higher learning curve than other solutions but there are tons of tutorials and online technical articles to help you along the way.
If you want to monitor the whole network traffic with Wireshark, you must create a SPAN port on a switch which receives all network traffic and sends it to the Wireshark computer (which must be connected to this SPAN port).
Netreo is a unique NTA, in that it makes it easy for everyday network users to analyze traffic, application usage, port and protocol information, and even database access logs.
Netreo’s network monitoring tool can report by network data collection method, such as SNMP or SMTP, to monitor device and email transactions, respectively, or by other factors such as operating system or application.
Netreo serves companies in just about every sector including healthcare, banking, retail, and education.
Organizations in the educational and other public-facing sectors in particular can benefit from Netreo’s automated guest and host discovery feature which reports on new devices and unexpected connections.
Icinga 2 is focused on providing a full stack network monitoring service, and they certainly hit the mark with their powerful namesake NTA.
This company provides network information from both an on-premise or a cloud-based SaaS interface that allows you to inspect everything from which applications are being used the most in your company to how fast your connection is on each device.
Icinga automates most network monitoring tasks, making it a great choice for network administrators who prefer great flexibility. It has a relatively steep learning curve though.
Icinga is an open-source and free tool, however they offer also a subscription paid plan in order to have professional support for the product. It doesn’t have public pricing at the time of this writing, but does have variable licensing costs for enterprise customers and businesses.
If you’re concerned about risk and data security threats or excessive bandwidth usage, you should probably contact Rapid7 today.
The NTA provided by Rapid7 can alert you to any endpoint abnormalities or anomalies with its automated traffic monitoring and detection systems, and is a great choice for any company with strict traffic and internet usage policies.
Prevent intrusions, leaks, and other network issues by getting regular reports from Rapid7, which include threat detection and behavior analytics.
Their NTA solution is called Insight Network Sensor (InsightIDR) which collects traffic from a switch SPAN port and looks for security threats such as malware, botnets, malicious traffic etc.
Neither erroneous nor malicious packets stand a chance getting through your network with NetVizura’s Netflow Analyzer in place.
This powerful NTA is based on NetFlow traffic analysis and was designed to increase security and enhance resource utilization in your network, not just by means of weekly or daily reports, but by automatically detecting when traffic changes or endpoint behavior looks different than usual.
This is all thanks to machine learning built into the NTA that learns the usual patterns of your network activity and detects and alerts you to any deviations.
The pricing for this product is based on two license types:
- Perpetual license
- Yearly subscription license
You will need to get a custom quote from them for both options.
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