As network engineers, having insights about how our network performs can save us from a lot of headaches. That’s where software tools for network diagnostics are useful for every networking professional.
Pingplotter is a network diagnostic software utility used to monitor packet loss, latency, jitter etc in data packets along network paths.
This tool lets you visualize each network data path in form of graphs etc which network professionals can interpret and act upon.
As stated on their site, Pingplotter is the fastest in end-to-end diagnosis. The reliability and usability has made Pingplotter one of the more famous options in this software genre, with many accomplished institutes and operations currently using Pingplotter.
But- as with any piece of software- Pingplotter might not be to everyone’s preference. Some may find the UI not to their taste. Or some might look for free options or maybe with more features and capabilities.
In the article below I have researched some of the best Pingplotter alternatives (both free and paid) that will serve you well. The list is in no particular order.
WinMTR is a free, open-source diagnostic tool. WinMTR has a simple operation, intuitive enough for even beginners and the not-technologically-inclined to use it.
All a person has to do is enter a host IP address (target IP), and WinMTR will run its process and provide a result in either txt or html form. The information you will obtain from the tool includes % lost packets, sent and received packets, best/worst/average packet path times etc.
As an easy and free solution, WinMTR is brilliant. However, WinMTR has not seen any developments and the latest version comes from back in 2013. This fact will inevitably deter some people.
Ping tracer is another free utility on this list. Ping tracer works similarly to most other pieces of similar software, which is basically using ICMP packets to test a network path (e.g via ping or trace route etc).
But as per the claims of the developer, Ping tracer has one of the more easy to use interfaces. In Ping tracer, the user enters the destination IP, and then the app plots graphs of each individual nodes giving the user greater insight on their connection path details and where the packages are being slowed down or lost.
What I like about this software is that you can have the tool work continuously so that you can monitor the behavior of a network path (between a source and destination) over a period of time and even go back in time to see what happened.
Traceroute NG is a free path analysing tool that comes from the well-known vendor Solarwinds.
This app constantly analyses paths and can detect changes and problems both using ICMP and TCP packets.
Traceroute NG can be a bit more intimidating to users since it is operated through command prompt and shows results in a tabular format.
Overall, Traceroute NG is an upgraded version of Windows’ built-in Tracert tool. But a wider range of usability makes Traceroute NG the much superior choice.
With this tool you can detect packet losses and latency between source and destination targets.
Gping is a straightforward piece of software. Once installed, all you will be greeted with is a tiny window which gives you the option to enter the host target IP.
From there, it runs with continuous pings towards the target for diagnosing path problems. It shows results in a graphical form. Metrics shown include Round Trip Time (RTT), Total RTT, packet loss etc.
Gping is also totally free to use. You can go to the Gping site and get started right away without needing to do much else.
Smokeping is another opensource and free latency tracker. Smokeping analyses latency and provides results though interactive graphs.
This software, unlike the previous entries here, also supports a range of plugins that the user can use for added usability out of the software.
Smokeping can also produce live charts for latency.
Open Visual Traceroute
Open visual traceroute is one of the more impressive apps (regarding graphical visualization) of this whole roundup.
It is feature rich and has literal maps showing your data points. Open visual traceroute has 3D maps of the earth showing the paths between user and destination host.
It has several categories of features such as network packet sniffer, traceroute, “whois” to get details about a domain etc.
This software is free and opensource and was coded in Java. The open visual traceroute is one of the better options for the free side of this genre.
Pinginfoview is the tool you use for pinging multiple destination IPs at once (unlike some of the previous tools above that allow only a single target at once).
On this software, you can put into a range of host IPs which will get pinged and the results are shown in a Success/ fail/ Time tabular format.
What I like about this tool is that it supports also TCP ping (on a port number) in addition to the traditional ICMP ping.
Pinginfoview is free as well with the only payments you can make being through a donate option on their site.
Path analyser pro
Path analyser pro is a paid software for route-tracing. Depending on the plan, you can pay from $30 to $750.
Path analyser pro runs performance tests and outlays the results in a graphical form. The charts allow users to easily identify any problems and deal with them.
Path analyser pro also comes with other impressive features like email tracing, URL tracing, ICMP/TCP/UDP protocols for tracing and much more.
Multiping is a $40 piece of software for a single user license. There are other payment plans as well (for more computer license numbers).
Multiping operates at multiple targets and can show graphs for performance. Mutliping has alerting features and can notify you if something significant happens in the network.
It can be used also as network discovery tool. You can scan (ping) a whole subnet range and identify live hosts in the network.
This is a complete path monitoring app and as such has one of the better UIs which is also user customisable. For its price tag, I think it is a great option.
Cisco Network Assistant
Cisco Network Assistant is a free utility software with a lot of cool features. This app can diagnose systems and search for problems, all in a convenient topology map of you network.
It can even uproot the problems through troubleshooting. Cisco Network assistant has a more advanced feature set and will best please the technically knowledgeable ones.
For me, as a Cisco professional, this is a great tool to use especially in networks with Cisco devices.
By using the Cisco Active Advisor feature with this tool, you can see information about your devices such as Warranty, end-of-life products, advisories etc.
Pathsolutions is a wide-range of network diagnostics tool that covers network performance, VoIP, telecom, security etc.
You can use Pathsolutions for the usual performance testing along with much more. They have several other solutions in addition to classical network monitoring such as SD-WAN performance, Cloud performance, network diagram option etc.
Pathsolutions has graphs, charts and many other diagram based features that could be helpful for many professional people.
Netfort LANguardian is a well-known option in this list and works with deep-packet inspection technology to uncover problems and offer detailed visibility in the network.
This software can even disclose possible malware and ransomware infections in your network, does file and web monitoring, VMware monitoring and much more.
It is a commercial paid tool but is one of the most comprehensive network monitoring and network visibility tools in this list.
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