How do you deal with network faults? How do you start troubleshooting a network fault? The answer could be, “it always depends on the right approach; before starting network troubleshooting, you must be aware of fault impact and localization; and your team must be equipped with the required utilities that lets them facilitate rapid remediation of an issue.” Network troubleshooting tools help your team and network administrators to isolate a fault quickly and allow them to take required actions to resolve a fault at the earliest. By selecting the right network troubleshooting tool, you will be able to manage stress-free network communication with improved network performance. This article covers a list of widely used network troubleshooting tools and helps you to select the right tool to improve your network troubleshooting experience and asset availability. So, first of all I would like to introduce a very reliable and widely used network troubleshooting tool named “SolarWinds Engineer’s Toolset.”

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1. SolarWinds Engineer’s Toolset (offers most reliable set of network troubleshooting tools)

Engineer’s Toolset offers an advanced set of over 60 must-have tools in one package. These tools are very valuable in the area of network monitoring, diagnostic, discovery, configuration, SNMP traps etc. Its intuitive web console comprises advanced set of features such as response time monitor, memory, CPU and interface monitors, TraceRoute and much more and allows network administrators to provide comprehensive network diagnostics and rapid remediation of sophisticated network issues with its bundled utilities, such as Ping Sweep, DNS Analyzer, and TraceRoute. It also offers a set of effective systems management tools, such as WAN Killer, Wake-on-LAN, etc., and log management tools, such as Syslog Server for syslog message collection and filtering. This application is also available for trial use and can be downloaded from the following link.

Free Trial: (14 days full functional activation) http://www.solarwinds.com/register/registrationb.aspx?program=428&c=70150000000D8FL

To Know System Requirements: http://www.solarwinds.com/engineers-toolset/system-requirements.aspx

Online Quotation: http://www.solarwinds.com/onlinequotes/#/onlineQuote?productcode=61

Website: http://www.solarwinds.com/engineers-toolset/network-troubleshooting.aspx

Pros

  • Simple Interpretations and diagnostics
  • Offers vast operability over different networks
  • Rapid discovery and remediation of network issues
  • Includes over 60+ important tools

Cons

  • Almost fine, no major issue found

2. ManageEngine’s OpManager (a must-have troubleshooting utility for large enterprises and service providers)

ManageEngine’s OpManager is a worldwide-used software application program that helps SMEs, large enterprises, and service providers automate workflows, alerting engines, and discovery rules, and also allows network administrators to set up an advanced environment to regulate network services and operations. This utility offers complete network solutions including network management, data center management, and fault and performance management. Its intuitive fault management offers real-time graphs, switch port mapper, remote process diagnostics, and SNMP Mib Browser, syslog viewer and its smart phone GUI allows you to access your OpManager with an anytime-anywhere approach from your smart phone.

This application assures that you can track and resolve issues very fast using its in-built “heal-itself” functionality and offers prolonged analysis of a fault by logging requests in the helpdesk to grantees you to resolve a fault very quickly.

ManageEngine OpManager comes in three editions

1. Essential: starts from $595 (for 25 devices)

2. Enterprise: starts from $16,495 (for 500 devices)

3. Large Enterprise: starts from $29,995 (for 1000 devices)

Visit the link below to learn more about the feature comparisons and add-ons/plug-ins pricing:

https://www.manageengine.com/network-monitoring/opmanager-editions.html

Download link for free OpManager edition (for 10 devices) https://www.manageengine.com/network-monitoring/download-free.html

Website: https://www.manageengine.com/network-monitoring/

Pros

  • Advanced device mappings
  • Excellent notification and reporting management
  • Automated script monitoring
  • Intuitive dashboards with real-time chart to monitor key variables

Cons

  • Plug-ins are not free

3. WhatsUpGold (details error-prone network service interruptions)

WhatsUpGold is a widely used network monitoring and troubleshooting application; this utility allows network engineers to enhance IT monitoring and management of time-consuming, error-prone network service interruptions. It provides an easy troubleshooting experience using messy wiring closets into graphical representations that are logical and easy to interpret with network maps. WhatsUpGold detects network problems rapidly and drills down into them for detailed diagnostic information, enabling fast resolution.

It also has the ability for automated asset discovery in your network to help network administrators reduce time-consuming manual inventories, including H/W modules details, warranty status, and more in minutes.

To check system and hardware specifications: http://docs.ipswitch.com/NM/65_WhatsUpGoldv163/01_ReleaseNotes/index.htm#link6

Website: http://www.whatsupgold.com/products/whatsup-gold.aspx

Download Free Trial: http://www.whatsupgold.com/free-trial/whatsupgold.aspx

Pros

  • Identify and resolve problems quickly to eliminate downtime
  • Automated inventory of IPv4/IPv6 wired and wireless networks
  • Quickly visualize and isolate performance problems

Cons

  • Takes time to understand its features

4. Spiceworks Network Troubleshooting Tool (Freeware utility for rapid detection and remediation of network issues)

Spiceworks Network Troubleshooting Tool allows you to evaluate a working device with a non-working device for rapid detection and remediation of an issue. This utility enhances the experience of remote device access through its intuitive dashboard, which displays a list of remote devices and allows the use of existing protocols like VNC and RDP to access remote device. Apart from remote access, it also offers the option to kill processes running on remote devices and even provides the ability to sort processes by CPU or memory usage. This utility offers you to discover Windows, Mac, and Linux-based machines. Using this application, you will be able to generate inventory reports to track licensing, service tags, and software patches.

To learn about more features of the Spiceworks Network Troubleshooting Tool and its required system configurations, you may visit following link.

Website: http://www.spiceworks.com/free-network-troubleshooting-tool/

Download link: http://www.spiceworks.com/free-network-troubleshooting-tool/

Pros

  • Advanced evaluations of non-working device with a working one
  • Ease of remote access
  • A freeware utility

Cons

  • Limited features

5. TamoSoft Throughput Test (offers advanced testing across IPv4/IPv6 wired and wireless networks)

TamoSoft Throughput Test offers an advanced testing mechanism that facilitates the continuous flow of TCP and UDP data streams across your wired or wireless network and figures significant network metrics, such as upstream/downstream throughput values, packet loss, round-trip time, etc. It supports both IPv4 and IPv6 connections to evaluate network performance using server-client connection approach. The server part of the application listens for connections from the client, and the client connects to the server. Once the connection has been established, the client and server send data in both directions, and the client part of the application computes and displays the network metrics.

System Requirements

This testing application can be installed on various versions of Microsoft Windows and Mac OS X.

Website: http://www.tamos.com/products/throughput-test/

Download Link: http://www.tamos.com/download/main/

Pros

  • Supports both wired and wireless
  • Evaluates IPv4 as well as IPv6 connections

Cons

  • Limited features

6. MetaGeek’s inSSIDer (offers Wi-Fi troubleshooting with ease)

inSSIDer is a well known WiFi troubleshooting application that enhances the experience of WiFi network discovery so that network administrators will be able to find channel stability by knowing the signal strength. It supports both RF interferences in the 2.4- and 5-GHz bands. This utility comes in two variants:

inSSIDer 4 (for Windows & Mac OS X): for basic home use such as wireless scanning and discovery. inSSIDer 4 provides the crucial information about your network, such as min and MAX DATA RATE, router manufacturer, network conflicts, and much more. This software application is available for $19.99.

inSSIDer Office (Windows & in Beta for Mac OS X): loaded with more troubleshooting characteristics, such as RF spectrum analysis, expert analysis, network drilldown, etc. Apart from channel-to-channel WiFi & RF statistics in the Channels view, it can also handle multiple radios within the same network to create an easy and reliable multi-AP network.

inSSIDer office is available for $149 (software only).

Website: http://www.inssider.com/

Download Link: http://www.inssider.com/downloads/

Pros

  • Multi-AP management
  • Easy to use
  • Wi-Fi signal strength tracking

Cons

  • Limited to wireless networks

7. NetStumbler (Windows-based freeware utility to diagnose wireless networks)

NetStumbler is a widely used Windows-based tool for wireless network inventory of access points, SSIDs, signal strength, channels range, and authentication-related information, such as whether WEP is enabled or not. NetStumbler can also be connected to a GPS to offer accuracy of access point localization. This tiny application can be installed on various editions of Microsoft Windows operating systems, such as Windows XP, Windows 7, etc.

Download Link: http://www.netstumbler.com/downloads/

Website: http://www.netstumbler.com/

Pros

  • Accurate access point localization
  • Wireless network inventory
  • Freeware and easy-to-use utility

Cons

  • Limited options and features
  • Supports Windows OS only
  • Limited to wireless networks

My article would not be complete without mentioning “Ping” and “Traceroute”: Both are ICMP-based utilities and used by network professionals all over the world. I don’t even remember a day of my networking career when I resolved an issue without using these tiny utilities. “Ping” and “Traceroute” played a great role in my network troubleshooting and implementation assignments and I hope in yours too. “Show route” is also very popular for resolving network issues.

Conclusion

Each moment of network downtime is directly associated with a company’s reputation and prestige. Knowing how to deal with network faults is a valuable skill for network professionals. After scrutinizing all the above utilities, it would be a tough decision for me to pick one from the above listed tools but here I would like to suggest that you go with a tool that can provide advanced diagnostics and troubleshooting over variety of networks, such as wired, wireless, IPv4/IPv6, etc.

I hope this article will be appreciated so that I will be able to offer more in this segment. You can write me @comment section below to provide any query/feedback; I will try my best to resolve your queries at the earliest. And don’t forget to spread the link of this article on your Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn accounts so the maximum number of people can get this exclusive piece of information. Keep reading @Instanseschool and consider joining our Facebook group, http://www.facebook.com/intenseschool to get updates on new posts and technologies.

References

Apart from my experience, my team, corporate clients, and colleagues helped me a lot to develop this article, and the following web pages provided me with all the latest functionalities of these tools.

http://www.solarwinds.com/engineers-toolset/network-troubleshooting.aspx

https://www.manageengine.com/network-monitoring/

http://www.spiceworks.com/free-network-troubleshooting-tool/

http://www.whatsupgold.com/products/whatsup-gold.aspx

http://www.inssider.com/

http://www.tamos.com/products/throughput-test/

http://www.netstumbler.com/