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Free Axence Tool To Network Scann and Monitor

Posted by Milan at 9.10.2009
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One aspect of computer network management, which can be challenging to some, is allocation and tracking of IP addresses. There are a variety of methodologies on how to keep track of them, be it a simple spreadsheet log or a monitoring tool, which constantly tracks distribution and use. While opinions vary on how to best use IP addresses, either dynamic or static, or a mixture of both, each node on a network will ultimately require one type or the other.

In the dynamic environment, each time a node’s network interface is powered on, it is assigned an IP address by a service like DHCP. This type of address is assigned for a predetermined period of time, based upon the service distributing the addresses. In a static IP address environment, each node (computer, network equipment, or otherwise) is assigned an IP address on a more permanent basis, and the address stays with the node until such time as a technician manually alters the address by hand, by login script, or other methods.

In order to keep tabs on how many IP addresses are being used, most people will lean towards having some type of utility to monitor the usage and distribution. Axence Net Tools Pro is a collection of scanning and monitoring tools for IP addresses. Instead of having several different brand of network tools, Axence combined popular utilities into one graphical interface.

Also, be sure to check out our previous reviews of network software such as Wireshark, a free network sniffer and protocol analyzer, TCPView, a free software to monitor TCP connections, and EventSentry, a free software to monitor events logs.

Upon opening up Axence Net Tools Pro, the user will notice a strip of icons, which represent each of the abilities this software has to offer. Beginning on the left hand side of the icon strip, we have the NetWatch tool. NetWatch allows the user to continually add IP addresses to monitor for ping response to a given host. Simply type in the IP address in the Address field, and then click on Add to include it for monitoring. You can also adjust the signal time increments and timeout threshold in this same screen.


The Ping icon will bring a utility that, at its core, is the same as using ping from a command line shell. The difference here is that the user gets a graphical representation of pings and ping response time. One can, if desired, alter the packet size, signal time increments, and timeout values, similar to the NetWatch interface. As a side note, altering the packet size is one way to test a firewall, as most should drop non-standard sized packets.


The Trace icon is really a graphical wrapper for the tracert command line tool. This is a useful tool for bouncing signals off a node on a WAN type interface, to see where the packets are routed through. If one has geographically dispersed network segments, the Trace tool comes in handy, especially when troubleshooting slow connections. It never hurts to spot check your managed public IP addresses. The same adjustments with the Ping tool, can be used here, with the addition of the number of hops the Trace scan takes.


IP address responses seem longer than normal? This is a good time to look at the Bandwidth icon. Enter the target IP address in the Address field, then click on Start. The graph below will (unless the target is offline, or IP address is invalid) then begin to draw a line graph, and display bandwidth and packet information on the left hand side of the screen.


If you need run a quick check on a particular IP address, one might consider using the NetCheck tool, instead of Ping. NetCheck is geared more towards testing the quality of the signal response, than just the response itself. Here you can alter the number of packets to send, and are presented with a choice of Auto, LAN, or WAN. Most of the time the Auto selection will work, however, you may want to consider the WAN option if scanning across Internet connected Virtual Private Networks.


Of course no IP management tool is complete without the ability to scan entire subnets, and Net Tools Pro is no exception. The user can click on the Scan network icon to switch to a tool that combs the subnet for active IP addresses. In the screen shot below, a Class C subnet is used to scan for alive IP nodes in the network. This particular Scan type is Hosts only, meaning this scan is only looking to see if IP address responds or not. While one can specify to poll each node for a range of open ports, this is up to the user to decide how much time they have available.


Once of the benefits to using Net Tools Pro is the Export option. Any of the tool screens can have their results exported to different file formats. For instance, using the Ping tool, one can click on File, then Export, and have the formats of HTML, XLS, TXT, and XLS available for their use. This export shows the response time data. Using the export feature in conjunction with the Scan network tool, cuts down on the time it takes to type out a list of IP addresses. Instead of manually creating a spreadsheet, export the scan results to an XLS or TXT file.

Keep in mind that not all tools have the same export options. The Bandwidth tool will export in a graphics file format (like Bitmap) and will display the graphed result of the bandwidth response. In any event, you can create data files to save for logging or historical purposes.




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