Neon Software's LANsurveyor 8.5 for Windows provides the network map you need, and some desktop management and basic security tools.With the complexities of today's network environment, it's always good to have an understanding of the basic layout of your network. Neon Software's LANsurveyor 8.5 for Windows provides the network map you need, and some desktop\u00a0management\u00a0and basic\u00a0security \u00a0tools.The software includes a network mapping tool and client software that it calls Neon responder. You don't need to install the Neon responder client for basic network mapping, although the management functions do require it.Navigating through a large network map with this product to find a specific node or device might be difficult without a way to filter or search. To help with this issue, LANsurveyor includes a navigation pane for displaying map items in a hierarchical tree view. Graphical display options include linear, symmetrical and circular. The linear option displays devices on the same subnet connected to a continuous straight line, while symmetrical and circular use a round display for grouping. You even can save a copy of your map in several image formats including JPEG, Windows Bitmap or Enhanced Metafile (EMF). Microsoft Visio will directly import EMF files to allow further editing.Another feature directly related to creating a map is the poll list. A poll list includes routers and other map objects that LANsurveyor polls at a user-defined rate. Using the poll list, we really liked being able to keep tabs on the status of key network components, along with performance statistics.Neon doesn't market LANsurveyor as a desktop management tool, but it does provide the same functions as you might find in products such as LANdesk or Microsoft's System Management Server. Functions include system shutdown or restart, synchronize clocks, send file or folder, send instant message, store notes about a specific node, stop a running process and launch an application. Other features include hardware\/software inventory and software metering.On the hardware inventory side, LANsurveyor had a little trouble with our hyper-threaded server box. It reported four CPUs, when we only had two. For software inventory, LANsurveyor did a pretty good job, although some items were ambiguous. One example was five entries titled "Microsoft Office 2003," with five different version numbers but no indication as to what part of Office (such as Word or Excel) they represented. Software metering simply lists all the running processes, although you can filter by name.A continuous scan add-on to the basic version delivers a security tool for intrusion detection. With more companies deploying\u00a0wireless \u00a0access points, the need to detect rogue nodes on the network becomes even more important. Continuous scan uses an existing LANsurveyor map as the baseline for the network, and then looks for new nodes.LANsurveyor 8.5Neon Software Cost: $495 for basic software (20 clients - Neon Responder); $995 for Workgroup Edition (100 clients); $12,500 for Enterprise Edition (unlimited clients and Continuous Scan option). Continuous Scan add-on costs $295 for non-enterprise versions. Pros:Detailed map of all devices connected to a network.Cons:Some inventory information incorrect or ambiguous.Newly detected nodes show up in a threat list. Information for each newly detected node includes modified time, name, connection status, authentication (via\u00a0SNMP\u00a0community string or Neon responder), IP address, media access control address and hub\/switch name and port number. LANSurveyor assumes that any newly detected node that doesn't have the client software installed (or with an unknown SNMP community string) doesn't belong on the network. For legitimate new nodes, you can update the baseline map with the new information.If you use managed hubs or switches in your network, the software also can automatically disconnect unauthenticated nodes, denying access to the network. To enable this feature, you need the read\/write community string for the hubs\/switches you want to monitor.LANsurveyor is a great tool for documenting your network, regardless of the size. With the client software installed it also provides a few desktop management tools. While they don't match up with some of the bigger named products, the desktop management tools do let you accomplish some of the basic tasks. Throw in the continuous scan product, and you also get a first-line security-monitoring tool. Not a bad deal for the price.Ferrill is a freelance reviewer and writer in Lancaster, Calif. He can be reached at email@example.com.