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Network monitoring with a Web twist

Sep 17, 20032 mins
Data ManagementEnterprise ApplicationsNetwork Management Software

* Network Probe monitors network data exchanges

A lot of network management applications are being given Web support for the simple reasons that it extends their use and makes them more flexible. For example, I have just been testing the latest release of Network Probe from Object Planet (see links below), which I first wrote about a few months ago.

Network Probe is, as its name suggest, a tool for monitoring network data exchanges. The software, a Java applet, can monitor conversations (exchanges between two processes over the local network segment), use of protocols, data volumes and many other aspects of network traffic all in real time. This latest version, 0.5 adds graphing of network statistics as well as performance and memory usage improvements.

Another network monitoring tool with Web support that is worth checking out is Paessler Router Traffic Grapher (PRTG) from Paessler.

PRTG watches SNMP-enabled network devices and reports on the amount of data flowing through routers, CPU utilization or disk space usage. You can also create custom SNMP monitored objects.

PRTG works with routers and firewall such as the Cisco PIX 505, Cisco 7xxx Series, Lightning Multicom Speedsurf, LANCOM Office Connect as well as other devices like Windows 2000 servers and workstations, network printers or switches.

Unlike Network Probe, which contains a Web server, PRTG simply writes its results to HTML files. If these are located under a Web server root then they can be delivered to any browser.

The output files include graphs of activity and the ability to download the raw data in Comma Separated Variable (CSV) format. The graphs include bandwidth over the last 24 hours (K-bit/sec), transferred data volume for the last 14 days, and transferred data volume for last the last 12 months.

It was PRTG that showed me just what a phenomenal bandwidth hog accessing a Hotmail account via Microsoft’s WBEM really is.

PRTG is free for personal and commercial use but limited to one device at a time. If you want to monitor more devices and ports or if you want to run PRTG all the time as a service you must purchase the Pro Edition for $29.95.


Mark Gibbs is an author, journalist, and man of mystery. His writing for Network World is widely considered to be vastly underpaid. For more than 30 years, Gibbs has consulted, lectured, and authored numerous articles and books about networking, information technology, and the social and political issues surrounding them. His complete bio can be found at

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