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1Best Free Remote Networking Monitoring Tools

SpiceworksDesigned for network administrators working for small- and medium-sized businesses (SMBs), Spiceworks (www.spiceworks.com) is an adware-based business model, which has kept it available as a free tool since its October 2006 release. The tool is updated regularly, with the most recent 4.7 version release hitting the virtual streets on April 29, 2010.

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ntopDistributed for free under the GNU General Public License v3 (GPLv3), ntop (www.ntop.org) is available for both Windows 32-bit and Unix platforms. As a network traffic probe, ntop provides network administrators with information related to network usage in a similar way that the top Unix command provides information on system processes. The software tool comes equipped with a web interface and is fully user configurable.

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Multi Router Traffic GrapherAlso distributed under the GPLv3 license is Multi Router Traffic Grapher (MRTG). Its sole purpose is to monitor traffic between SNMP devices and “draw pretty pictures showing how much traffic has passed through each interface.” MRTG was designed to work on Unix, Linux, Windows and NetWare systems.

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Solarwinds Real-Time NetFlow AnalyzerSolarwinds Real-Time NetFlow Analyzer provides network administrators with data on what traffic is running over the network and what is causing bandwidth spikes. The tool captures and analyzes NetFlow data in real time so administrators quickly know what types of traffic are on the network and where it’s coming from and going to. Historical traffic data can also be examined based on application, conversation, domain, endpoint and protocol.

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ZabbixOriginally released in 2001, Zabbix (www.zabbix.com) is distributed through the GPLv2 license. The software is packed with a variety of features, including distributed and real-time monitoring, auto discovery, aggregate monitoring, agentless monitoring and the ability to scale up to 100,000 devices and servers. Zabbix began life as an internal banking project before taking on a life of its own on the Internet. The current 1.8 version promises advanced monitoring, alerting and visualization features in a free download.