Introduction

Network scanning tools have come to occupy a crucial place today in the realm of network safety. As network administrators, you cannot afford to have gaps and vulnerabilities in your network – it is a big business mistake that is going to have costly and serious consequences. This is where network scanning comes into play.

  1. What Is Network Scanning?
  2. Top 20 Network Scanning Tools

1. What Is Network Scanning?

Network scanning helps in assessing the complete IT infrastructure of an organization to identify existing loopholes and susceptibilities. Thorough scanning of the network helps quantify the risks and plan out the remediation process to address the issue. 

In other words, network scanning is important for the health of the network. It covers all devices, connecting points, filtering systems, active hosts, OS systems, and traffic. It also includes Port scanning, sensing TCP sequence numbers on active hosts, and discover UDP and TCP services on networks. It is always advisable to use advanced and intelligent network scanning tools for optimized results.

2. Top 20 Network Scanning Tools

1. SolarWinds Network Performance Monitor

Considered to be one of the top 10 network scanning tools, SolarWinds comes with the Sonar Wizard to automatically scan the network. 

  • To optimize discovery, IP addresses and IP ranges are fed in. 
  • Newer devices added to Network Topology Map using the smart and topology-aware real-time alert system. 
  • Hop-by-hop analysis for cloud-based systems and in-situ devices. 
  • Email and SMS alerts on the dashboard for changes detected. 
  • Works with OS Windows Server 2016 or later. 
  • Cost – $2,995 or £2,414 – there is free trial period for 30-days.

2. Advanced IP Scanner

One of the top IP Scanner tools, the Advanced IP Scanner is free, open-source, and compatible with Windows 10, being used by about 50 million users.

  • Scans the Local Area Network and lists out all the devices on the network, including wireless devices.
  • Access shared folders and remotely controls computers, even switching off the computers.
  • Easy to use, there is a portable version too of free network scanning tools for Windows.

3. Acunetix 

Acunetix is one of the most powerful networks scanning tools- it can scan and detect almost 50,000 weak spots in a network.

  • Misconfigurations like weak SNMP community strings for weak TLS/SSL ciphers and open ports.
  • Centralized easy-to-use navigational dashboard for viewing results. 
  • The dashboard can be used for report generation.
  • Can work with Acunetix online for a security audit of the network perimeter.
  • Cost – $4,495 (£3,624) for 1to 5 sites

4. Paessler PRTG Network Monitor

This is one of the topmost network scanning tools free.

  • Customized dashboard option
  • Latest sensor technology for scanning and monitoring.
  • SNMP, Server and LAN Monitoring, and other features.
  • Alerts and push notifications.
  • The freeware version comes with 100 sensors. 
  • A paid version with 500 sensors- works as one of the network scanner tools for windows 10.

5. OpenVAS 

OpenVAS is one of the network scanning tools in Kali Linux that is programmed to detect over 50,000 known network vulnerabilities.

  • Open-source and free vulnerability scanning tool.
  • Has a web interface.
  • Task Wizard and Advanced Task Wizard for guidance during scanning.
  • Possible to schedule scans for the future.

6. Intruder

This is a cloud-based scanning tool that automatically searches, scans, and generates an automated exposure analysis report.

  • Integrated with Jira and Slack for automated updates.
  • API interface making it easy to integrate with the network.
  • Automated penetration testing. 
  • Priced at $105 (£84.66) per month. A free trial for a month option exists.

7. Wireshark 

Known as a multi-platform network protocol analyzer, Wireshark is one of the open-source network scanning tools.

  • Detects vulnerabilities in the live network.
  • It makes it feasible to view traffic.
  • Works on Linux, Windows, and OSX.
  • Cases of Remote Security Exploitation have been reported with the tool.

8. Skyboxsecurity 

Works in a multi-cloud environment, it can support larger and hybrid networks effectively. 

  • Network topology is used.
  • Detects issues of network outages 
  • Continuous compliance of configurations and security zones.
  • Critical risk analysis through the network.

9. Thousandeyes

It has the potential to detect issues and causes at any point. 

  • This is a powerful tool IP scanner that can check multiple apps, infrastructure, and services points.
  • Maps internet performance.
  • Real-time data of performance and issues.
  • Interactive data sets can be shared with service providers.

10. Spiceworks IP Scanner

This is the best IP Scanner in the cloud. 

  • Automatic scanning by IP range and adding devices.
  • Detects open ports.
  • Detects devices with outdated OS.
  • Productive network scan tool MAC and Windows.

11. Angry IP Scanner

This is a recommended best IP Scanner tool that is open-source and works well in scanning local networks and the internet.

  • Easy-to-install and easy-to-use
  • Table format scan results.
  • Plug-ins are available with the basic tool.
  • The free network scanning tool works well with Linux, MAC, and Windows.

12. GFI LANGuard

From the top 20 network scanning tools list, we advise this tool for scanning large and small networks. 

  • Capable of interpreting information from 60,000 devices.
  • Works on Windows, Mac, and Linux.
  • Centralized web console, patch management, and networking auditing.
  • Free trial for 30-days 

13. Nagios 

To protect your critical applications and systems, this is one of the best network scanning tools.

  • Alerts, event handling, and reports.
  • A basic web UI.
  • Plug-ins are available.

14. Capsa Free

Use the network scanning tools windows to keep a close vigil on your network and traffic.

  • Helps analyze packets
  • Troubleshoot issues
  • Supports 300 network protocols
  • Auto-save, email monitoring

15. Open NMS

This is an open-source tool applicable to the enterprise-grade network.

  • Automatic discovery
  • Notifications 
  • Service assurance
  • Performance monitoring and measurement
  • Client app for on-the-go access.

16. Retina

This is a tool that works as a network scanning tool for Windows and is free.

  • Scans for vulnerabilities 
  • Security patches, free up to 256 IPS
  • Risk-assessment 
  • Credential-based scanning.

17. Snort

Credible IP scanner tool windows, it is open-source and free.

  • Intrusion detection and prevention.
  • Use IP addresses for assessing network traffic.
  • Detects port scan and worm using protocol analysis 

18. NetworkMiner

Another free tool, it is classified as a Network Forensic Analysis Tool.

  • Helps administrators in reconstructing events.
  • Uses a PCAP File to do so.
  • Keyword-based.
  • Can divulge hostname OS and open ports.

19. Splunk

Collects and analyzes data from varied sources on the network. 

  • Easy to set alerts
  • Centralized dashboard
  • Free
  • Install Apps feature
  • A free trial period of 60-days

20. Icinga 2

Linux-based network scanning tool, open-source, and free to use.

  • Auto-check of network resources
  • Instant notifications
  • Offers business intelligence data 
  • The credential-based configuration is possible.

Conclusion

These network scanning tools automatically scan the network devices. This fast, quick, and auto checking of network resources make it possible to map network topology. It provides the performance metrics, availability, and fault for the network devices. This information is displayed on a customizable dashboard. These tools help quickly identify any loopholes in the network, thus stepping up the security system against unprecedented threats. Quick identification leads to quick measures keeping the system and devices protected against any such attacks. It is for this reason network scanning tools are used.  

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