by November 5, 2002 0 comments

Ethereal Network Analyzer
This is a network protocol analyzer for both Unix and Windows platforms. And best of all, it is free. The software can capture data from a live network or from a file and help you analyze it. This can help you determine data types that may be clogging the network.

Megaping is a all in one tool kit for system administrators

If you have used a network analyzer, you would find the interface self-explanatory. Once you hit Ctrl+K to start capture, you can define the capture mode, the network interface to capture from and the settings for displaying packets and filtering them. While the capture is in progress, a separate progress window summarizes the constituent packets in terms of a percentage of total traffic on the network. This is helpful for a quick assessment of the type of packets that take up the maximum chunk of your bandwidth. Once the capture is complete, the software summarizes the packets and displays them. You can click on the aspects of an individual packet to delve into its composition further. 

An interesting feature in Ethereal is its ability to follow a TCP stream. This is helpful in reconstructing the complete TCP conversation between machines (a client and a Web server, for instance). 

Ethereal ver.0.9.7 needs WinPcap 2.3 packet capture driver (also on the CD). This is needed to capture live traffic from network interfaces. 

This is an all in one toolkit for system administrators. It combines all utilities commonly used for network monitoring. The package includes a host of scanners, monitors, system information tools and network utilities. 

MultiRouter Traffic Grapher
Have an Internet link and are never sure of what bandwidth is being used? Well, one very simple solution is MRTG (Multi Router Traffic Grapher). As its name suggests, MRTG examines raw Ethernet data from a router and draws up graphs that show you exactly what’s happening. 
Based on Perl and C, MRTG very efficiently reads the traffic from a router, logs it and generates graphs giving you a visual snapshot of the kind of traffic you are experiencing. It relies on SNMP (Simple Network Management Protocol) to capture Ethernet data, but using scripts, you can make it graph just about anything. If you check the MRTG website (, you’ll see that anything from the weather to wave movement to CPU load are monitored with MRTG.
A good thing about MRTG is that it is available for both Unix and Win NT. It comes with a configuration tool, which makes it quite simple to install, and once up and running the graphs are displayed on a Web page. You can also customize the Web page to your needs. For a single interface it can make four detailed graphs for daily, weekly, monthly and yearly view. The data is managed in a very clever way so that it does not constantly grow and become unmanageable but is purged regularly and keeps quite trim.
Kishore Bhargava

MegaPing has a powerful Port scanner (for TCP and UDP ports), NETBIOS, IP and Share scanners. The port scanner also elicits the probable hostile use of open ports on a host. Another useful utility is an advanced system process viewer and network resources viewer. All network utilities (DNS list host, DNS lookup, ping, traceroute, Whois and Finger) are available at your fingertips. 

The user interface is Explorer like and therefore very easy to use. The software is multi-threaded and hence speedy. All results can be saved as text files or pasted onto the clipboard. Some tools also allow logs and error information to be saved to HTTP log files and even send them over e-mail. It also offers real-time network connection statistics and network devices/files’ information.

The software is available as a 30-day free trial version.

CyberPatrol Web Filter
This is a content-filtering application that restricts access to unwanted websites, like those with violence, gambling and sexually explicit material. 

Indirectly, this software can free up your bandwidth, which is otherwise taken up by un-productive content from the Internet. The software can easily analyze and tell you who’s accessing which website, and create reports of online activity for individual employees. 

The application installs an engine on your gateway/proxy server machine on the network. This engine connects to the CyberPatrol website to download updated filters and install them. The developers back at the company who regularly surf the Net to locate such sites generate these filters. Users can also forward URLs to the company’s scanners for review and inclusion in the filters.

In addition, CyberPatrol also allows you to restrict Internet access as per schedules during a day and even limit the total time spent on the Internet. It also features logging and reporting to track the usage patterns and Internet usage times. It is available as a single-user license for home usage and multi-user license version for corporate use. You can also download a 14-day free trial from the website. 

Ashish Sharma

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