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Affordable IT: Network Monitoring Systems

We tested nine SNMP monitors that cost less than a grand. Our top pick lit up our world with its Layer 2 mapping and advanced toolset.

C o n t e n t s
Introduction
Neon Software LANsurveyor
SolarWinds.Net SolarWinds Engineer's Edition
ipMonitor / AdRem Software NetCrunch 3
Quest Software Big Brother / Neon Software CyberGauge 6.0
Ipswitch WhatsUp Small Business 2004
Breakout Technologies MonitorIT 6.0
Nessoft LLC MultiPing 1.0 and PingPlotter 2.5
Report Card

When we decided to review network-monitoring applications for our first regular Affordable IT feature, we were nervous. These network-management bad boys can be expensive, and we weren't at all sure whether the products that met our $1,000 price cap would be worthy. We dared to dream but kept our hopes in check, so we wouldn't be crushed if we found limited availability and products that offer response monitoring for just a few devices.

Silly us. We were blown away by the quantity and quality of the responses. We expected these tools to perform simple monitoring using ping and traceroute, and we got that for less than $100. We also found advanced features for less than $500.

We began with 10 entries: AdRem Software's NetCruch 3, Breakout Technologies' MonitorIT 6.0, Castle Rock Computing's SNMPc, ipMonitor Corp.'s eponymous product, Ipswitch's WhatsUp Small Business 2004, Neon Software's CyberGauge 6.0 and LANsurveyor 8.5, Nessoft's MultiPing 1.0 and PingPlotter 2.5 bundle, Quest Software's Big Brother and SolarWinds.Net's Engineer's Edition Toolset 7. But at the last minute, Castle Rock had to withdraw SNMPc when it raised the product's price to just above our $1,000 cap.

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