Networking is complicated.

This is not about your computer connected to the printer or a few devices connected to your organizational network.

It’s much deeper and bigger.

Although mapping is easier for a network involving a few devices, it’s difficult for an organization with thousands of devices in its network.

It becomes tougher for the IT team to discover every device in the network and monitor it. The process may take significant time, effort, and resources.

Therefore, automatic network discovery tools are a solution to detect all the devices in your network.

With this modern solution, you never lose any path you have created for your growing business network. It will also eliminate manual mapping of all the devices or maintaining data in a spreadsheet

And if all the devices are mapped perfectly and maintained, you will know what’s connected in your network, monitor everything, and secure the network. 

Let’s understand this more and find the best automatic network discovery tools in the market.

What is Network Discovery?

Network discovery is a solution or process that helps you discover devices and systems connected to a given network. It is the initial step a network administrator will take when they need to map and simultaneously monitor their network infrastructure. 

Similarly, using network discovery tools, you not only can discover devices connected to your network but also map the combinations of cloud servers, wireless networks, wired networks, and virtual servers. 

You can also refer to network discovery as topology discovery. 

The first objective for network discovery is to find all the IP addresses on your network, including abandoned, reserved, static, and dynamic IP addresses. The importance of mapping is twofold:

  • It ensures every IP address is valid and is not being used by a rogue or malicious device.
  • It ensures the network is set up effectively without leaving any of the abandoned subnets or IP addresses to be used for another purpose. 

If a device has some open ports not necessarily used by any device, this could trigger a security vulnerability. To this, network discovery is useful to determine which ports are open and which ports are in use on each device. This way, you can map those open ports and keep them close to prevent intruders’ access and minimize security risks. 

How does Network Discovery work?

It is possible to map all the devices manually, but it will take a lot of time and can be risky due to the possibility of mistakes. So, if you want to map every device in the network quickly, it is preferable to use automatic network discovery tools.

The discovery tools scan your whole network address space using network protocols, including SNMP. Once a new device is discovered in the network, the tools automatically update your IT inventory in seconds. 

With advanced network discovery software, you will find a visual representation of the network devices connected to your network. These scanners also let you generate custom views and maps of the network devices, keeping you up-to-date with detailed and accurate information.

Why is Network Discovery Essential?

With the growing business, the network will also grow. Thus, your network will add various network devices constantly, such as servers, switches, laptops, printers, routers, and more, to the IT environment.

Managing such a vast network is difficult for network admins while mapping all the devices in your network. To reduce such complexities and security risks, network discovery tools are useful.

Let’s understand its benefits.

Updated Data

Whenever there is a small change to a network system, like adding or removing a new interface, it must be reflected in your dashboard to help you be updated.

Network discovery tools work with network monitoring solutions by discovering every device in your network and updating each data in the network monitoring solution. 

Time Saver

Network scales faster, especially if you are a growing business. Hence, if you manually start tracking every device in your vast network, you may lose significant time that you could have invested in innovation. In addition, it could lead to human mistakes, which can transform into a security risk.

But by using network discovery tools, you can automate the whole process of mapping and monitoring every single device to save time and labor. 

Continuous Monitoring and Maintenance

A minor issue in the network can cause a big problem that can lead a business to lose millions of dollars. A network discovery tool can help network admins continuously discover and monitor network devices to prevent the issues from the start. These tools can prevent security breaches by ensuring no single network port is open to exploitation.  

Let’s now look at the best network discovery tools to simplify the process of detecting all the tools in your network.

Paessler PRTG

Discover network devices automatically with Paessler PRTG Network Monitor that can monitor all the devices regularly and detect newly added devices to the network. You will get a customizable alarm system included in its plans. 

The PRTG auto-discovery feature allows you to find all the devices automatically within the IP range so that you can integrate them with the monitoring. New devices will be detected and set up automatically when opening for the first time. 

Paessler PRTG allows you to set your own timetable, which means you can run the discovery daily, weekly, or monthly. You will receive an email and ticket after discovering a new network device. This helps you keep an eye on what is going on in your network. 

Don’t worry about your devices that are turned off; with the PRTG discovery feature, you can regularly monitor your network 24 hours a day and 365 days a year. You will also get notified quickly, even for the slightest problem with the alert feature, to avoid severe malfunctions of the network devices.

Furthermore, PRTG can discover cross-locational network devices spread across various locations. Get an easy-to-understand and simple dashboard in your system or a dashboard application to track and know your device and network status.

Try PRTG for 30-days and see whether it meets your needs. 

SolarWinds

SolarWinds Network Performance Monitor is a multi-vendor network monitoring solution that expands and scales with the needs of the network. It monitors network availability, critical path visualization of the connected devices, intelligent mapping, performance analysis, and advanced alerting. 

Get network management with its Hybrid Cloud Observability to ensure service levels, realize the time, accelerate issue resolution, reduce risk and fatigue, and gain agility with productivity. 

SolarWinds Network Monitoring software offers full visibility into the performance and health of your Cisco ASA environment so that you can view the status of your VPN tunnels and ensure connectivity between sites. You will get everything in a single window, from network discovery to network monitoring, so that your IT team will work freely and focus on the rest.

Get the email link now for a free trial. SolarWinds will be fully functional for 30-days so that you can understand how it works. If satisfied, get a quote according to your requirement. 

ManageEngine

Get advanced network discovery capabilities with ManageEngine OpManager’s network discovery tool. It automates the discovery of all the network devices and creates and maintains a complete inventory by continuous updating and scanning. 

OpManager continuously updates end-to-end device details to maintain the detailed inventory. It automates IT inventory maintenance, availability monitoring, network resource mapping, and more. This way, your IT team is relieved from redundant monitoring tasks. 

OpManager comes with power-packed features that aim to make your network discovery process less time-consuming, simple, and effective. The network discovery profiles help simplify the network discovery process. Additionally, you can avoid repetitive tasks using Discovery Schedules.

Gain robust insights with discovery reports and WOW your discovery with pre-configured templates. You can also use Discovery Rule Engine to automate discovery and monitoring processes. OpManager is available for both Windows and Linux operating systems.  

Schedule a personalized and free demo with OpManager’s experts and explore what it can do for you. You can also try this all-in-one monitoring solution for 30 days.

Nagios

Nagios has developed various tools for your organization so that you can discover the devices in your network and monitor each of them to know their status. It helps make your work and life easier with tools, including Nagios XI, Nagios Core, Nagios Network Analyzer, and Nagios Fusion.

You will get every functionality you need to automate your workflow and start monitoring your devices in your network. It also helps deliver accurate status results in visual presentations, reports, and graphs.

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Furthermore, you will find multiple addons and monitoring tools, along with the benefits of:

  • Enhanced auto-discovery feature with Nagios XI
  • Determining unresponsive machines and notifying staff immediately
  • Comprehensive reports
  • Improved services, application, and server availability
  • Faster detection of protocol failures and network outages 

Nagios provides comprehensive IT monitoring, visibility, performance, proactive planning, customizability, ease of use, multi-tenant capabilities, and extendable architecture. In addition, it offers an updated interface, a powerful engine, advanced graphs, configuration wizards, and more. 

WhatsUp Gold

WhatsUp Gold’s network monitoring tool helps layer 2/3 discovery, mapping, IT asset monitoring, and inventory. Whether it is the devices, wireless, virtual infrastructures, Windows, deployed software, or servers, you can discover everything connected to your network. 

This tool features robust layer 2/3 discovery that you can initiate from the SNMP smart scan or IP range scan of a core router’s Bridge Table. It generates a complete map of the network, from top to bottom, to detect all the devices that are in your network. It helps you focus on running them smoothly with security and high performance. 

You can visualize and map your network dependencies and topology and track and document all the IT assets with improved inventory discovery. Also, find and troubleshoot connectivity issues with IP/MAC finder tools and Layer 2 trace. WhatsUp Gold has innovative discovery technologies, such as ARP, SSH, IP Addressing, LLDP, ICMP, virtual infrastructure management, and SNMP. 

Furthermore, WhatsUp Gold uses modern technologies to discover the connected devices in your network and create an accurate picture of those devices and port-to-port connectivity. It generates layer 2 and 3 network maps that provides complete visibility of logical, virtual, and physical connectivity, including VLAN and IP-specific information. 

View your network as you want with easily customizable and manipulative maps. After the completion of the discovery process, it automatically assigns network device roles telling information to collect and steps to take. WhatsUp Gold also lets you maintain the network inventory and manage network assets. 

Complete the form and get the download link in your email to start your free trial.

Cacti

Experience the extensible and robust operational fault management framework and monitoring solution – Cacti. It is a network graphing tool designed to extract the power of RRDTools’ graphing functionality and data storage. 

Cacti include a fault-tolerant and fully distributed data collection framework with an advanced template based on automation features for graphs, trees, and devices. It also offers multiple data acquisition solutions that can extend through plugins.

Role-based group, domain, and user management features give you multiple languages and theming engine support out of the box. Cacti’s features provide you with the right interface for LAN-sized installations in complex networks that consist of thousands of devices. 

Using Cacti in your system requires PHP, net-SNMP, RRDTool, MySQL, and a web server that supports PHP, including IIS or Apache. Cacti supports both Windows and Linux/Unix operating systems. Download your requirement now and start discovering devices in your complex network. 

Open-AudIT

Open-AudIT is an open-source network discovery tool that gives you detailed information about everything related to your network devices, starting from their configuration to the status reports. It is one of the most popular network audit and discovery programs to help you discover all your devices.

This powerful application provides all the information about your network in a short time. It tells you what is going on on your network, when it will change, and how you can configure your devices in the network. While many solutions may fail to give accurate information on the assets, Open-AudIT offers accurate location data in seconds. 

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Allow Open-AudIT to smartly scan all the networks in your organization and store the devices’ configurations that are discovered. Additionally, you will get immediate access to the software licensing, non-authorized devices, hardware warranty status reports, capacity utilization, and configuration changes. 

Book a demo now and clear everything in your mind. In addition, get access to GitHub to integrate the solution into your organization. You can also download the program easily.

Conclusion

Managing a network can be complex. Therefore, connect with the best automatic network discovery tool to detect all the devices in your network, monitor them, and stay secure.

Since many such tools are available in the market, finding the best software for your needs can be slightly tricky.

So, while choosing a network discovery tool for your organization, ensure it offers a unified space for everything to view all the details, reports, alerts, and other useful features. Also, maximum tools offer free trials that you can use to understand how they can help you and choose the best one.