You may be wondering what the heck a ping sweep tool is at this moment, so let us explain. It is a tool that quickly and easily gives you live data relating to your IP address allocations on the network. It will give you feedback about the computers that are currently connected and transferring data on the network. It helps you to weed out DHCP addresses that are still allocated, but have become inactive.
We have gone ahead and compiled a list of what we think are the best ping sweepers available right now, and we hope that we can show off the pros and cons of each one, allowing you to make the best choice based on our deep dive into this information. The candidates today are:
SolarWinds Ping Sweep with Engineer’s Toolset – This is a Ping sweep application that is designed for Windows Server. It is a valuable component of the SolarWinds Engineer’s Toolset.
Paessler PRTG – This is an application that sweeps for all active IPs on a set range. It is very useful for trying to find out more information about active IP addresses on the network.
SolarWinds IP Address Scanner – This is a component of the SolarWinds IP Address Manager Suite and is a very powerful tool.
ZenMap – ZenMap has been around for quite a while, and it runs on multiple operating systems such as Linux and Windows.
Fping – This is a command line tool for Linux that gives you great results without needing to write complicated scripts in the CLI.
Network Pinger – This is a great free tool that is simple yet powerful. If you need a simple IP sweeper then this app will get you over the finish line.
Hping – This is another free tool for pinging IPs on the network, with multiple Operating System compatibility.
Angry IP Scanner – This is another simple to use free tool for Windows, Mac and Linux. It gives you the option to specify IP ranges so that you can find the right addresses when you need them.
Advanced IP Scanner – This is one of the most popular free IP scanners, and its user base is pretty impressive. It offers a clean user interface that is simple and powerful.
NetScan Tools Basic Edition – If you don’t mind putting up with ads for a basic ping sweepr, then this is a viable option.
Pinkie – This is more of a network analysis application but it certainly offers ping sweep functionality
Mitec Network Scanner – This is part of a larger toolkit that provides users with many different tools, including a, you guessed it, ping sweeper.
Let us now find out more about each of these applications in detail and see some screenshots from each of them!
Here's the Best Ping Sweep Tools for 2020:
Below are some quick stats of some of these software tools and how where to download them to test them out!
1. SolarWinds Ping Sweep with Engineer’s Toolset
SolarWinds is well known as one of the best network software producers on the market. The Ping Sweep tool is just a single part of a network management suite of applications. This is the Engineer’s Toolset, and it has around 60 different tools for both keeping a close eye on networks and making sure that things run smoothly. Part of this collection of tools is the Ping Sweep utility.
Using this tool is very easy. All you must do is enter a range of an IP address and then scan. If you aren’t sure about where the IP Address that you are after resides, then you can specify quite a wide array of IP addresses to scan through. You can also feed the application a list of IP addresses from a text file.
Once you launch the application you will be greeted with a list of current IP addresses. You can then export all the results to files such as csv, txt and html. This means that you can also import the outputted files into spreadsheet programs such as Excel. If you compare your DHCP results to the sweep results you will be able to find the expired DHCP addresses on your network. This greatly assists with cleaning up the unused IP addresses on your network.
The results also house response times for each host, so you can gauge network performance based on the latency of each response. This means that you can identify issues on the network by finding out where each affected device is sitting on the network. Issues such as faulty or misconfigured network switches can be identified if you notice patterns. The output is especially useful because it contains host name and IP address data on the network.
You can access this great utility when you decide to download and trial the Engineer’s Toolset. Be sure to try it out for a free 14-day trial, which can be found right here.
A basic tool that gives you plenty of options to scan and analyze your network with. There are over 60 different tools that you will find useful for scanning, troubleshooting, configuring and monitoring network equipment with.
The product comes as part of a 14-day free trial that you can use as much as you want without any limits.
Download link here.
Contact SolarWinds for the latest pricing.
2. Paessler PRTG
Paessler PRTG fully functional network scanning and monitoring suite. PRTG is capable of monitoring a wide range of items including computers, servers, web servers, applications. If you have cloud services that also need monitoring, then you can also use the Paessler PRTG configuration tool to set up monitoring for these services.
Most of the network diagnostics revolve around the ping utility, as these ICMP requests are the foundation of most network utilities. Right after installing the application you will see that it begins scanning the network environment.
PRTG starts detecting and adding each device to your console, giving you a much-needed live view of the devices communicating on your network. Where PRTG is different from most of the applications in our list is that it can generate a network-map based on the IP ranges and latency of each host.
This is a very useful way of mapping previously undocumented segments of your network.
This scanning is all made possible thanks to a ping sweep.
Ping is a ubiquitous tool that is found in all systems that incorporate network functionality. This allows it to communicate across operating systems, vendors and manufacturers as it is a set standard.
Ping sweeping basically uses this technology and runs pings in a systematic and parallel way. Every response on the network generates an node on the monitoring console and will give you a target that you will be able to catalogue and label.
Ping sweep gets the ball rolling in the network discovery cycle. Once a ping response is received, the next step is for the SNMP routines to start probing compatible hardware and software for the appropriate tags. SNMP gleans a lot of specific information about each device, including serial numbers and manufacturer names. This cycle of detection runs constantly as long as the PRTG services are operating. This keeps all of the network information relating to your environment up to date.
PRTG is able to run as an on-site application on a physical or virtual machine, or online as a cloud service. Each computer or device that responds to a ping request is setup as a sensor in the application.
The free version of this software comes with 100 sensors. There are different pricing structures for each segment of sensors that you need. If you’d like to try it out for yourself then you can check out the download link here.
Find out more from here.
3. SolarWinds IP Address Scanner
Any IP Address Scanner worth its salt has Ping Sweeping capabilities, and this example is no different. Not only does it perform basic ping sweep functions, but also IP address management features too. This is especially useful if you have a large network where constantly running IP Sweeps from a single computer is not particularly effective.
This tool forms part of the IP Address Manager Suite. Much like PRTG, this tool uses a combination of ICMP and Ping to provide accurate and up to date information relating to your network and IP addresses. The scanning processes run in the background without any user intervention, which means it can run in perpetuity. Even better is that it updates you on the available IP addresses in your IP pool. It works with IPv4 and IPv6, so it is future proof.
There is a dashboard with up to date stats about all of the network acitivity within your environment that changes whenever there is additional activity. It communicates with your DHCP server and updates DNS records so that any dead or expired IP addresses are recycled and allocated when they are needed. This leads to better performance and helps to clean up the network in general.
This app is written in SolarWind’s Orion platform which unifies all of their products under a single umbrella. There is a free download link which you can follow here. It is active as a trial for 30 days, after which you have to purchase it.
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Most people have heard of Nmap, the multi-platform tool that runs on Linux, Windows and Mac OS. Zenmap is the extension of Nmap but with a graphical user interface that makes it easier to use for the average person. This makes it especially useful in environments where there is more than just one specific operating system as it can communicate across this barrier thanks to the ping sweep technology that is inherent in this style of application.
Zenmap uses TCP and ping together to allow for accurate mapping of your network. There is support for multiple profiles in Zenmap, so you can customize each of these views to suite the operation that you are carrying out. This means that the output of each scan will depend on the profile that you selected. The capabilities of this application allow you to pull both IP address and hostname information. When the scan is operating in TCP mode then you will be able to gather information about which ports are open on a target system. This is essential if you are trying to safeguard your network against unauthorized access.
You can decide on what kind of format you would like to look at in Zenmap, which means that technical users can dive in to the deep end of the data nd pull out all the details that are needed to make a case for a technical investigation.
Zenmap files can be stored and exported for further investigation and analysis. If this sounds like the right tool for you then check out this download link right here.
This application is free to use.
FPing is a non-graphical tool that runs in Linux directly from the command line. There is no graphical window so that means that you have to type everything manually. This is free to use and requires little bit of typing. You need to provide both the individual IP addresses that you wish to ping, as well as the ranges that you wish to sweep. The easiest way to do this is to store the IP addresses that you wish to query in a text file. This can then output this file into fping so that it can start querying all the IPs on the network. Because this is based on a Linux tool you can pretty much pipe and grep commands so that you can find information out about your current IP setup.
You can use switches with Fping so that you can either limit the range of IP addresses that you wish to, or change between IPv4 and IPv6 .The great thing about Fping is that it doesn’t limit itself to online IP addresses. Your queries will pull data back from multiple sources and shows you which IP addresses are offline or online. When issues are found, Fping ac communicate directly with the DNS records of your system. This way of doing things helps you to see issues with dead connections so that you can reclaim them back into the IP Pool.
FPing doesn’t run in the background, but instead relies on your cron task scheduler.
Network Pinger is another free tool, but this time one that runs on Microsoft Windows. All you need to do is input a range of IP addresses that you wish to ping and then wait for each response to come back.
There is a decent interface that shows the progress of each ping while giving its response for each target. Each response will give you an indication of the overall performance of the tests. The charts and graphics are a good way to visualize how many hosts are up or down, which is a lot more intuitive than trying to manually count from a list.
A feature that you don’t see too much of with the other products is the ability to ping single IP addresses. Interestingly there is also a tracert and switch port mapper that come with this application, making it very useful. Additionally, there is also an IP calculator if you are wanting to do any subnet calculations and planning then you can take a look at this too. There are also some useful troubleshooting tools available to assist with anyone wanting to fix issues on a production network.
Hping is exclusively a command line utility, which means there is no GUI. This is not a problem for most experienced network administrators, but some people might find the lack of selectable graphics options to be a disappointment. Having this tool available on a system without xserver or another graphical renderer is probably where most people will find the most usefulness from it. It is a multi-platform application that works on Windows, Linux, Unix and Mac OS.
Ping is just one part of many moving cogs in the ICMP stack. It functions within the Internet Layer around the TCP/IP protocol. What this means is that it lack sport visibility, which would allow for greater traffic analysis for target systems. Hping uses a series of serial ping requests to every IP address within a set of Ip addresses. If you are troubleshooting connectivity issues, then there is even a tracert implementation to test the path to your target device. You can identify where the issue is and take action from there, which is great.
As is the case with some command line style applications, you can send data output directly to other applications. For example, you can send data directly to grep and the query with a string of text to identify a name or target in the results.
Angry IP Scanner is one of the easiest IP Scanners that you are likely to come across. It features an easy to read and use interface. What makes this application so popular is not just the ease of use. It is easy to use and is also free. It runs on Windows, Linux and Mac OS. The results are very easy to interpret and can be sorted by various headers in the table of results.
This is a great tool for finding unexpected IP addresses on your network. Once you have decided on which range you wish to scan, simply hit the start button and then wait for the results to come in. The output from this scan can be outputted straight to popular file formats such as CSV, TXT, XML or even IP-Port.
The app itself uses the DNS resolution status from your system which lets you know if a computer is online or offline. When you come across hostnames that are missing then you need to start investigating. The great thing about this scanning tool is the fact that you can also see the MAC address of each device. This is especially useful because some environments let you lock down access according to that physical address.
This tool uses more than just simple ICMP technologies. It is able to display port and MAC address information as well, which is beneficial when you are trying to lock down the environment and close open ports that do not need to be open. Try it out for yourself and download it from here.
Advanced IP Scanner is available on Windows 10 and is free to use. It has very similar visual characteristics when comparing it to applications such as Angry IP Scanner, so it is easy to use. This is just like many of the other IP scanners on our list because all you need to do is enter the IP range that you wish to interrogate. If you feel like saving the scan data to your system, then you will find XML data generated for each scan. The results list also displays multiple other records to network shares that are accessible on every host that appears on the list. You can even see who the manufacturer is of each of the network cards.
If you are able to connect to the computer then you can browse the network shares and send other command to them as well. Additional exporting features will let you generate CSV files so that you can compare the data against your DNS records. Very useful features indeed.
The reason for this application’s success if the fact that it is easy to use, it looks good, and it is jam packed with features that make life that much easier for anyone trying to take control of their respective networks.
This application comes in two different flavors: the commercial version and the free version. The free version has the ping sweeper functionality enabled, although this version has ads. This is done so that the ad revenue supports the development of the free version. If this is not a deal breaker for you then this application is quite useful.
Ping scan requires that you enter is a range of IP addresses so that the scan can begin. Each of the hosts mentioned in your IP list will be contacted one by one, then the result will be returned back to the application. There is useful information in the results, such as latency and hostname information.
Much like all the other IP Sweep applications that we have looked at today there are a few standard features that we can expect from a decent example. You can save and store your results as a CSV file. If you analyze your data and notice that there are missing hostnames in your results then it could be pointing at a DNS issue. Be sure to check out your current address pools and make sure that expired hosts are actually offline. If not, then you could have a security breach.
This is a decent application, but it is important to note that the free version is lacking some features when compared to the full version. The application only runs on Windows 7,8 and 10.
Pinkie is much more than just a Ping Sweeping utility. It offers Ping, DNS, Traceroute, Port Scanning, Bulk DNS and TFTP functionality all rolled into a single, simple application.
This application operates in a slightly different way to the others that we have looked at so far. There is an option to search for offline hosts as well as online ones. That means that the scan can continue searching and returning results even if the records that it is detecting are offline.
Pinkie works very fast, making short work of the scanning tasks that you set before it. Again, each result contains latency information, hostname data and return trip speeds. All of this information gives you an idea of what is actually happening on your network. Overall, this is a very good tool that is fast to load and run and offers some additional features.
Mitec Network Scanner packs a lot of features under the hood. It gives you a ping sweeper that will identify the IPs that are active and inactive on the network. It offers port scanning, NetBIOS functionality, SNMP scanners, and much more.
Other features that are included in this application are: Active Directory, Network Neighborhood, Ping, IP Address, MAC Address, MAC Vendor, Device Name, Domain and Workgroup information, Logged in users, Operating System data, BIOS, Model and CPUs, System time and Uptime, device descriptions, type flags, TCP and UDP port scanning, and more..
You can export your ping sweep results for further analysis, and again, you can compare this information to your DHCP and DNS records to find any anomalies and strange behavior on your network regarding issued IP addresses and registrations.
We have dived into a lot of information in our product comparisons, so it seems fitting that we go into a little more detail about what each of the utilities and commands actually do in a little more detail.
PING is as part of the ICMP stack and is a connectivity function. It is present on most operating systems that incorporate TCP into their networking subsystems. Ping is therefore one of the very first commands that are used when connectivity troubleshooting starts. By using Ping you are able to establish whether or not the target device is online and responding.
Echo request. Echo response
Ping uses a special type of packet that has something called an echo request. Once the echo request has been received it sends and echo response to the sender computer. Ping operates off of an address. Without it, Ping cannot describe where the reply message needs to be sent. This address can be either an IP address or a hostname/computer name.
When you are troubleshooting network connectivity with Ping you are able to test things like DNS functionality. If a website is offline, you can try pinging its IP address instead. If you are able to get a response from the IP address, then you might have some kind of DNS error. This is because DNS takes hostname information and references requests back to IP addresses.
Many of the ping sweep features that we now rely on through GUI windows are repeatable on the command line, but in script form. This requires a fundamental understanding of how to write scripts and use functions and loops. GUIs are really easy to use, and they require no additional knowledge.
Ping is still an invaluable tool, even though it is very old.
Tracert is another tool that we use often to troubleshoot networks and test connectivity. Tracert uses UDP packets to test the connections and the intervals between hops. This is a different way of communicating than what Ping does, which uses ICMP.
TTL is the main measurement between hops, but it doesn’t have any measurements of time. Tracert shows you how many routers it passed through on its journey to the destination IP that you specified in the command. ICMP uses a similar messaging system to Traceroute when transmitting messages back to the operator. If a router drops a packet, then this is how it is communicated to you.
Tracert is also usable as a way to map a network with some scripting. Many, of the apps that we have looked at today will use both tracert and ping together. The functionality between these two tools can provide you with a detailed map of your environment regarding IT infrastructure and network devices.
Port mapping is done by leveraging the UDP and TCP protocols together. These report back on ports that are active and open. An open port that is unattended is a security risk and it needs to be closed off. Using a port mapper will alert you to these instances so that you can resolve it. Some systems block the ping request, and using a port mapper can tell you if the IP address is up and running even though the Ping command might have failed, indicating a downed host.
We have gone through a lot of data in this article. There is a lot to learn about troubleshooting networks and scanning for IP addresses. Each of the products that we have looked at will provide you with different levels of usefulness, so your favorite might be very specific to your environmental requirements. There are some people that need lots of different free tools, while others only want a ping sweeper.
We hope that this information has been useful!
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