Everyone that works in IT has their own personal preferences when it comes to using network troubleshooting tools, but there are some fundamental ones that should be in everybody’s toolbox.
You might have a third-party application that will do similar things to the applications in our list, and that’s fine.
Here's our list of the top 11 network troubleshooting tools:
- OpUtils by ManageEngine (FREE TRIAL) A collection of network address management tools that cover IP addresses, MAC addresses, and port numbers. Installs on Windows Server and Linux.
- Datadog Network Performance Monitor (FREE TRIAL) A cloud-based network monitoring service that identifies traffic flows by application, source, and destination to enable bandwidth utilization management.
- Ping A free command-line tool that tests the roundtrip time to a given node and also indicates jitter and lost packets.
- ManageEngine OpManager (FREE TRIAL) A network and server monitoring package that includes traffic troubleshooting and device testing functions. Available for Windows Server and Linux.
- Tracert/traceroute A report on the number of nodes that need to be passed through on a path to a given destination that also indicates the time each hop takes.
- Ipconfig/ifconfig A free command-line utility that details the addresses and statuses of each network adapter on a device.
- Nslookup A free command-line utility that reports on DNS entries.
- Netstat A free command-line utility that lists all of the active connections on the current device.
- SolarPuTTY (FREE TOOL) A free remote terminal service that allows the user to connect to devices running Windows, Linux, macOS, and Linux. Runs on Windows.
- Subnet and IP Calculator A free utility that assists in the planning of IP address allocations. Runs on Windows.
- Speedtest.net A free online service that reports on the speed of a connection to one of a list of test servers around the globe.
There is nothing wrong with having your own personal preference for applications.
Our hope is that you will see something on our list of handy utilities and then try it for yourself, giving you a new application to try out for yourself.
Note: These Tools listed below are used for basic troubleshooting tasks – There are more advanced tools that can help with troubleshooting more complex issues including Packet Sniffers, Advanced Traceroute Alternatives, Response Time Analyzers, and IPAM software.
Here's the Best Free Network Troubleshooting Tools and Software of 2021:
Below you'll find a list of commonly used Network Troubleshooting Tools that will help you diagnose a multitude of issues within your networks. Issues ranging from IP Connectivity issues, Bandwidth and Network
OpUtilis provides a comprehensive set of networking tools which includes Ping, Trace Route, System Details Update, DNS Resolver, and MIB Browser.
Being an advanced and reliable replacement for native commands which works with syntax and are of limited capacity, OpUtils' network tools sport a code-free intuitive UI that can scan and troubleshoot your network within seconds.
Supporting IPv4 and IPv6 addressing, various network protocols and standards, OpUtils' network tool set can be your one stop fix for any network related issues.
Available for both Windows and Linux users, it seamlessly integrates within your existing network infrastructure allowing you to track, log, and resolve your network issues efficiently.
You can troubleshoot all your network issues right from a single console, with the network tools loaded in the free edition of OpUtils. Download the free edition below!
OpUtils' standard and enterprise editions offers you full-fledged IP address monitoring and switch port mapping along with 30+ networking tools.
Download a 30-day free trial now!
Datadog Network Performance Monitor is a traffic analyzer that gives live reports on network activity and also supports the analysis of historical traffic data. This is a cloud-based service, so all of the processing capacity needed to run the software is provided by Datadog in with the price of the system. The system requires an agent program to be installed on the monitored network.
In network monitoring conventions, the title “Network Performance Monitor” is usually assigned to a service that polls network devices for status reports. Datadog is a little different because that function is fulfilled by the Datadog Network Device Monitor. The Network Performance Monitor focuses on network traffic. However, the two Datadog network monitoring services complement each other. It is possible to use the Network Performance Monitor as a standalone tool or in conjunction with the Network Device Monitor.
The Network Performance Monitor explores the supervised network and discovers all connected devices, creating a network inventory and a network topology map. This service is continuous, so it spots any changes made to the network. The network topology map can be used as a menu that gives access to detailed metrics on traffic at that node. Screens of statistics also show overall traffic data that can be drilled through to get link-by-link information.
Datadog Network Performance Monitor, like all Datadog utilities, is available for a 14-day free trial.
Ping is arguably one of the most well known and most used commands that system admins a have at their disposal.
It is a connectivity application that lets computer operators test if they have a network connection to a remote system, and whether or not it is responding.
It uses ICMP packets to communicate and receives the same packets back in response.
It is this response that alerts the user to whether or not the remote system is responding.
This is a very handy troubleshooting tool because you can ping any device that uses an IP address or host-name.
The utility comes with almost all operating systems and can be used to ping any other device that uses TCP/IP.
ManageEngine OpManager is a network and server monitoring package that includes live monitoring and troubleshooting utilities.
The network monitoring service of OpManager starts by sweeping the network and registering all connected devices. This creates a network inventory, which gives you a menu of devices to look through when identifying the root cause of problems.
The OpManager dashboard has a higher level of troubleshooting support in its network topology maps. These are generated on demand from the network inventory. The OpManager system regularly updates the inventory and so the network topology map always shows the current state of the networ4k.
The OpManager system polls device agents following the Simple Network Management Protocol (SNMP). This system allows device agents to send an urgent override message if it detects problems on the monitored device. This message becomes an alert in the OpManager dashboard so you can instantly see which device is causing problems on the network.
OpManager is a software package that can be installed on Windows Server and Linux. ManageEngine offers the monitoring system on a 30-day free trial.
Tracert is a utility that is similar toping but shows much more detailed information about the route that your data takes on its journey to the target that you are testing.
The internet was designed with redundancy in mind, which means that TCP/IP packets will take the shortest route possible.
If you have network problems like failed connections or high latency, then tracert will give you detailed information about each router that it passes through on its way.
This will let you know which locations are making your connection fail or perform poorly, so you can identify where the issue is.
This is an excellent tool for finding points of failure on our network as well, especially if your traffic has to pass through more than one router on its journey to the destination IP address or website.
If you use a Windows computer, then you can use ipconfig as a way to look at your network adapter’s current configuration.
You can use ipconfig /all to show you all of the details of your current IP address setup or you can just run ipconfig and you will receive a simpler output of your local settings.
If you are using a Linux or Unix Operating system then you can use ifconfig instead, although it has different parameters to achieve the same goal.
This is a quick alternative to digging around in your operating system’s GUI settings to find your network configuration, and can make the process of checking your IP address a much more simple task by simply typing this command.
Above is the result from typing ipconfig at the command prompt in Windows 10.
If you want to find out about DNS issues on the network, then nslookup will help you to find out what is going on further down the line on your network.
DNS takes an IP address and resolves it against a website name, making it easy for people to navigate the internet as they do not need to remember any IP addresses.
If the system stops working then when you enter website into your internet browser then it will not resolve to the IP address and you will not connect to the website.
Nslookup is the tool that will help you to check if this relationship is currently working properly and is a good way to diagnose any issues.
If you can’t resolve the address, then you are probably looking at an nslookup issue.
You can also query a DNS server to check if you have any connection specific issues with your computer, making this an especially useful tool.
Netstat helps you to figure out the current state of your network connection. More importantly, it also tells you what is happening with the current state of connections that have been made with the computer.
It shows all of the currently active ports that are listening to your session, which can alert you to any suspicious activities.
It will also show you how the different services interact with the open ports on the system, so if you have a program or application that is not working properly then you can take a look and find out exactly what is causing the issue.
It also has TCP/IP capabilities and allows you to log onto Linux and Unix devices too, making this a must have tool for anyone that needs to connect to various devices at different times throughout the course of their working day.
It is like a multi tool that allows you to perform multiple functions at any time when you really need to connect to a device that you otherwise could not.
It is an excellent replacement for hyper terminal which is no longer included in Windows operating systems.
SolarPuTTY has added benefits that the Original Putty doesn't have, including multi-session tabbed windows, Saving sessions, RDP and other protocol support and much more!
Download it 100% FREE below!
10. Subnet and IP Calculator
Most information technology and networking professionals only ever use subnet calculations for exams and larger Sub-networking projects.
If you are a planner for a network rollout then you might need to use such a program quite often, and to do this you could rely on your own mathematical skills, sure.
However it is much more simple to use a program that works all of these things out for you instead.
The most popular apps that do this for you are:
If you want to download this Free app then you can find the link to the download page of each of these below.
How fast is your internet? If you are not sure then you probably want to work that out to ensure that however much you are paying for your connection that you are getting your money’s worth. Websites such as speedtest.net.
These are applications that establish a connection and then measure how long a file takes to download and upload.
It also measures the network latency of the connection, which shows how long it takes for the connection to be established between your computer and the speedtest application on the website that you are connecting to.
There are standalone applications that offer similar functionality but speetest.net is the easiest way to give your internet connection a proper test.
Speedtest.net also shows you what your external IP address is, which is handy if you need to remotely connect to your computer from another location and you need to find out what your current IP address is externally
Two bonus command-line tools
Pathping/mtr is a combination of ping and tracert, making it much easier for network professionals to run simultaneous tests to that they can establish the condition of a connection.
This can really help save time if you need to perform simultaneous operations from the command line.
Pathping also has additional functions that you wont find with standard versions of ping so this is definitely an application that will save you time if you are running it from the command line.
Route is used as an effective and simple tool that provides the current state of networking routing for your connection and shows what is available on your connection.
It is yet another valuable tool that you can use as a troubleshooting and diagnostic tool and it can give you valuable insights into the current routing information that your computer has stored.
It lists all of your current network adapters and will show you which ones are active.
Troubleshooting network problems can be a real challenge if you do not have the right tools to help you find out what is going on within your environment.
If this guide has shown anything then it is that you can get by with a lot of free help from these tools as they either ship with the operating system or they are free to download and use.
We hope that this information has been useful, and that you can apply some of these techniques and use some of these tools whenever you need to find out exactly what is going on within the network.