April 17, 2019

How to Choose the Best Network Scanner?

Networks are rapidly growing in size, and even large companies with expertly trained IT staff need the right tools with automatic network scanning capabilities to gain the visibility necessary for near-perfect uptimes to be maintained.
Editor’s choice 2019
Network Inventory Advisor
Automatically collect all relevant data on all network devices and get detailed OS and devices statistics.
Network Inventory Advisor for Windows scans Windows, Mac OS X, Linux computers and SNMP devices, any of them will count as a node.

Why Do You Need a Network Scanner?

Network scanners, sometimes called network device scanners, automate the process of keeping records of all the IT or network assets and thus provide the visibility network administrators need to manage complex networks, all while freeing them to dedicate their time to more important tasks than manual record-keeping.

When network administrators can fully focus on growth and troubleshooting, the whole company benefits. This is especially true today because even small companies with just a couple of employees often manage hundreds of IT and network assets. Companies can plan for the future and make wise financial and operational decisions only when they know exactly which assets they have and what their status is.

“Companies can plan for the future and make wise financial and operational decisions only when they know exactly which assets they have and what their status is.”

Network scanners additionally eliminate human error, which is inevitable when dealing with hundreds of different devices on a single network, let alone multiple networks. Even a few missing devices with invalid software licenses can spell a disaster during a comprehensive audit, and only capable network scanners with software license management functionality can easily determine if you have the right number of licenses for installed software.

Some network scanners can create graphical representations of networks, which can be extremely helpful when communicating with stakeholders or figuring out the most optimal path for growth. If it wasn’t for network scanners, network administrators would have to manually map out networks using Microsoft Visio and other diagramming and vector graphics applications. Needless to say, manual network mapping is a very time-consuming task that’s best avoided entirely.

How to Choose a Network Scanner?

In the previous chapter, we’ve already mentioned some things that you can expect a good network scanner to do, but there’s more to choosing a network scanner than features.

  • Price: Free network scanners are compelling because they provide the visibility companies need to grow for a very likable price of exactly zero dollars. Just don’t expect free network scanners to be on par with paid network scanners when it comes to features and customer support. An excellent compromise are network scanners with flexible pricing and a free trial version, such as Network Inventory Advisor, which we cover in next chapter.

  • Support: Many companies that choose free network scanners don’t realize just how important customer support really is. When a company chooses a network scanner, it should also be able to use it without much trouble. Network administrators welcome the option to pick up a phone and call a customer support when they have a problem, instead of having to search for answers in a manual.

  • Compatibility: Networks have never been more complex than they are today, which is why it’s very important to choose a network scanner that can inventory every connected device, regardless of its vendor or operating system.




Top 5 Best Network Scanners

choice #1
4.9
#1 • Editor choice
Network Inventory Advisor
Professional Network Inventory
Runs on Windows. Scans Windows, Mac OS X, Linux computers and SNMP devices.
Network Inventory Advisor is suitable for companies of all sizes, providing visibility to both IT and non-IT assets as well as software licenses. You can try it for free for up to 15 days, and you never have to pay for more than you really need thanks to its flexible pricing.
Network Inventory Advisor
Network Inventory Advisor is the official software audit partner of Autodesk Inc., so you know that you can depend on it in every way.
Editor’s choice 2019
Network Inventory Advisor
Automatically collect all relevant data on all network devices and get detailed OS and devices statistics.
Network Inventory Advisor for Windows scans Windows, Mac OS X, Linux computers and SNMP devices, any of them will count as a node.
choice #2
4.5
#2 • Author rank
Тetwork scanner to analyze LAN
Trusted by millions of users, Advanced IP Scanner is a deceptively simple free network scanner Windows with remote control capabilities and MAC address detection. It runs without installation and can export scan results to a CSV file.
Advanced IP Scanner
The company behind it, Famatech, has been around since 1992, and it launched Advanced IP Scanner in 2002, improving it since then.
choice #3
4.3
#3 • Author rank
IP scanner tool for analyzing networks
Network Scanner by Lizard System can be used for scanning both large corporate networks consisting of thousands of devices along with small home networks made up of only a handful of computers.
Network Scanner by Lizard System
It runs on Windows machines and can be used for free for 10 days without any limitations. Scan results can be exported to XML, HTML, or plain text.
choice #4
4.2
#4 • Author rank
Portable Network Analyzer
Capsa Free is a well-designed network scanner that heavily relies on graphical visual representations of network devices to help network administrators diagnose problems and monitor network activity.
Capsa Free Network Analyzer
Capsa Free can monitor only up to 10 IP addresses, but you can upgrade to either Capsa Standard or Capsa Enterprise to increase this limit to 50 or eliminate it entirely.
choice #5
4.1
#5 • Author rank
Nmap Security Scanner
Zenmap is an excellent network scanner Mac based on Nmap, a free and open-source security scanner used to discover hosts and services on a computer network.
Zenmap
By providing an easy-to-use graphical user interface with several advanced features, Zenmap makes Nmap accessible even to beginners without feeling like a compromise.

Conclusion

Network scanners are no longer optional, and their importance will only grow as network complexity increases. The sooner a company realizes that it should equip its IT staff with a capable network scanner, the better off it will be in the long run. There are many options when it comes to network scanners, including those described in this article.

Editor’s choice 2019

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Network Inventory now

Automatically collect all relevant data on all network devices and get detailed OS and devices statistics. Add custom data. Track important changes in your network.

You are getting 15-day, fully featured trial version.