If you are using a computer for long enough, then you might have come across situations where you have to deal with a network related issue or want to monitor the incoming and outgoing traffic to your computer. This is especially true if you are a network administrator or someone who deals with a lot of network related stuff.
So, if you ever need, here are some of the best and useful Windows network monitoring tools.
Also Read: 5 Ways To Monitor Broadband Usage in Windows
Network Monitoring Tools for Windows
1. Resource Monitor
Windows has many built-in monitoring tools that can monitor a wide range of activities. Among all those monitors you get in Windows, the Resource Monitor is one of the most useful tools that every Windows user should know. Using the Resource Monitor, you can monitor your CPU, Memory, Disk, and Network.
The Resource Monitor can give you a comprehensive look at things like complete network activity, processes with network activity, current active TCP connections, and a list of all the listening ports. If you are a general home user, then Resource Monitor is all you need.
How it works: you can easily access the Resource Monitor by searching for it in the start menu. In the Resource Monitor, navigate to the “Network” tab, and you will see the network activity of all your processes.
Pro: Resource Monitor is a built-in tool and is easy to use. It can show you all the active connections and working ports.
Cons: This built-in app only allows you to monitor the network activity. You cannot actually control the activities.
Microsoft Network Monitor is a free and advanced network monitoring tool for Windows from Microsoft. It can be used to monitor and capture live traffic on your network. In fact, this tool shows you each and every networking packet that is sent in or out of your system.
Microsoft Network Monitor tool can help in a lot of situations like when you need to collect granular information from your network, to find what is causing network issues, etc. Moreover, this application also provides you with powerful filtering capabilities so that you can quickly narrow down your search.
How it works: Just download and install the app and open it. After opening, click on the link “Open Capture tab” and then click on the “Start” button. This action will start the capturing process so that you can monitor your network activities.
Pros: Microsoft Network Monitor combined with its advanced filtering capabilities can show what is happening on your network.
Cons: Being and advanced tool, you might want to spend some time with it to get comfortable.
Wireshark is one of the best, most popular, and cross-platform network monitoring and protocol analyzing tool. Wireshark enables you to do a lot of things like capturing live network traffic, reading data from the Ethernet, WiFi, Bluetooth, USB, etc. You can also inspect hundreds of protocols, capture gzip compressed files, decrypting a wide range of protocols like IPsec, SNMPv3, SSL/TLS, Kerberos, ISAKMP, etc.
Being an advanced tool, Wireshark has a multitude of filters to narrow down and monitor or inspect your network. Moreover, you can also create advanced triggers and alerts while monitoring your system. So, if you are troubleshooting a network or want to monitor each and every activity on your network then do give Wireshark a try.
How it works: just download and install the software like any other Windows software. After installing, open the application and double-click on your network card and Wireshark will capture and show you the live traffic.
Pros: Wireshark is an advanced tool and it gives you a lot of options to quickly and efficiently monitor and capture the network traffic.
Cons: again, it’s an advanced tool, there a bit of learning curve. Also, you need to buy a separate network card if you want to capture packets from other devices on your network.
GlassWire is a system monitor and a firewall at the same time. The good thing about GlassWire is that it enables you to visualize all the network activity and segregate them according to applications, traffic type, and geo-location.
Moreover, unlike other apps in this list, GlassWire gives you the data in the form of beautiful graphs so that you can easily find and analyze the traffic spikes and other situations. You can also analyze the network activity of the past 30 days.
How it works: GlassWire is pretty simple to use. All you have to do is install the application and launch it. Once you launch the application, it will monitor all network activities while protecting your system.
Pros: GlassWire has a very simple user interface and gives you the data in the form of attractive graphs. You can easily allow or deny any network connection with just a click or two.
Cons: The free version of GlassWire is limited in advanced features. But for a home or general user, GlassWire is pretty sufficient
Of all the tools shared here, Wireless Network Watcher is the most simple tool that lists all the devices connected to your network. This tool is pretty helpful if you want to see how many devices are connected to your network. You can also use it to find MAC addresses of those devices and other useful information.
However, you cannot monitor or capture the actual traffic with this application.
How it works: download the portable version of Wireless Network Watcher and open it. As soon as you open the application, it will quickly scan and show all the devices connected to your network. To find additional details of an instrument, simply double click on the device IP.
Pro: Wireless Network Watcher is a portable application and can quickly show you all the devices connected to your network.
Cons: It can only gather and show you basic information. You cannot actually see what’s happening on the network.
So, these were some of the best network monitoring tools for Windows and do comment below sharing your thoughts and experiences about using the above tools.
Also read: Top 10 Network Monitoring Apps for Android.