Wireles Networking is a practical guide to planning and building low-cost telecommunications infrastructure. See the editorial for more information....


Computer networks (and wireless networks in particular) are incredibly entertaining and useful inventions. Except, of course, when they don't work. Your users may complain that the network is “slow” or “broken”, but what does that really mean? Without insight into what is actually happening, administering a network can be very frustrating.

In order to be an effective network administrator, you need access to tools that show you exactly what is happening on your network. There are several different classes of monitoring tools. Each shows you a different aspect of what is “going on”, from the physical radio interaction all the way to how user applications interact with each other. By watching how the network performs over time, you can get an idea of what is “normal” for your network, and even be notified automatically when things seem to be out of the ordinary. The tools listed in this section are all quite powerful, and are freely available for download from the sources listed.

Last Update: 2007-01-24