Critical things you must know when choosing a Network Monitoring tool.
Read on before you make a buy!
Well a network monitoring tool is a software-based or hardware-software combination that keeps a watch on the network. Its functions include the collection of data on performance metrics like latency, use of hosts and bandwidth. 
An inclusive network monitoring tool tracks the network’s performance and alerts the admin during times of unreasonable dips in network traffic, and when traffic reaches threshold. Complex or enterprise network monitoring tools offer visibility and monitoring on WAN and software defined network and architecture. It further provides monitoring of the different network- based applications and the mobile devices that are connected to this network.
A good network monitor apart from keeping a tab on the overall health of the network, must enable proactive strategies that justify the cost of upgrade or maintenance of hardware which are important for eliminating critical bottlenecks in a network.  Ultimately a proper functioning network is one that is high on user satisfaction.
Quite a lot of free network monitoring tools are available when it comes to built – in or open source networks. For example the Ping utility is just the right solution for detecting simple host connectivity issues. The Microsoft Network monitor troubleshoots network problems and is widely used by network administrators. The Nagios although not a set-up friendly monitor provides critical and accurate metrics for troubleshooting. 
However, free tools are narrow in their approach towards diagnosis and troubleshooting, and may not be the required robust network monitor a business needs. 
What are the important features a Network Monitor must have?
Real time Analysis : A comprehensive network monitor must be able to diagnose, analyze and monitor  network and its connected devices in real time, thereby enabling the admin in responding to alerts and faults.
Implementation and Configuration: The network monitor must be a simple one to configure and set-up and must support multiple vendor devices at any given point of time.
Interface : The network monitor you choose must be inclusive of a node, auto discovery, device inventorying, trouble alerts and warnings that are configurable. All of this must be integrated on a centralized management interface that is Web-based.
Choices are a plenty, when it comes to choosing a network monitor either free or commercial. However, practice caution and choose a network monitor that will meet your needs today and at the same time scalable in the future when business demands a network expansion. 
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