7 Best Cisco Network Monitoring Tools

Best Cisco Network Monitoring Tools

You’d be hard-pressed to find a business that doesn’t recognize the name Cisco.

Cisco is one of the biggest names in networking, known for producing reliable hardware. The company produces everything from switches and routers to firewalls.

Whether its devices like switches or routers. To help you monitor these devices we’re going to look at the seven best Cisco network monitoring tools.

Here is our list of the seven best Cisco network monitoring tools:

  1. SolarWinds Network Performance Monitor (FREE TRIAL) – Network monitoring tool that can automatically discover SNMP and Cisco devices. Includes a dashboard and a configurable alerts system.
  2. Paessler PRTG Network Monitor – Free network monitoring tool with sensors for monitoring Cisco devices. There are sensors for Cisco IP SLA, Cisco ADSL, Cisco CBQoS, and more.
  3. ManageEngine OpManager -Network monitoring tool that supports the Cisco User Series, Nexus, and UCS. It comes with email and SMS alerts so you can resolve performance concerns quickly.
  4. Spiceworks Connectivity Dashboard – Free real-time network monitoring tool with autodiscovery for SNMP devices. View an overview of device performance through the dashboard and alerts system to send notifications about outages.
  5. Zabbix – Open-source network monitoring tool with an autodiscovery feature and integrations for Cisco. Templates for Cisco Network Devices, Cisco ASA Discovery, Catalyst Switches, and more.
  6. LogicMonitor – Infrastructure monitoring tool with over 1,000 monitoring templates (including integrations for Cisco). Customizable alerts system with email, SMS, and voice notifications.
  7. Cisco Network Assistant – Free network monitoring tool for Cisco devices that can monitor up to 80 devices. It includes a topology map and configuration management features.

The best Cisco network monitoring tools

1. SolarWinds Network Performance Monitor (FREE TRIAL)

SolarWinds Network Performance monitor

SolarWinds Network Performance Monitor is a network monitoring tool that can automatically discover Cisco and SNMP devices. Once your devices have been discovered you can monitor the health, availability, and performance of Cisco hardware (including Cisco ASA firewalls). In addition, your devices can be viewed as a network topology map so you can overview performance from a top-down perspective.

The user interface is highly visual, with performance data displayed in tabs as graphs and charts. For instance, if you have Cisco ASA firewalls, you can monitor the status of objects, contexts, and ACLS in one pane of glass. To provide even more visibility, it automatically discovers ACLs and tells you the zones and interfaces assigned to those ACLs.

The real-time monitoring experience is enhanced by an alerts system. You have the choice between out-of-the-box alerts and creating your own. Alerts notify you when a device is experiencing performance issues. Alerts can be sent by email and SMS.

SolarWinds Network Performance Monitor is excellent for organizations that want a monitoring tool that’s easy to deploy and use (whether in a cloud or on-premises environment.) It starts at a price of $2,995 (£2,275). You can download the 30-day free trial.

SolarWinds Network Performance Monitor Download 30-day FREE Trial

2. Paessler PRTG Network Monitor

PRTG Network Monitor

Paessler PRTG Network Monitor is a free network monitoring tool that monitors Cisco devices. The software supports SNMP and NetFlow and can monitor Cisco devices, routers, switches, and ports. There are also monitoring sensors available for Cisco include the Cisco IP SLA Sensor, SNMP Cisco ADSL Sensor, SNMP Cisco CBQoS Sensor, and more.

The SNMP Cisco ADSL Sensor can monitor your router and measures the speed of downlink, speed of uplink, local attenuation, signal-to-noise ratio, and more. Likewise, The Cisco IP SLA Sensor can be used to measure the performance of VoIP services taking metrics such as round-trip time, jitter, latency, MOS, and more.

The software also has a highly configurable alerts system. Alerts are threshold-based so that you can configure trigger parameters to determine when you receive notifications. Notifications can be sent by email, SMS, push notifications (for Android and iOS), and more.

PRTG Network Monitor is one of the most accessible and low-cost Cisco network monitoring tools on this list. The platform is free for the first 100 sensors but after that point, you will have to pay. Paid versions of PRTG Network Monitor start at $1,600 (£1,219) for 500 sensors. You can download the 30-day free trial.

Paessler PRTG Network Monitor Download 30-day FREE Trial

3. ManageEngine OpManager

ManageEngine OpManager

ManageEngine OpManager is a network monitoring software for Windows and Linux. It supports a range of Cisco devices including the user series, Catalyst Series, Nexus, and UCS. The software also supports technologies like NetFlow and IP SLA that are used by Cisco devices such as routers.

SNMP monitoring enables ManageEngine OpManager to measure over 100 performance metrics including CPU usage, memory utilization, backplane utilization, packet drops, interface collisions, and more. All of this information can be viewed in the form of dials, graphs, and charts.

The alert system tells you when a device’s performance metrics match a predefined threshold by email and SMS. Alerts provide you with a heads up when conditions change so that you can follow up and take action quickly.

There are three versions of ManageEngine OpManager available to purchase: Standard Edition, Professional Edition, and Enterprise edition. The Standard Edition costs $245 (£186.79) for 10-1000 devices.

The Professional Edition costs $345 (£263) for 10-1000 devices as well but includes extra features such as VMware and Hyper-V monitoring. The Enterprise Edition costs $11,545 (£8,801) for 250-10,000 devices with multi-site monitoring. You can download the 30-day free trial.

4. Spiceworks Connectivity Dashboard 

Spiceworks connectivity dashboard

Spiceworks Connectivity Dashboard is a free network monitor that can monitor devices, applications, and services in real-time. Spiceworks doesn’t have much in the way of integrations or features for Cisco but it can automatically discover and monitor SNMP devices. Once the devices have been discovered you can view the up/down status of Cisco devices through the dashboard.

The software shows you a grid overview of devices such as servers, routers, switches, and printers. The overview is color-coded so you can easily see whether a device is classified as Good, Disconnected, Slow, Unreachable or Not Tested. There is also an alert system that sends you a notification once a device goes down.

Spiceworks Connectivity Dashboard is a solid tool for SMEs that want a lightweight Cisco/infrastructure monitoring experience. The only limitation is that you can only monitor up to 25 devices. You can download the software for free.

5. Zabbix

Zabbix screenshot

Zabbix is an open-source network monitoring tool with a range of integrations for Cisco. It uses SNMP to monitor the status of devices. Autodiscoveryautomatically detects new devices added to your network. The feature can also detect device configuration changes, for example, if the firmware of a device is upgraded.

When monitoring Cisco devices the user can choose out-of-the-box templates for Cisco hardware, Cisco ASA Discovery, Cisco Memory and CPU, Catalyst Switches, and Cisco Network devices. Each template allows you to monitor different performance metrics. With the Catalyst Switches integration, you can monitor switch uptime, CPU, memory utilization, interface traffic, and more.

Notifications tell you if a device is unavailable or experiencing performance issues. Alerts are categorized according to the severity with six classifications; Not classified, Information, Warning, Average, High, and Disaster. The user can choose to be notified via email, SMS, Jabber, Messenger or by a custom script.

Any organization searching for premium, low-cost Cisco network monitoring tools would be well advised to investigate Zabbix. It’s available for free on CentOs, OracleLinux, Ubuntu, Debian, Raspbian, and SUSE Linux Enterprise Server. You can download the free trial.

6. LogicMonitor

LogicMonitor

LogicMonitor is a real-time infrastructure monitoring tool with over 1,000 built-in monitoring templates. For Cisco users, LogicMonitor comes with out-of-the-box integrations or LogicModules, designed to monitor Cisco devices. There are LogicModules for Cisco Unified Communications Manager, Cisco IPSec tunnel, Cisco switches and routers, and Cisco ASA devices.

Each logic module allows you to monitor specific performance metrics. For example, if you’re monitoring ASA devices then you can use the corresponding module to view information on Connections, IPSec Tunnels, Sessions/users, and tunnel traffic. Alternatively, if you’re monitoring routers and switches you can monitor Port Status, Power Budget, Stack State, Switch Role, and more.

To help the user monitor more efficiently, LogicMonitor has alerts. Alerts come preconfigured and can be sent via email, SMS, and voice messages. You can even change where alerts are routed to based on the severity, group, or time of day.

LogicMonitor is one of the top Cisco network monitoring tools for users working in hybrid computing environments. To view the pricing information you need to contact the company directly. You can sign up for the 14-day free trial.

7. Cisco Network Assistant

Cisco network assistant screenshot

Cisco Network Assistant is a free network management tool for Cisco devices. Cisco Network Assistant offers monitoring for up to 80 devices. The user can discover devices within the network and view them geographically on a topology map.

Configuration management enables the user to manage Cisco device settings remotely through one pane of glass. You can make software upgrades through the drag-and-drop user interface, which makes it easier to update a network full of devices.

The software has strong integration with Cisco infrastructure. For example, there is integration with Cisco Active Advisor so that you can view hardware information on Warranty, Contract, Advisories, End of Life notifications, and more. Also, you can access the device manager in one click.

Cisco Network Assistant is a good option for smaller companies but the device limit makes it unsuitable for larger enterprises or those using lots of non-Cisco devices. The software is available on Windows Professional, Windows Ultimate, Windows Server, and Mac OS. You can download Cisco Network Assistant for free.

Choosing a Cisco Network Monitoring Tool

Cisco Network Monitoring tools are essential for monitoring network devices. Cisco infrastructure needs to be monitored as closely as any other type of infrastructure. Picking the right monitoring tool gives you the visibility you need to diagnose performance issues and resolve them.

While generic SNMP monitoring tools can monitor Cisco devices it is worth considering whether you need more support and integrations. Tools with out-of-the-box templates and sensors aimed specifically at Cisco will create a smoother overall monitoring experience.

SolarWinds Network Performance Monitor, Paessler PRTG Network Monitor, and LogicMonitor are all top network monitoring tools with integrations for monitoring Cisco devices. Whatever your needs, we recommend you try them free before making a decision.

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