Do you know what’s on your network? In this guide, we’ll show you a few simple ways you can find an IP address on your network. We’ll also go over a few great tools that can speed up this process and give you further insight into your network.
Whether you’re managing an office network, or just doing some troubleshooting at home, knowing how to find a device’s IP address is critical in solving a number of networking problems.
Let’s start with the most basic method of finding your own local IP address in two easy steps.
- Open a command line window. In Windows, you can do this by pressing Windows Key + R, and then typing cmd in the Run box and hitting enter. In Linux, this can be done by pressing Ctrl+Alt+T.
- Type ipconfig in the command line if you’re on Windows, and ifconfig if you’re on Linux. Press enter to get a list of your PC’s IP configuration.
In the command prompt, you’ll find your IPv4 address towards the top. Under it, you’ll see your subnet mask and your default gateway. This information is vital, especially if you’re having issues connecting to the internet.
But what about finding other IP addresses that might be on your network?
To find other IP addresses that are on your local network, type arp -a in the same command prompt window and press enter. A list of IP addresses will populate on your screen along with additional information you might find helpful.
In the far left-hand column you’ll see a list of IP addresses that were discovered on your network. Towards the bottom of the list, you may see some addresses starting with 224, 239, or 255. These addresses are generally reserved by your router for administrative purposes, so these can be looked over.
In the second column under Physical Addresses we’ll see each device’s physical address. This is also commonly referred to as a MAC address. A physical address is a unique identifier that every network device comes with. Unlike IP addresses, this number cannot be changed. Knowing a device’s physical address is important, especially if you want to identify exactly what is on your network.
The last column displays the address’s type. There are two types of IP addresses, dynamic and static. A dynamic address means that a DHCP server gave that device an IP address. A static address means that the device was configured to use a specific IP address, one that won’t change.
Static addresses are great for devices that are permanent, like printers or servers. Most home networks will be fine using DHCP to hand out IP addresses. DHCP servers assign IP addresses that have leases. Once that lease is up, that device might get a different IP address.
From your command prompt, you’re a bit limited in how you can interact with devices on the network. You can attempt to ping an IP address on your network by typing ping 192.168.XX.XXX (Replace the X’s with your IP address.)
Most devices will answer the ping and reply back. This is a quick and easy way to determine if there are any latency issues between your PC and that device. For further troubleshooting, we’re going to need to use some network analyzer tools.
These tools are great for quickly finding devices on your local network and spotting problems fast. They also provide a lot more details than your trusty old command prompt can give you.
Below are three of my favorite network scanning programs.
If you need more detail and functionality from your Port Scanner then SolarWinds has you covered. You can easily scan your network by IP ranges and filter by ports to identify what services a device is running. SolarWinds Port Scanner is currently a Windows tool only.
SolarWinds Port Scanner also automatically resolves hostnames to help you identify what devices are on your network faster. The GUI interface is easy to use and boasts a cleaner display than Angry IP Scanner.
For those who live in the command line, you’ll be glad to hear this tool comes with a fully functional CLI and support for batch scripting.
While these tools are great, they won’t proactively alert you to problems on your network such as duplicate IP addresses, or DHCP exhaustion.
If you’re a small business administrator, or just a curious tech looking for a bit more insight into your network, SolarWinds Port Scanner is an excellent tool and is available as a free download.
If you’re a network administrator like myself, you’ll find PRTG Network Monitor an extremely valuable tool when it comes to troubleshooting problems across your network. PRTG is really the evolution of a scanning tool and more of a complete network monitor.
PRTG first scans the entire network in its network discovery process, listing any devices it can find. Once the scan is complete it keeps a real-time inventory of all devices and records when any are removed or added.
PRTG’s sensors are perfect for in-depth testing across your networks. Ping sensors can easily monitor a device’s connectivity over the long term, and alert you to those intermittent connection problems that can be difficult to pin down.
The PRTG scanner goes a step further by also incorporating database monitoring into its suite of tools. This sensor will alert you to any outages or long wait times in almost any SQL environment. Database monitoring can help identify small problems such as stalled processes before they cause major downtime.
Lastly, PRTG can thoroughly monitor bandwidth and network utilization for your environment. When things slow to a crawl, you’ll be able to quickly identify which IP addresses are using the most bandwidth and pinpoint exactly what that traffic is.
Is someone streaming too much Netflix? With the usage monitoring sensor, you’ll never have to guess what is hogging up your bandwidth again. This data is beautifully displayed as a chart, and broken down by IP address, protocol, or top connections.
When you have a sample of data you’d like to save, you can easily export it to XML or CSV. You can even tap into the PRTG API and export your data in real-time.
PRTG is a powerful on-premise tool and is geared mostly for medium to large businesses. It installs in a Windows server environment and gives you full control of what sensors you’d like to activate. If you’d like to test it out yourself you can download a 30-day free trial.
One of my favorite free tools is the Angry IP Scanner. It’s compatible with Mac, Linux, and Windows and allows you to quickly find detailed information about devices that are on your network.
Simply select an IP range at the top and let Angry IP Scanner work its magic. Almost instantly Angry IP will begin pulling information about the IP range you specified.
At a glance you’ll be able to see what IP addresses are open for assignment, taken by devices, and how many ports each device has open.
If you’re having trouble finding a device on your network, Angry IP Scanner makes it simple to track down that device for further troubleshooting.
Angry IP Scanner has personally helped me find devices that have lost their static IP address without having to physically go to the device.
If you’re looking to export and save your findings, you can easily download your results in CSV, XML, or text format. It is available as a free download.
No matter what size network you’re troubleshooting, understanding how to find a device’s IP address is essential.
Whether you’re quickly looking up the ARP table with the arp -a command, or utilizing a network tool like PRTG, having a solid grasp of what’s on your network will help keep all of your device safe, and yourself headache free.