Use a Windows computer long enough and you will 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 it, here are some of the best and most useful network monitoring tools for both Windows 10 and 11 OS.
Table of Contents
1. ManageEngine OpManager (Enterprise Users)
OpManager from ManageEngine is an advanced SNMP-based network monitoring solution for enterprise admins who handle a large number of computers in a company. OpManager creates this intuitive but interactive maps that are fun but useful.
OpManager will track and monitor a variety of your network devices routers, switches, network, physical servers, WAN, VoIP, system health, processes, etc., and then some third-party services like VMware, Citrix, HyperV, etc. The list is exhaustive. The dashboard area of most Windows network monitors can be confusing. To counter that, OpManager allows you to create your own dashboards. Plus, there are thousands of templates that will further make it easier to build a dashboard that works for you.
The ability to perform more than one operation at the same time is one of the key features. There is a demo version available. OpMananger works on Windows and Linux and has mobile apps for both Android and iOS admins on the go.
Pros: It covers a lot of ground supporting most key services with varied layout options based on autodiscovery process. And yet, it is quite flexible and easy to customize to your liking.
Cons: OpManager is not your average network monitoring tool. It was purpose-built from the ground up for advanced users working in enterprise environments. Because of that, it can be a little overwhelming for first-time users but you will quickly get the hang of it.
2. Resource Monitor (Home Users)
Windows has many built-in monitoring tools that can monitor a wide range of activities. The Resource Monitor is one of the most useful tools that every Windows user should know how to use. Using the Resource Monitor, you can monitor your CPU, Memory, Disk, and Network performance.
This Windows network monitoring tool 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.
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.
Pros: 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 network activity. You cannot actually control the activities.
3. Microsoft Network Monitor (Deprecated)
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.
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: The tool has not been updated in a long time so may not work as advertised.
4. Wireshark (Advanced Users)
Wireshark, now a non-profit foundation, is one of the most popular cross-platform network monitoring and protocol analyzing tools for Windows 10 and 11. Wireshark enables you to do a lot of things like capturing live network traffic and reading data from the Ethernet, Wi-Fi, 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.
Just download and install the software like any other Windows executable file. 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 network traffic.
Cons: Again, it’s an advanced tool and hence there is a bit of a learning curve. Also, you need to buy a separate network card if you want to capture packets from other devices on your network.
5. GlassWire (Advanced Home Users)
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 traffic spikes and other situations. You can also analyze the network activity of the past 30 days.
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.
6. Wireless Network Watcher (Portable and Lightweight)
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 the MAC addresses of those devices and other useful information.
However, you cannot monitor or capture the actual traffic with this application.
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 about an instrument, simply double-click on the device IP.
Pros: Wireless Network Watcher is a portable application that 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 do comment below sharing your thoughts and experiences about using the above tools.
Windows Network Monitoring Tools
Your use case determines the network monitoring tool that you will employ on your Windows machine, or should I say Windows server? Resource Monitor is good enough for home users or even gamers. Microsoft Network Monitor was cool until it was deprecated, however, it is still available in case you may want to use it.
While Glasswire and Wireshark are both great options on a budget, ManageEngine’s OpManager is probably the best solution out there for enterprise users.
By the way, did you know you can also monitor the network using your Android smartphone? Yup, there are several network monitoring apps for Android too. Check them out.