Explore, troubleshoot and manage your network with Axence NetTools 5
If you run into problems with your PC network then Windows provides a surprising number of tools to help. You’ll have to find them first, of course, and then master their various command line switches. But if that doesn’t appeal, there’s always Axence NetTools, which just might provide everything you need in one straightforward tool.
The program organizes its functions into twelve sections, each represented by a toolbar button. On first launch, say, you might click "Local info", which displays an enormous amount of information on your current network status: IP addresses, network adapters and interfaces, currently open network connections, ARP and routing data, TCP/IP statistics and more.
The "Scan network" tool then scans the IP addresses you specify for hosts, any services they have running, or ports that might be open.
If you need to investigate the connection to a particular host, then of course there are "Ping" and "Trace" (traceroute) options to tell you more. Both tools can be used to check web as well as local hosts, with "Trace" displaying its path on a world map, as well as in the more usual table form.
A "WinTools" module helps you access details about other Windows computers on your network: basic system information, running processes, hardware, event log, Registry and more. It can work well, if your other systems are set up correctly, but there are a few issues. In particular, the report often includes raw WMI values, for example unhelpfully listing our "Adapter RAM" as "-2147483648". Uh, ok.
There are plenty of other interesting tools on offer, though, from the simple ("Lookup" tells you who owns a domain, "NetCheck" runs some automated network testing) to the very advanced ("TCP/IP workshop" helps you manually establish low-level TCP and UDP connections, and send raw data however you like).
We had a few issues here, in particular with the interface. If you’re not running full-screen then the various tables and reports aren’t always displayed properly, with an annoying advert in particular pushing useful options out of the way. (We’ve no objection to free programs including a little marketing, but this shouldn’t compromise their functionality.)
There’s still work to be done here, then, but if you’re currently short of network management tools then Axence NetTools has more than enough power to justify the download.