If you're an incredibly busy IT admin and need to be able to check your wireless network at any given time whether you're at a workstation or not, you need the right tools for the job. Fortunately, almost everything you need is in your Android device.
Thanks to the developers at Overlook Tools, you can install a simple to use app called Fing that will make this discovery a snap. Fing will do the following and more:
- Discover all devices connected to a Wi-Fi network
- Display the MAC Address and manufacturer of the devices found
- Allow you to enter your own names, icons, notes, and location
- Do a full search by IP, MAC, Name, Vendor, and Notes
- Show you a history of all discovered networks (this requires a Fingbox account)
- Allow you to share via Twitter, Facebook, Message, and Email
- Do a service scan to find hundreds of open ports
- Do Wake On LAN
- Run Ping and traceroute
- Do automatic DNS lookup and reverse lookup
- Check availability of the internet connection
- Open the Google Play Store on your Android device.
- Search for fing.
- Locate and tap the entry by Overlook Tools.
- Tap Install.
- Read the permissions listing carefully.
- If the permissions listing is acceptable, tap Accept.
- Allow the installation to complete.
You should see a launcher for Fing on your device home screen, in the App Drawer, or in both spots. Tap to launch the app, and Fing will automatically do its thing.
When you first launch Fing it will immediately run a scan of your wireless network (assuming you are connected to the wireless network in question) and display the results (Figure A).
Fing running on a Verizon-branded Motorola Droid Turbo.
If you long press on an entry, you can change the icon or name, add a note, or delete the entry. By tapping on one of the entries in the list, you will be treated to a number of details about the connected device (Figure B).
Details about a connected device on my wireless network.
From the details page of an entry, you can:
- Run a port scan (tap Service Scan)
- Ping the device
- Run a traceroute on the device
- Run Wake on LAN on the device
Using IP tools outside of the scan
Say one of your devices didn't show up in the scan, or there's an issue on your network, you can begin the troubleshooting process with the included Fing tools. If you tap the gear icon, you will see a section called HOST TOOLS. From there you can run a service scan, ping, traceroute, DNS lookup, or TCP connection test on any host. Tap one of the entries (say Ping), enter either the hostname or IP address of the host in question, and tap OK (Figure C).
Running a ping on a specific host.
Fingbox home and professional accounts
If you have a Fingbox account, you can save any or all explored networks you have discovered with Fing; these networks (and their associated information) will be saved to your Fing account. The account isn't free ($6.52 USD/month for a home account or $14.15 USD/month for a professional account), but it will allow you to keep more information at the ready.
With the home account you can:
- Save 10 networks
- Update every 10 minutes
- Get basic alerts
With the professional account you can:
- Save 100 networks
- Update every minute
- Get advanced alerts
- Use service monitoring
- Auto Wake on LAN
Naturally, if you only have one network to monitor, Fingbox would be overkill, as the standalone Fing app does a great job of keeping track of a single wireless network.
Try this killer network monitoring app
If you're looking for that killer mobile app for monitoring devices on your wireless network, Fing might be the one. Give it a try, and see if it doesn't make your network admin life a little bit easier.
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Jack Wallen is an award-winning writer for TechRepublic and Linux.com. He’s an avid promoter of open source and the voice of The Android Expert. For more news about Jack Wallen, visit his website getjackd.net.