Web Development

Five must-have portable networking tools

Add these apps to your portable toolkit for network troubleshooting, monitoring, and management.

Having all your tools in one place certainly makes your job easier. This is especially true when you need networking tools. These tools can be anything from simple monitoring tools to full-blown portable servers. Regardless of what you need and why you need it, there are plenty of networking tools that require zero installation and can fit on a USB flash drive.

There are quite a lot of portable apps out there--even within the narrowed scope of networking tools. Here are five handy portable network tools that you can add to your on-the-go toolkit.

Note: This list is also available as a photo gallery.

1: ConnectionMonitoring

ConnectionMonitoring (Figure A) is a simple tool that allows you to monitor incoming and outgoing socket connections. With this connection information at hand, you can see whether any unwanted traffic is coming into a machine. And because this app is portable, you don't have to bother with installing the tool -- you'll always have what you need right there. ConnectionMonitoring scans current connections and then displays the following: Local address/port, remote address/port, TCP UDP protocol/status of those connections.

Figure A

ConnectionMonitoring

2: TCPView

TCPView (Figure B) is like Netstat with a power boost. With this portable tool, you can view a detailed listing and the current state of all TCP and UDP endpoint connections, as well as the process name running each endpoint. This tool also contains a command-line version, Tcpvcon, which offers the same features as Netstat.

Figure B

TCPView

3: DNS Benchmark

DNS Benchmark (Figure C) allows you to do exactly what the name implies -- benchmark your DNS servers. You can easily determine whether your nameservers are the cause of your networking problems. DNS Benchmark can monitor up to 200 DNS servers and report on their status. You can use a simple configuration file to configure the specific DNS servers you want checked.

Figure C

DNS Benchmark

4: Pale Moon Portable

Pale Moon Portable (Figure D) is based on the minimalist version of Firefox but is far lighter in weight and far faster in performance. Pale Moon (the creators of the browser) claims a 25% speed increase over Firefox. However, you will find that some Firefox features aren't in Pale Moon. The major missing features are accessibility and parental control. Otherwise, you can expect a full-featured browsing experience in a very mobile package.

Figure D

Pale Moon Portable

5: EasyPHP

EasyPHP (Figure E) allows you to carry around a complete portable WAMP stack on a stick. This tool is mostly useful for developers, but anyone who needs a portable Web server can benefit from having this available. EasyPHP bundles all the usual WAMP tools (Apache, MySQL, PHP) as well as the PhpMyAdmin tool for managing the databases on the server. You will also find Xdebug to aid in your debugging process.

Figure E

EasyPHP

Other good portable networking tools?

Portable tools don't need to be useless. In fact, they can be some of the most valuable tricks up your sleeve. With this short list of portable networking tools, you can enjoy some serious power and manageability -- at your fingertips.

What other on-the-go apps would you add to this list? Share your recommendations with fellow TechRepublic members.

About

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.

2 comments
boucaria
boucaria

At the moment I have most of my handy dandy programs on a Portable APPS install. Can the above Apps be used comfortable on that sort of USB portable, or is it better on something separate ?

leo8888
leo8888

Another excellent DNS benchmarking program. Saw improvement in daily browsing speeds after using the name servers suggested by running namebench. Also am I missing something or does TCPView do everything that ConnectionMonitoring does and then some?