Networking

Axence NetTools Professional 3.0: The Right Tool for the Job?

Axence NetTools setup

Every administrator requires ready access to Windows system, service and hardware information. Axence NetTools packs all that data into a single app, while adding an entire suite of powerful networking utilities. But how well do all those tools work together? Erik Eckel test drives Axence NetTools Professional in this Right Tool gallery.

You may download a free, trial version of Axence NetTools here.

Axence NetTools 3.0 setup is straightforward. Download the executable install file and double-click it to begin installation.

About

Erik Eckel owns and operates two technology companies. As a managing partner with Louisville Geek, he works daily as an IT consultant to assist small businesses in overcoming technology challenges and maximizing IT investments. He is also president o...

13 comments
Bobby-Brooks
Bobby-Brooks

This looks like a consolidation of a few tools that are freely and readily available within Windows if you know where to look. If you are using tools like these, I would hope that you have enough experience with Windows that you WOULD know where to look. I recall making something similar to this when I was learning VB a few years ago and have since used it about three times. As of now what I've found works best is just to create a folder and put shortcuts to whatever tools I use regularly in it, then add a toolbar to the taskbar pointing to that folder. The programs are there when I need it, I don't have to run a much larger and more resource intensive suite to run the very small application I need. I would say to make this work properly it would have to just run in the background constantly, but that's just a total waste, and I'm definitely not seeing anything that would lead me to believe it is worth close to the $99 asking price. $98.98 if you give me credit for my $.02 here.

jmarkhus
jmarkhus

in speaking with Alex Koslov from KS-Soft.net, he is too humble to point out that ip-tools has only one setup screen unlike the numerous ones that axence seems to have (i gave up halfway through them). now while ip-tools may have the following disadvantages: 1) IP-Tools does not provide a utility like "WinTools" 2) IP-Tools' utility "IP Monitor" works only with local systems 3) IP-Tools does not show routing table 4) IP-Tools does not provide SNMP Browser though ks-soft offers freeware MIB Browser as separate application at their site www.ks-soft.net. now not only is the ip-tools gui user friendly but it also hast the following disadvantages: 1) IP-Tools' HostMonitor utility is more flexible than NetTools' NetWatch 2) IP-Tools' Connection Monitor allows you to drop any TCP connection (on Windows XP, 2003) 3) There is a NetBIOS utility (no similar utility offered by NetTools) 4) There is NB Scanner utility (no similar utility offered by NetTools) 5) There is SNMP Scanner utility (no similar utility offered by NetTools) 6) IP-Tools' Port Scanner + UDP Scanner utilities are more flexible than NetTools' Scan Network 7) IP-Tools' Ping Scanner is more flexible than NetTools' Ping 8) There is WhoIs utility (no similar utility offered by NetTools) 9) There is Finger utility (no similar utility offered by NetTools) 10) There is Get Time utility (no similar utility offered by NetTools) 11) There is Telnet utility (no similar utility offered by NetTools) 11) There is HTTP utility (no similar utility offered by NetTools) 12) There is SNMP Watcher utility (no similar utility offered by NetTools) 13) IP-Tools is lighter (download size = 1.4 MB, comparing to 18MB) and though ks-soft wont tell you, it used to run off floppy so the newer versions should run off flash disk making it portable. 14) IP-Tools is cheaper ($35 USD compare to $99) 15) KS-Soft offers "unlimited" free updates! i for one am not an employee for ks-soft though the above information was provided with the consent of Alex Kozlov. my dear colleagues, i'd rather support the efforts of this guy that has been providing good services to me since 1998!!!

dhamilt01
dhamilt01

It's 2007. Windows has been around for years. The old dogs prefer the command line ... to show how "smart" they are. The new guys can't waste time like that and prefer the convienence of the GUI. NetTools should have been out in 1995. Why does it take so long for programmers to get a handle on windows and leverage its power? Could it be the API itself Bill Gates?

misterdufus
misterdufus

if you use this tool, then you probably are a tool. what i mean is...use the correct/effective tool for the job, instead of trying to do it all in one. be impressed with what gets the job done, not another gadget. if interested in gadgets, then go pickup the iphone. I agree with the last post...why the heck did we have to sit through the windows installer screen?

alewisa
alewisa

A load of rubbish. The first 8 pages reviewed a windows installer.. what? Was there anything groundbreakingly different in the installer? Any gotchas? No. So why spend 8 pages showing the *standard* installer? The reviwew then mentions the PC auditing tools that the package ships with, without questioning what use they are, and considering alternatives. Are they as good as freeware alternatives? Are they sufficient enough to not need to invest in a dedicated package? Or does the author have no experience. At first cut I'd question what they were doing in there. If you have a network issue with a specific PC, there is an issue with your testing methodology if the first thought is to reach to this toolset. Finally, two thirds into the "review", we reach mention of a network specific tool. What is it. Ping. Its not even ping on steroids, its ping with a graph. We can change packet size, it appears, but can we ping multiple hosts? Can we configure to run ping at a specific time slot, and record the results? Change the frequency of pings? No idea. How does it compare to WSPing - A *freeware* alternative? Lucky us, we are gushingly informed of traceroute. Read above re ping comments. Just as applicable. Just it compare to freeware alternatives? A visual bandwidth tool. Oddly enough, we have one inbuilt in the system. Oh, wow, it can display a graph. Has anyone ever questioned the general utillity of such a a tool? 2 purposes - to determine CPU loading on network bandwidth, and identify a bad cable, given the preponderance of switched networks. Other than that, all it will tell you is that yep, your 100/1000mbit LAN is running at 0.1% utilisation, on average. Overall? Sure, its nice to have tools in one place and in one framework, but what is it worth? How much is the toolkit, how does it compare to other market offerings, and the freeware alternatves. And more importantly, what feature(s) make it better then the free, built in tools provided by MS? If you need to test a PCs connectivity, so you really need to run more than one instance of ping, route, and nslookup.... If you do, the problem either lies elsewhere, or there is a problem with your methodology Sorry guys, but that "review" was a total waste of bandwidth.

jmarkhus
jmarkhus

IMHO, i think ip-tools is a better product. it does all the same things and yet it has a lower footprint.

jmarkhus
jmarkhus

if you could tell me how to get the benefits i posted above from xp, i'd be most grateful. like viewing my connections and being able to see what process is connecting to the net and when.

sbutler
sbutler

is that $0.02 plus tax .. lol

jmarkhus
jmarkhus

so let us instead look at IP-Tools from ks-soft. which does alot more for a lower cost. i;ll be putting it up soon. which product do you recommend?

alewisa
alewisa

Troubleshooting a network issue is more than just a toolset. More importantly, it is a methodology. Why? Firstly, it provides a common process understood by all, and provides a logical approach to a problem, rather than a shotgun manner which can lead to some avenues being missed. And a little experience and knowledge of the system tools goes a long way; what happens if a system policy prevents you from using a toolset... The methodology I use is to trouble shoot from the wire up. Its a basic adage amongst old hands, from the 90's and before, and holds good today. It works for both [remote] 1st line staff taking a fault call, to 3rd line engineers resolving a complex infrastructure fault. The following example is based on a real world fault call from a few years back. Simple, and serves the point. Lets say a user at PC A cannot access an app on Server Z. Z may be "local" (on the same subnet in the same building, or via a layer 2 bridge), or remote, on a another subnet across one or more network links. In this case, both user and 1st line analyst were remote from each other and the server, and the fault preceeded a real-time NMS system which would have alerted us to the root problem. The traditional approach is to ping 127.0.0.1, then the NICs IP address, but I eschew that if the user is already logged in - the card and IP already work! Instead, work backwards - ping the IP address of the server. The user was talked through opening a DOS box and how to describe the output of Ping. Next ping the intermediate routers, working backwards. This identified the reach of the user's visibillity, and narrowed the problem down to a potenital router issue. At the same time, the 1st line analyst ping'ed the app server, then the intermediate routers. The path between the server and the two users differed, but the analyst had visibility of the routers in the users path. Why does experience and methodology count? Well, my "toolkit" evolved from a few utilities on a disk, to a few on a CD-ROM (which are still usefull) to 4gb USB drive. Not just tools, but also s/w such as AVG Anti-virus, Ad-aware, gfx drivers for a specific customer that day, netstumbler, bluescanner, nmap, and so on. FAT32 ensures it can be read on Win 9x - XP as well as Linux. But just two days ago I was working on a bunch of machines with a group policy that locked out USB drives. Knowing how to open a DOS box and type PING and nslookup (the issue was very slow network performance, slow dns look ups, caused by incorrect DNS configuration). is not an "old hand showing off", but essential. And to be honest, the inbuilt commands (PING, NSLOOKUP, ROUTE and NET) are sufficient to troubleshoot the majority of IP problems, or at least identify where the fault lies. Ping tests basic network access and reach nslookup tests dns resolution route well, the routes/interfaces a PC takes to access a given network Net - (windows only) for MS network visibility on the local network This is a bit disjointed and random, but written off top of head. Should really sit down and plan these things out!

alewisa
alewisa

Not done the CIT, only ICRC, ACRC, and CID... but its been pretty standard since, well, routing was a server function :) We avoided using anything more complex than Pping at 1st line... partially because we couldnt always guarantee 1st line staff could recognise the output, but also because users, are, well... users, and easily confused. Ping provides an easily understood output that provides a yes/no answer... for 99/100 people! Agree though, TRACERT is a powerful little tool, as is NETSTAT... as you rightly highlight, it all comes down to experience and knowing how to use the tools.

bruce_skipper
bruce_skipper

Right out of the CIT course from Cisco...and any engineer's skillset if he/she's worth their salt. I would also recommend in addition to what you've stated that the analytical protocols used be used effectively. Different protocols allow for multi-layer troubleshooting. You can use ping (layer 3)if you want, but i'd elect to go to one that takes you through layer 7 and all the way down to layer 1. TRACERT can provide you several discovery elements in one fell swoop. You get DNS all the way through to physical layer feedback. If you already know that the upper layers are not an issue then you can elect to do divide and conquer. The 3 approaches, top-down, bottom-up, and divide/conquer is a decision you should reach based upon the issue, but, once again, you can accomplish several steps in one step. TRACERT is an economic resolution in that typically the most important factor is time...or should i say "down time". DOS is so often overlooked in its ability to assist you in narrowing down the culprit. Spend a moment and type in NETSTAT /? at a DOS prompt and you'll be amazed how much information you can derive from this simple command. Happy hunting!