10 indispensable iPhone apps for IT administrators

There are many sophisticated iPhone applications that can simplify your life as a system or network admin. Michael Kassner highlights his favorites.
Written by Larry Dignan, Contributor

This is a guest post from TechRepublic's Michael Kassner. For more posts like this check out the 10 Things blog.

Working while mobile is becoming a requirement for IT administrators. I see two choices. Either carry a notebook and data card or use a smart phone with equivalent capabilities. Apple’s iPhone, with the following applications, make that decision relatively simple.

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1: Analytics App ($5.99 US and rated 4+)

This application (Figure A and Figure B) gives immediate access to Google Analytics, allowing prompt feedback on Web site traffic. Using this app is easier and quicker than the actual Analytics Web site. For more information, visit the Inblosam, LLC Web site.

Figure A

Figure B

2: LogMeIn Ignition ($29.99 US and rated 4+)

I use LogMeIn extensively, yet I balked at getting this app because of the price. Then I thought why not use my iPhone instead of a notebook and expensive data card? All of a sudden, 30 dollars didn’t seem like much. If you aren’t convinced, LogMeIn offers a free trial of Ignition (Figure C) on its Web site.

Figure C

3: Network Utility Pro ($0.99 US and rated 4+)

This one offers a lot of capability for one dollar: Ping, TCP/IP port scan, GeoIP lookup, and Whois query. All the utilities work well, with the exception of GeoIP lookup. It never provided the correct location. For more details about Network Utility Pro, refer to Codepacity’s Web site. Figure D and Figure E show the available utilities and the results of a Whois query.

Figure D

Figure E

4: Network Ping ($3.99 US and rated 4+)

Network Ping is a series of network tests (Ping, Ping a subnet, Traceroute, and Telnet) ported to the iPhone. I prefer this app over Network Utility Pro when it comes to Pinging. It remembers past queries. For more detailed information, check out MochaSoft’s Web site. You can see the available utilities and the results of a trace route in Figure F and Figure G.

Figure F

Figure G

5: RDP Lite (Free and rated 4+)

RDP Lite is a helpful application when dealing with networks containing Windows XP Pro, Vista, or Windows 7 computers. It allows remote access of workstations, solving all sorts of logistics issues. RDP Lite is another application from MochaSoft. Figure H and Figure I show the configuration page and the log-on window.

Figure H

Figure I

6: SIO to Go (Free and rated 4+)

Cisco has a project called Security Intelligence Operations. It is a global threat-monitoring network. Zeek Interactive, along with Cisco, developed an iPhone app that delivers SIO early warning intelligence, threats, and Cisco-built solutions. The app also allows you to check the reputation of an e-mail or Web site address (Figure J). Figure K shows current security items of interest.

Figure J

Figure K

7: Snap ($1.99 US and rated 4+)

Simple Network Area Prober (SNAP) locates all active devices on the network. It displays both IP and MAC addresses, as well as services of each device found. It’s a great tool for network administrators who need to keep track of devices. 9Bit Labs is responsible for this handy app. Figure L and Figure M show an in-process scan and the results.

Figure L

Figure M

8: Speedtest Pro ($0.99 US and not rated yet)

Speedtest Pro is a simple application for evaluating the bandwidth of the iPhone’s 3G, EDGE, or Wi-Fi connection. Several bandwidth apps are available for the iPhone, but few register latency. This app was developed by Xtreme Labs. You can see a completed test and a comparative history in Figure N and Figure O.

Figure N

Figure O

9: Telnet ($1.99 US and rated 4+)

Telnet allows the iPhone to connect to standard telnet servers running Linux, BSD, Solaris, OS X, Cisco, or Windows operating systems. I consider this a must-have application. Throughput Inc developed the client and recently released several improvements. Figure P shows the setup page. Figure Q shows an actual connection.

Figure P

Figure Q

10: WifiTrak ($0.99 US and rated 4+)

WifiTrak scans for available Wi-Fi networks. The app displays a list of networks, prioritized from most usable (open and strongest signal) to least usable (secure and weakest signal). The application was developed by Bitrino, Inc. Figure R and Figure S show the ranking of available networks and specifics for the mjvn network.

Figure R

Figure S

Two more iPhone apps

Where are most device labels? On the back, of course. Instead of struggling to see the label, I reach around with my iPhone and take a picture. And being older, I find small print is getting tough to read. That’s where the iMagnify application comes in handy.

There are occasions when I wish I had a flashlight with me. While researching this article, I came across an app called Flashlight. It’s not perfect, but it’s better than the iPhone’s regular display.

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