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LANsurveyor for Windows 10.0

  • Editors' rating
    8.3 Excellent

Pros

  • Creates network topology database
  • Performs multi-level discover
  • Reports hardware and software assets
  • Detects & blocks unknown network nodes
  • Creates maps in Microsoft Office Visio

Cons

  • Runs on Windows and Mac OS only

IT infrastructure needs to respond to changing business requirements, and generally becomes more complex and dynamic in its design over time. This makes the discovery, documentation and visualisation of the network in real time ever more difficult. Complete and accurate network infrastructure documentation is a critical tool for network engineers these days — keeping the network map on a whiteboard just doesn't cut it anymore.

LANsurveyor for Windows is an extremely useful piece of software that automatically discovers and visualises everything on the network (including desktops, servers, printers, hubs, switches and routers), making it easy for IT managers to study the entire setup.

LANsurveyor uses industry-standard identification and discovery methods (ping/ICMP, SNMP, SIP-based VoIP, NetBIOS and more) to scan IP address ranges and find nodes. Once network nodes are discovered, LANsurveyor compiles the information into a cohesive, easy-to-view network map with node icons and coloured lines representing network connectivity speed. The program leverages multiple discovery methods to provide an integrated OSI Layer 2 and Layer 3 topology map that can include: IP address; MAC address; last logged-in user; DNS name; node name (determined by SNMP or other client protocol); switch port connection.

The new version of LANsurveyor provides explicit support for Microsoft Windows Vista including registry, user folder and application folder requirements. Neon Software — now owned by SolarWinds — has been working closely with Microsoft to create a version of LANsurveyor that complies with Vista's new data and security requirements for application and user data. LANsurveyor 9.7 and above meets all of Vista's requirements and automatically upgrades pre-9.7 installations. When you upgrade to or install LANsurveyor 9.7 (or 10.0, reviewed here), application settings, log files and configurations are installed or copied to the 'All Users' folder, where they will be maintained from this release on. This change will make backing up key LANsurveyor files and/or moving LANsurveyor to a different computer much easier in the future.

The default 'free' SQL database will change from MSDE (Microsoft SQL Desktop Engine) to SQL Server Express. Although this will not affect current MSDE repository installations, LANsurveyor users who upgrade to SQL Server Express can take advantage of the additional capacity now supported (up to 4GB from 2GB). LANsurveyor also supports Microsoft SQL Server for larger installations, or as a central data repository for multiple copies of LANsurveyor running simultaneously on different network segments.

LANsurveyor offers a few major key benefits. Perhaps most important is that it facilitates network fault monitoring: network topology information integrated into performance and fault monitoring enables correlation of events, providing a clearer picture of root-cause of network problems. It can also be used for compliance: real-time discovery and documentation of network assets provides accurate reporting for internal or regulatory requirements, as well as configuration management. Reliable network asset and topology information becomes a trusted data source for emerging configuration management database (CMDB) initiatives. Finally, real-time identification of network topology changes or new network components provides the opportunity for security policy enforcement.

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This latest release of LANsurveyor includes more than 100 features and enhancements, helping to make documenting network infrastructure, passing network audits and securing networks even easier. Using a LANsurveyor diagram as a baseline, Continuous Scan automatically updates the diagrams and topology database with newly discovered systems. This enables network engineers to keep a consistently accurate representation of the enterprise for visibility, troubleshooting or compliance requirements. Also welcome are new automated discovery options, including support for SNMPv2c, SNMPv3, Active Directory Domain Controllers and multiple, disconnected network ranges on a single diagram.

LANsurveyor can now automatically generate up-to-date, time-stamped Visio diagrams to match the current infrastructure (this requires an extra add-on, costing £299). In addition, Visio diagrams now use SmartShapes to store node information within the Visio diagram itself and allow integration with other software, including Microsoft Excel and MBSA. Even more accurate switch-to-switch connectivity is obtained with Spanning Tree support, while multiple user interface enhancements combine to make LANsurveyor 10.0 easier to use and topology diagrams even better, including a new Map Filter interface to display the desired groups of systems, new icons and customised map information displays.

When network activity exceeds a LANsurveyor threshold you've set, it sends email, Windows Messaging alerts and SNMP traps (to OpenView, for instance) to notify an appropriate administrator of the problem. LANsurveyor can also page you, insert entries into a syslog and, for problems susceptible to automatic correction, let you remotely launch a computer program. Its thresholds are sophisticated enough to let you specify that you want to be alerted only if available bandwidth falls below a certain percentage during the workday, or that alerts should be directed to a separate set of people on the weekend.

LANsurveyor 10.0 for Windows is particularly appropriate for IT managers at small and medium-sized enterprises, as it will definitely help IT managers keep track of network changes. Within minutes of installing the console and several Neon Responders (optional agents that provide much of the product's utility), you should be able to get basic inventory and status data on machines on your network. Overall, LANsurveyor impresses as a workmanlike set of tools for IT professionals who know what data they want, and require a logical way of extracting it.

 

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