There’s nothing more tedious for a network administrator than to have to map out the network and then draw it in Visio or some other CAD software tool. Years ago all that was on the network were PCs, servers, and printers. Now you have UPSs, VoIP phones, wireless access points, PDAs, and more. Keeping track of your network resources can be a very a time-consuming task, but it’s a necessary task to help pinpoint network issues, find potential security holes, or even determine the cause of any sort of DoS attack, virus, or other intrusion.
Fortunately, Neon Software’s LANSurveyor v8.5 comes to the rescue. It not only automatically detects network resources, but it even places the appropriate corporate logos next to that detected node (Figure 3). Having the logos makes it easy to find all your HP printers, APC UPSs, Windows computers, Cisco routers, etc. It was even able to detect SIP-based VoIP phones! We couldn’t get it to auto-detect a few of our Linux servers, but in those cases, we just manually assigned a graphic. The graphic library is quite extensive and includes some of the more popular networking devices.
LANsurveyor not only makes quick work of documenting networks, it also scans for changes to the network. In our tests, LANsurveyor highlighted network changes, making it easy to see new devices added to the network. One very powerful feature is that you can monitor the network, look for a new node added and lock out the device if it is not authenticated (SNMP) or if doesn’t have the Neon Responder client piece. Thus, even if someone were to wirelessly log on to your WiFi access point, or plug into a network port, they wouldn’t be able to access your network resources.
The latest version lets you deploy the Neon Responder modules to client PCs very easily from Active Directory. The Neon Responders pushed out to client PCs/Macs are used to perform hardware and software inventory. LANsurveyor includes two standard reports for software asset management: Software Meter and Software Inventory. The Software Meter Report creates a list of running applications and processes. The Software Inventory Report creates a list of applications, Control Panels, DLLs/Extensions, Fonts, or Startup Items and their versions. These reports measure software license compliance or help to determine software upgrade needs.
Additionally, version 8.5 extends LANsurveyor’s network diagramming and reporting features by including router and switch port connectivity information, enhancing intrusion detection alerts, and adding XML access to software and hardware asset information. The diagram automatically created by LANSurveyor was well laid out, but if you require some fine tuning, you can move network nodes around. In addition, if you are comfortable working in Visio, the latest version of LANSurveyor lets you export to Visio.
Room For Improvement
There was only one ‘undo’ step, which made undoing a series of changes impossible. Thus, we’d like the program to allow for multiple ‘undos.’ You can view the processes of a PC but you couldn’t kill the process from this particular screen. We did find out later that you can kill processes remotely, but it was a different screen to do this. We’d like to be able to kill processes from either location.
Neon Software’s LANSurveyor v8.5 is the perfect utility to monitor your network assets, as well as report on your software and hardware inventory. Its ease of use made using the product a breeze. With its powerful feature-set and ability to detect just about any network device, including SIP VoIP phones, we give LANSurveyor high marks.
Return To The October 2004
Table Of Contents ]