There is a really cool app that turns your iPad (or other iOS device) into a network toolbox, and that app is named, appropriately enough, Network Toolbox for iOS. Not only is it chock full of networking utilities that can help analyze and troubleshoot a network, but it’s also a beautiful app, and one that is well in-line with Apple’s design aesthetics.
Support and Downloading
Network Toolbox for iOS, recently updated to version 2.01.01, is available in iTunes for $5.99. It’s supported on iPhone 3Gs, iPhone 4S, iPhone 5; third, fourth and fifth generation-iPod touches; and the iPad. The app is optimized for iPhone 5 and requires iOS 5 or later.
I installed the app on an iPad2. It was a quick and easy install, and the developer wisely displays a disclaimer message upon first opening the app: Not intended to assist with analyzing remote sites with the intention of breaking into or exploiting services on those sites.The warning makes sense. Network Toolbox provides just about every utility a would-be hacker needs to access a poorly secured network, as you will read about in the next section on the app’s features.
Features and the App in Use
After you close that warning message, the app’s home screen appears. The interface is clear and sharp. On the iPad, the design of the app looks gorgeous. There are 15 icons, each an individual networking utility. There are also five menu items at the bottom of the app’s display: Tools, which gets you back to this home screen no matter where in icon you are; Bookmarks, for quickly stashing and accessing information within the app; Resources, which provides help information; News, which provides updates about the app and developer; and Settings—, which gives you customization options.
Device is the first icon. Tapping it displays information about the device on which you have Network Toolbox installed such as hostname, IP address and other system information. I went into Resources to look for a user guide or some sort of getting started information. Instructions there recommend starting in Devices and first performing a network scan and then a port scan to information on your local network.
You can do this in Devices by clicking on an arrow button to the right of the shown device IP address. Doing so, pulls up another menu of options including: Copy, Bookmark, E-Mail, Domain Info, Scan Network, Ping, Scan Ports and more. Most of the utilities in this menu you can also access from the apps’s home screen.
I initiated a network scan by choosing the Network icon on the home screen. You enter the IP address range of the network you want to scan. It took a few minutes for the app to discover and display the 13 network nodes I have connected.
I then performed a port scan on the network by tapping the “Telnet/Ports” icon. The scan will look for any open ports on a network—great for keeping tabs on security.
SHODAN is another icon on the home screen. The SHODAN utility allows you to search for devices online by city, country, hostname, operating system, IP address, or port.
There is also a Map icon. This pulls up a very detailed map (similar to Google Maps) based on an address or latitude and longitude coordinates you enter.
Other tools on the home screen are “old-school” networking tools. One is an ICANN utility (ICANN is the organization responsible for handling IP address spaces and managing domain name spaces.) This utilty allows you to query a hostname or IP address. With the ICMP Ping utility, you can, of course, send a ping to an IP address or domain. Other tools include ones for connecting to FTP, Secure FTP, and make SSH connections.
There is even a file explorer utility which will let you manage and access file with a command line interface commands. This is because iOS is Unix-based and Unix uses shell command such as md (make directory)—commands that can be executed with the app’s file explorer. Because it’s command line-based, it’s a bit harder for novices who want to access their devices’ files.
A better option may be a dedicated, graphical file explorer app such as the X-Plore app, I looked at for Android. While X-Plore is only for Android, there are file manager for iOS in iTunes. Still, Network Toolbox’s file explorer utility is still beneficial, since iOS natively lacks such a feature.
As mentioned before, there are some customization options. Some include disabling screen rotation, showing the tools icon as a list, and turning on and off the start-up screen. You can also customize the tools that appear on the home screen. There are also a few security settings, such as enabling password hiding and setting a limit to or clearing the history list.
Resources is where you can find information as I did about getting started with the app and some light information about a few of the utilities. However, I would have like to see at least a blurb on what each utility is for, at minimum, at least a link perhaps to the developer’s website for a more detailed user guide.
Centralized, Networking Toolkit
Network Toolbox for iOS is well-designed and really turns an iOS device into a networking toolkit. It’s a one-stop, central console for many of the classic networking tools and utilities that have been around for quite some time. Network Toolbox for iOS gets four out of five stars for networking utility software on iOS and an Editors’ Choice for iOS networking apps.
|Type||Business, Personal, Professional|
Copyright © 2012 Ziff Davis, Inc