We recently reviewed and awarded an Editors’ Choice for an excellent IP Address management solution, Solar Winds IP Address Manager. While a robust and comprehensive way to manage IP addresses, IP Address Manager is expensive and may be too feature-rich an IP Address manager for smaller organizations that only need to keep tabs on a relatively few number of IP Addresses. For those organizations, Solar Winds offers a Free IP Address Tracker. Although offering nowhere near the functionality of the pay-for IP Address Manager, for smaller networks, it beats keeping track of IP Addresses on a spreadsheet.
What IP Address Tracker Does
Solar Winds free tool provides a unified view of an IP Address space. You can also perform some management options such as Ping, Traceroute, and Telnet, although using some of these tools requires an additional download from Solar Winds’ site.
It’s important to understand how the free IP Address Tracker differs from the pay-for IP Address Manager (IPAM) solution. Unlike IPAM, IP Address Tracker does not integrate with DHCP and DNS. You can’t get alerts for example, when a subnet has used up all available IP addresses, and you can’t schedule scans or get a look at the top 10 subnets with the most used IP addresses. All of these features are more favorable to larger networks in enterprises rather than small business, however.
IP Address Tracker will allow you to scan multiple subnets, will list all IP Addresses in the subnet(s), and will display if those addresses are used, available, or reserved. You can also manually mark IP address statuses for your own record-keeping.
Install and Configuring
I installed IP Address Tracker on a Windows 7 client machine. After install, launching the interface prompts for a user name and company name. IP Address Tracker, like many Windows applications, integrates with Windows’ local permissions. You can set IP Address Tracker to only open for the local admin account or for any users on the machine.
A Quick Start wizard assists you in adding a subnet. You get started by clicking the “New Subnet” button and entering a name for the subnet, the IP address, and subnet mask. By default, a class c subnet mask is already entered. The new subnet interface includes a subnet calculator, which calculates how many usable IP addresses are in a subnet as well as the first and last addresses.
After entering my subnet information and clicking “OK’ the interface started populating with my network’s IP address information. On my network, I have a few physical clients, virtual machines, a router, two switches, an Android phone and two physical servers. My information was displayed in seconds, although keep in mind that’s because I have few network devices and clients. A scan of a larger network may take longer.
Once the scan completes, each IP address is displayed in a columnar view—much like a spreadsheet. Additional information on each device with an IP address is gathered through a Ping request IP Address tracker sends to each network node and through SNMP. In my columnar view I not only saw the used and available IP addresses on my network, but the response time for each ping in milliseconds, whether the address is in use or free, the associated DNs name of the device and with networking hardware that had an SBMP community string configured, I saw the machine type and system name, for example, IP Address tracker correctly listed the model of an HP Procurve switch on my network.
IP Address Tracker’s interface lets you add information for each IP address. I was able to add comments to each IP Address—such as a note that one particular IP address is for a domain controller server.
The interface offers as much flexibility as any spreadsheet. You can filter views to display only addresses that are used, available, or reserved.
Right-clicking on any IP address pulls up a contextual menu. From it, you can mark an address as used, reserved, or available or launch one of the several tools such as Ping for network troubleshooting.
One handy item from this menu is the ability to launch a device’s web-based interface. A right-click on the IP address of my network’s router, gives me the option to “web browse.” This opens the web management software of my router. This is a useful way to manage your devices from one central starting point.
The IP Address Tracker menu bar has additional tasks for managing IP addresses. A scan button allows for initiating a scan of newly assigned or released addresses. There’s a button for establishing credentials and configuring the SNMP community string for supported devices. SNMP is a protocol for managing network devices and the community string is a string of text passes between a network management system and SNMP-supported devices. By default, most devices’ community strings are set to “public” which only gives a network management system read-only access to the device’s information, for security purposes. If you have configured a different community string on your network, the credentials button in the IP Address Tracker menu is where you can specify that string. Or, you can disable SNMP discovery altogether.
Of course, IP Address Tracker lets you import, export and print out the IP Address information it collects.
Ditch the Spreadsheets
Keeping tabs on IP address spaces is vital to keeping a network running smooth. While Solar Winds free IP Address Tracker is not as powerful as the paid IPAM solution, it’s still a great way to keep IP addressing organized, particularly for smaller networks without a lot of network devices and clients. Network administrators with plans to deploy Windows Server 2012 which features native IP address management, may find IP Address Tracker a beneficial addition to Windows’s IPAM for a comprehensive IP address management solutions. IP Address Tracker earns 4 out of 5 stars for networking utilities.
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|OS Compatibility||Windows Vista, Windows XP, Linux, Mac OS, Windows 7|
|Type||Business, Personal, Professional|
Copyright © 2012 Ziff Davis, Inc