AIMultiple ResearchAIMultiple Research

Top 5 Network Traffic Analysis Software Based on 1.3k Reviews

Network traffic monitoring is important to improve performance and enhance security. Searching for the best network traffic analysis software (also network traffic monitoring software) can be challenging given the vast array of options in the market. Our vendor selection guide evaluates top 5 network traffic analysis tools based on the real user reviews.

Top 5 Software for Network Traffic Analysis

Vendors# of employees# of B2B reviewsAverage rating (out of 5)
Datadog6,1006754.4
Site24x73024494.6
Solarwinds NetFlow Traffic Analyzer2,5001374.6
ExtraHop RevealX660674.4
AKIPS1544.7

* Vendors are sorted in ascending order with respect to their average ratings.

Vendor Selection Criteria

We narrowed down our network traffic monitoring tools comparison focusing on three main factors:

  1. Number of employees: We looked at vendors with 15+ employees on LinkedIn.
  2. Number of user reviews: We included solutions with at least one user review from the popular B2B review websites (such as G2 and Capterra), as it indicates a level of market presence and user experience.
  3. Average review ratings: We selected the vendors with at least 4.4 points on average.

Review of Top 5 Network Traffic Analysis Software

AIMultiple team has reviewed 1,300+ reviews to identify pros and cons of each solution.

AKIPS

Pros

  • Users appreciate AKIPS for its extensive SNMP support across a wide range of devices, enabling thorough network monitoring. The system’s efficiency in polling devices, even in large networks with thousands of devices, is highlighted as a significant advantage.
  • The platform is recognized for its intuitive interface and relatively straightforward setup process. Training resources, including instructor-led Zoom sessions and pre-made videos, further facilitate user onboarding and utilization of the platform.
  • AKIPS’s ability to integrate with help desk software, along with its comprehensive default reports, is praised by users.

Cons

  • Despite its strengths, AKIPS is critiqued for its GUI, which some users find not as user-friendly, especially for non-technical individuals. The lack of a built-in network map and limited support for RESTful APIs without additional scripting are noted as drawbacks. Additionally, the documentation is described as scarce, and some users have experienced challenges in receiving timely support due to time zone differences.

Figure 1. Customer review on AKIPS

Source: Capterra1

Datadog

Pros

  • Users commend Datadog for its ability to offer real-time monitoring of network traffic, which is critical for identifying and responding to spikes, anomalies, or unusual patterns. The integration with communication tools like Slack for real-time alerts is particularly appreciated, enabling teams to stay informed and react promptly to network issues.
  • Datadog’s strength lies in its detailed traffic analysis capabilities, allowing users to monitor various aspects of network traffic, including source and destination data through the use of tags. This level of detail supports in-depth analysis and aids in understanding network behavior, troubleshooting issues, and optimizing performance.
  • The platform’s ability to integrate with various environments and services (e.g., AWS, Azure) enhances its network traffic monitoring capabilities. Users value the customizable dashboards and visualizations that Datadog offers, which make it easier to interpret data and gain insights into network traffic patterns and performance metrics.

Cons

  • While Datadog’s capabilities in network traffic analysis are extensive, some users note a steep initial learning curve and complexity, especially when setting up and customizing the platform for specific monitoring needs (see Figure below). This can be challenging for users who are new to the platform or those with limited experience in network traffic analysis

Figure 2. Customer review on Datadog

Source: G22

ExtraHop

Pros

  • ExtraHop offers extensive visibility into network traffic, including both on-premises and cloud environments. This allows for detailed analysis of security anomalies and application performance, providing users with critical insights into their network operations.
  • The platform is highly regarded for its sophisticated alerting system, which presents alerts with detailed information including risk levels, metrics, and packet captures. This facilitates efficient and thorough incident investigation and response.
  • ExtraHop is praised for its ease of deployment and intuitive user interface. Users can quickly set up the system and start monitoring network performance and security without a steep learning curve.

Cons

  • While ExtraHop delivers powerful network traffic analysis capabilities, it is noted to be resource-intensive and potentially costly to deploy (see Figure below). This could pose a challenge for organizations with limited budgets or those looking to minimize their operational expenses.

Figure 3. Customer review on ExtraHop

Source: G23

Solarwinds NetFlow Traffic Analyzer

Pros

  • Users commend SolarWinds NTA for its ability to provide detailed insights into network traffic patterns, including who is communicating with whom and the type of traffic (e.g., social media, streaming). The tool’s compatibility with NBAR2 for enhanced traffic categorization on Cisco devices is particularly noted, allowing for precise bandwidth and traffic monitoring.
  • The tool is recognized for its multi-vendor support, efficiently collecting and analyzing flow data (NetFlow, J-Flow, sFlow, IPFIX, NetStream) from a variety of network devices. This comprehensive flow analysis aids in accurate network monitoring and troubleshooting, contributing to reduced network downtime.
  • SolarWinds NTA is praised for its user-friendly interface and the conversion of complex data into easily interpretable charts and dashboards. This feature enables users to quickly grasp network anomalies, capacity utilization, and performance issues at a glance.

Cons

  • While SolarWinds NTA is highly regarded for its capabilities, users point out challenges related to the tool’s complexity in setup and configuration, requiring a certain level of technical expertise. Additionally, the cost of the software is mentioned as a significant concern, with the license fee considered expensive. Moreover, there’s a mention of limitations in monitoring certain devices, leading to feature requests that have yet to be addressed in product roadmaps.

Figure 4. Customer review on SolarWinds NetFlow Traffic Analyzer

Source: G24

Site24x7 Network Traffic Monitoring

Pros

  • Users appreciate Site24x7 for its straightforward setup process, which facilitates quick deployment and utilization of the service for monitoring network traffic and website health.
  • The tool is commended for its ability to monitor various user flows on websites, ensuring critical functionalities are always operational. This level of monitoring extends to network traffic, providing accurate data tracking that users find reliable.
  • The alert and notification system in Site24x7, especially regarding server failures, is highlighted as a strong point. This feature ensures users are promptly informed about any critical issues that could impact network performance.

Cons

  • Despite the positive aspects, Site24x7 could offer more features for its price point. The tool is described as feeling “lightweight,” suggesting that there is room for expanding its capabilities or providing more value to justify the cost.

Figure 5. Customer review on Site24x7

Source: Capterra5

Key Characteristics of a Network Traffic Analysis Tool

1- Real-Time Monitoring and Alerting

Real-time monitoring and alerting form the foundation of top-tier network traffic analysis tools. Leveraging artificial intelligence, these tools deepen correlations between network events, enabling automated alerts and potential auto-corrections to improve performance.

Machine learning-driven network traffic analysis observes operations across the network at multiple levels, offering a dynamic approach compared to static IP address monitoring and conventional security methods.

Proactive network device health monitoring is supported by the ability to set thresholds in network monitoring tools that trigger alerts before reaching critical conditions, facilitating fault prevention. Immediate insights provided by network traffic data visualization boost productivity by enabling quick responses and reducing the time needed to address issues.

To sum up, the benefits of real-time monitoring and historical data recording for network performance include:

  • Swiftly detecting and addressing network disruptions
  • Gaining insights into network performance
  • Mobile app support for monitoring on the go
  • Intelligent prioritization of alerts
  • Cross-correlation of data from multiple sources

These features equip IT managers to handle network traffic analysis more effectively while on the move.

2- Comprehensive Data Visualization

An additional defining feature of prime network traffic analysis tools is comprehensive data visualization. An intuitive GUI in these tools transforms complex data into simple and understandable formats, facilitating user navigation.

Data and trend visualization provide contextualized updates, pre-built dashboards, and easier understanding of network data, leading to quicker and more informed decision-making. Visual representations of network traffic data improve retention and engage users effectively, while increasing accessibility to complex data insights for a broader audience beyond IT professionals.

These visualization tools enable real-time monitoring of network traffic, supporting immediate awareness and proactive responses to changes in network conditions. In essence, comprehensive data visualization serves as a translator, turning complex data into a language everyone in your organization can understand and act upon.

3- Integration Capabilities

Integration capabilities also distinguish these tools from top-tier network traffic analysis tools. These tools achieve seamless integration with existing network infrastructures through multi-vendor compatibility and support for various protocols like SNMP, NetFlow, and WMI.

Such tools empower organizations to:

  • Centralize and streamline the management of various network devices and security systems
  • Integrate with security platforms like SIEM to enhance network security monitoring
  • Correlate traffic data with security events for faster threat detection
  • Improve operational workflows

The integration capabilities of network traffic analysis software are expanded through custom plugins and extensions, allowing for tailored solutions to meet specific organizational needs. Integrating network monitoring tools with existing infrastructure enables IT teams to leverage automation for network management tasks, reducing the need for manual intervention and minimizing human error.

Assessing Your Network Requirements

After pinpointing the prominent features of premier network traffic analysis tools, it’s crucial to assess your own network requirements. Regular updates to security and monitoring systems are essential to ensure the ongoing effectiveness of these tools in dealing with emerging threats and vulnerabilities while maintaining optimal network performance and security.

This evaluation is not a one-off task but a continuous process that should keep pace with the evolving network landscape. Your network is a dynamic entity, constantly changing with the addition of:

  • New devices
  • Users
  • Applications
  • Security threats

Consistently revisiting and revising your network requirements ensures that your network traffic analysis tools remain effective in meeting your network’s unique needs. This proactive approach helps prevent potential issues before they become significant problems, keeping your network secure and performing at its best.

FAQs

What is network traffic?

Network traffic refers to the movement of data packets between devices over a network, encompassing activities such as emails, web browsing, and file transfers. It is essentially the amount of data moving across a network at any given time.

Why is network traffic analysis important?

Network traffic analysis functions akin to a high-tech traffic cop, constantly monitoring incoming and outgoing data packets to gain insights into network performance, security, and bandwidth utilization. At the heart of this process is flow data, which encompasses information about the IP traffic flow through a network, serving as a cornerstone in network traffic analysis.
These tools help analyze network traffic patterns by identifying usage trends, discovering peak usage times, and finding potential bottlenecks in the network infrastructure. Such thorough observation of network traffic patterns establishes a baseline against which expected traffic patterns can be mapped for anomaly detection. And it doesn’t stop there.
Historical traffic analysis data serves as a predictive tool, contributing to forecasting future network demands and ensuring network scalability to meet evolving business needs.

What is the role of network traffic analysis in security?

The effectiveness of network traffic monitoring tools is displayed in their ability to:
Identify security threats by tracking and analyzing the patterns of traffic and communications within networks
Provide enhanced visibility into network operations
Identify security threats in areas often unequipped with sufficient monitoring, such as IoT networks.
Network traffic analysis tools, also known as network traffic analysis nta, offer a range of benefits, including the ability to analyze network traffic for:
Detection of typical security threats
Identification of sophisticated anomalies
Monitoring data traffic and patterns to identify potential vulnerabilities or ongoing cyberattacks
Detection of unauthorized activities
Swift identification of security breaches
Mitigation of DDoS attacks
These tools provide real-world applications that help enhance network security and protect against various threat vectors. Passive network traffic analysis tools act to safeguard your network, allowing you to focus on business priorities.

Does traffic analysis enhance network performance?

In addition to enhancing security, network traffic analysis contributes a pivotal role in enhancing network performance. It does this by:
Providing real-time dashboards to track user activity
Identifying causes of bandwidth peaks
Addressing growing network visibility challenges
Optimizing network speed
Handling bandwidth usage effectively
Insights gleaned from traffic data are instrumental in assisting with network capacity planning and managing network bandwidth bottlenecks. Moreover, identifying trends over time helps predict future needs and avoid performance issues. These tools deliver a significant return on investment by enhancing network performance, enabling effective security measures, and optimizing bandwidth through informed network management decisions.
An added advantage of continuous network monitoring is the ability to collect and integrate data with external tools, such as Elastic Stack’s flexible approach. This helps in:
Continuous data collection
Performance enhancement
Maintaining a high level of network health and uptime
Ensuring smooth and efficient business operations.

If you have questions or need help in finding vendors, feel free to reach out:

Find the Right Vendors

Transparency Statement: AIMultiple works with B2B tech vendors, including AKIPS. Vendors with links are among AIMultiple’s sponsors.

Access Cem's 2 decades of B2B tech experience as a tech consultant, enterprise leader, startup entrepreneur & industry analyst. Leverage insights informing top Fortune 500 every month.
Cem Dilmegani
Principal Analyst
Follow on

Cem Dilmegani
Principal Analyst

Cem has been the principal analyst at AIMultiple since 2017. AIMultiple informs hundreds of thousands of businesses (as per similarWeb) including 60% of Fortune 500 every month.

Cem's work has been cited by leading global publications including Business Insider, Forbes, Washington Post, global firms like Deloitte, HPE, NGOs like World Economic Forum and supranational organizations like European Commission. You can see more reputable companies and media that referenced AIMultiple.

Throughout his career, Cem served as a tech consultant, tech buyer and tech entrepreneur. He advised businesses on their enterprise software, automation, cloud, AI / ML and other technology related decisions at McKinsey & Company and Altman Solon for more than a decade. He also published a McKinsey report on digitalization.

He led technology strategy and procurement of a telco while reporting to the CEO. He has also led commercial growth of deep tech company Hypatos that reached a 7 digit annual recurring revenue and a 9 digit valuation from 0 within 2 years. Cem's work in Hypatos was covered by leading technology publications like TechCrunch and Business Insider.

Cem regularly speaks at international technology conferences. He graduated from Bogazici University as a computer engineer and holds an MBA from Columbia Business School.

To stay up-to-date on B2B tech & accelerate your enterprise:

Follow on

Next to Read

Comments

Your email address will not be published. All fields are required.

0 Comments