7 Free Network and Internet Tools
Need to troubleshoot your network, manage your downloads, get a free alternative beside Adobe Reader?
This free tools will help you with your home or business network for accessing the Internet, help with troubleshooting, help with downloading and with security. And it's free for your Windows.
The simplest of all Internet tools is the humble ping command, which lets you use the command prompt to contact a Web site and see if it is alive and responds to your ping request. It also resolves host names to IP addresses--in other words, if you issue the command ping www.pcworld.com, it will tell you the site's associated IP address. And it also tells you the speed of the connection and response. It also lets you ping multiple Web sites simultaneously, will ping the sites on any schedule you set, and displays the results in a graphical interface, rather than in a command prompt.
2. VisualRoute 2008 Lite
This program displays the route you take to contact a Web server or other Internet device--every hop on every server or router along the way, plus the server's or router's IP address, and how long it takes to get to each one and all that in a visually appealing way, not just through the command line. It shows a map of every hop, and graphs it against a background that shows response times. Highlight any hop, and you'll see important details, such as packet loss and speed.
Note: This version of VisualRoute is free, but a variety of for-pay versions is also available, with many extra features that display the network names of devices, test DNS services, and more.
Download VisualRoute 2008 Lite
3. Foxit Reader
Foxit Reader is a far better solution than Adobe Reader. It's small and loads much faster, so it doesn't take up much
memory when you use it. It also doesn't seem to suffer from the same instability issues as does Adobe Reader. The program has some nice extras as well, such as the ability to embed comments.
Note: When I installed the program, it integrated directly into Internet Explorer as the default PDF reader, but it didn't similarly integrate into Firefox. To make it the default in Firefox, you'll have to select Tools, Options, and then click the Manage button in the File Types area. Double-click each of the files that Adobe Reader opens, and tell Firefox to use Foxit Reader instead.
Download Foxit Reader
4. Advanced LAN Scanner
Use this applications for everything from troubleshooting Internet connections, to network configuration, to making sure your PCs are as safe as possible when they're on the Internet. When you first run the program, you may encounter an error message, saying that a default configuration is being used. You can safely ignore that message. Simply click the scan button, and it goes to work. It looks across your network, finds all PCs on it, and then gives you quite a bit of detail about each. Besides the local IP address of each PC, you'll also find which ports on each PC are open. Armed with that information, you can use a firewall to close them down.
In addition to open and closed ports, you'll see lots more information, such as what services are running on each PC, the NetBIOS names (if any) associated with each, and even a list of users and groups on each system. If any machines have shared folders, you'll see those as well. All this data is immensely useful to those who want to keep their PCs secure, or need to troubleshoot networks or Internet connections.
Download Advanced LAN Scanner
It's a great download manager that will speed up the process, keep you safe, and help you organize everything that you've downloaded. Flashget makes downloads faster by using multithreading, and it lets you find downloads via many different protocols, including HTTP, FTP, eMule, and others. It's also terrific at file management, showing you all the files you've downloaded, including information about each. You'll even be able to delete downloaded files from directly in the program.
Making it even more useful is that it integrates with your browser, so whenever you download, it jumps into action. It will also pause and resume downloads, and works with your antivirus software to scan for viruses as it downloads.
FileZilla is an excellent FTP client that combines simplicity with a robust feature set (it has just about every FTP feature you could need), and its interface is easy to use. You can download files from FTP server or you can use it to upload files to your web hosting.
7. Bandwidth Monitor 2 Lite
Here's a simple, easy way to check on your current bandwidth use--both uploading and downloading--and also to track your usage over time. This freebie displays that usage in a constantly changing chart, so you can see the fluctuations in real time. It also shows you the current bandwidth use in a text display.
Bandwidth Monitor Lite is quite customizable--you can, for example, skin it, change the time span in which it measures bandwidth, and so on. Also very helpful is that it will keep logs of your bandwidth usage, so you can make comparisons over time.
Download Bandwidth Monitor 2 Lite