Network Performance and monitoring


I seem to be having some network problems and i'd like to be able to see whats going and be able to understand it.  Can anyone suggest any network monitoring tools or point me in the right direction pls.

My network consists of a 48 port Layer 2 unmanaged switch 10/100 autosensing with 2 gigabit ports  1 Draytek Vigor 2600 adsl router. 2 x w2k3 servers, 1 running exchange 1 acting as an application and file server.  with 35 XP pro clients.

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You could use Ethereal.

It is realitively easy to setup, and it is very important to be able to watch trends on the network.

Ethereal is an excelent start, and will probably be more effective helping you to deal with any current issues.  Cacti give you more of a birds eye view, and can alert you to problems before they become serious.  Also, if your issues are intermittent, this is an excellent tool as it is monitoring the network 24/7
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JCSUKAuthor Commented:
Thanks for the speedy response.

Ok so where is the best place to run/install the software?

On a desktop pc or my server?

Thanks again/
If you have a patch cable from your ADSL modem to the switch then you should be able to run ethereal from any machine that is connected to that switch.
If you want to start off with Performance Monitor that already "built-in" to all  Microsoft OS as an easy start. And it has a lot of specifics that you can employ to monitor.  As you determine what you want to quantify you can start branching out to the specific features you want in the products you wants.  I believe that the above mentioned ethereal has a free trial offer on their site so there is no out-of-pocket costs.

If you are interested you may be looking for products that have SNMP capabilities, this may help to unify your monitoring tasks.  Sorry,  I can't recommend any cost effective products for monitoring, we use NetIQ and HP OpenView which tend to be $$$.

Later, in your next step, you may want to look at managed switches. (its more for the remote management capabilities)

Ethereal is a great option for network monitoring, provided that you know how to use it.  Since you are in a switched environment, in order to get the utmost functionality from the program, you would need to put a hub, between your switch and your router and plug a laptop or other computer into the hub, that way you can capture all of the traffic.
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