Network or IP scanners are useful during network management, auditing, documenting, and troubleshooting. They probe the network and provide at least the basic details of connected clients, including IPs, MACs, NetBIOS (computer) name, NIC manufacturer, and open ports or shared resources. They also provide shortcuts to open or connect to the shared resources, such as shared folders, web servers, and SSH servers.
Some scanners provide additional functionality as well, including scanning for DHCP servers and UPnP devices and offer the ability to remotely shutdown/startup PCs and retrieve system stats.
Advanced IP Scanner
Advanced IP Scanner is a free Windows-based IP, port, and NetBIOS scanner from Radmin, which offers a commercial remote support solution. The scanner can be installed or ran portable but requires clicking through the license agreement each time.
You can enter IPs and multiple ranges to scan into a text field, with the ability to automatically insert detected subnets of the machines connections or the subnet of class C. Though you can’t select the exact scanning type or ports, it scans for the popular ones, including HTTP, HTTPS, FTP, RDP and shared folders. You can export main scanning results to XML, HTML or CSV.
Like other scanners you can launch detected shares and services, easily run ping, tracert, telnet and SSH, remotely shut down PCs, and perform WoL. You can also save desired IPs to a favorite’s list for easy access/management.
I found Advanced IP Scanner offers an easy to use tool with a user-friendly GUI, though lacking some advanced functionality you find in some other scanners. What makes it unique is the Radmin integration: you can quickly connect to PCs running the commercial Radmin Server for remote desktop, Telnet, file transfer, shutdown, and text or voice chat.
SoftPerfect Network Scanner
In addition to on-demand scanning, it supports live scanning for constant monitoring or alerting. Multiple IP ranges can be selected for scanning, including auto detection of current subnet, and filtering can be applied to scan for certain criteria. The extract scanning type (ICMP, ARP, and ICMP/ARP) can be chosen along with the ports to be scanned. Many other advanced settings can also be configured. Scanning results can be export to HTML, XML, CSV and TXT. You can also save the programs entire configuration.
It supports the typical scanning features, while including many unique functionalities as well. It features a convenient DHCP and UPnP discovery tool. It can retrieve any Windows system information from detected machines via WMI, such as currently logged-on users, configured user accounts, uptime, etc. It can also retrieve information from remote registry, file system and service manager.
I found SoftPerfect Network Scanner to be a feature-rich scanner which can also serve as a basic monitoring tool. Its advanced configuration, filtering, and discovery features make it a great tool for many uses. Overall it’s very user-friendly, despite having to download a separate database for NIC vendor detection of MAC addresses.
Angry IP Scanner
Angry IP Scanner (or simply ipscan) is an open source and cross-platform scanner, available as installer or portable. It runs on Windows, Mac OS X, Linux, and possibly other platforms as well.
It’s a very simple scanner but allows you to choose extract scanning types (ICMP, ICMP Echo, UDP, TCP, and UDP/TCP) and the ports. It includes only the basic features like launching detected shares and services and running ping, tracert, and telnet. It lacks other typical functionality like remotely shutting down PCs and performing WoL.
I found Angry IP Scanner to be a very simple scanner with limited features and not all that user-friendly. However, unlike most others, it’s cross-platform and supports a variety of scanning types.
You can enter a single IP range to scan, auto detect range, or select to scan via Network Neighborhood or Active Directory. It supports only ICMP scanning type but allows you to choose the port range to scan. You can also choose to scan for additional details like SNMP, WMI, Registry, Performance Counters, and Active Directory. Scanning results can only be saved in the CSV format.
It includes the typical scanner features like launch detected shares and services, running network troubleshooting tools, remotely shut down PCs, and performing WoL. Plus it allows you to remotely execute commands.
The scanning results are shown in typical fashion with a simple list of IPs and details of detected devices. However, it also sports a detailed view so you can easily browse the details of a selected device via the following tabs: General, Shares, Sessions, Terminal Sessions, Services, Processes, Software, Event Log, Accounts, Ports, SNMP, WMI, and Messages.
I found Network Scanner to be a relatively advanced scanner, most comparable to SoftPerfect Network Scanner, with a user-friendly GUI.