TechTip: SolarWinds Free IP Address Tracker

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Use this open-source software to locate, manage, and track all IP addresses on your networks and subnets.

 

SolarWinds focuses on providing software to help its customers in the area of network management. Although the majority of the company's software is licensed and requires fees and subscriptions to use, they do offer a large list of free tools to the community, such as the free IP Address Tracker.

Installation

Unfortunately, IP Address Tracker can be installed and launched only from a Windows machine, so if you're running Mac or Linux, you'll need access to a Windows installation. To get a free download of the software requires creating a registration on the SolarWinds Web site. Once you get the latest version of the software, unpack and install it like you would any normal piece of Windows software.

 

IP Address Tracker relies on using SNMP across the networks to gather detailed information about hosts it sees. Machine types, system names, and locations of equipment are scanned with SNMP protocols. If you don't allow SNMP traffic or your hosts are not configured to use SNMP, please be aware that information reported back might not be as detailed. Consult your network administrator for more information. SNMP is not required to gather information about IP use.

Using IP Address Tracker

IP Address Tracker isn't intelligent enough to just start scanning your networks and subnets. You have to first create your subnet information. To create a subnet, type in a name for the subnet, the subnet address, and the network mask.

 

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Figure 1: Create a new subnet. (Click images to enlarge.)

 

Once you click OK to add the new subnet, the application will immediately start to scan the network subnet range specified. It sometimes takes a moment to register, so don't be alarmed if you don't see the tool doing anything for a few moments. As the application pings each IP address within the network, hosts will start populating the page.

 

 

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Figure 2: Your subnet scan is in progress.

 

As you can see, gray icons indicate available IP addresses, while yellow icons indicate used addresses. If you have SNMP enabled on the host, the machine type, system name, and location will be filled into the table with what SNMP reported back. Each line can be edited manually if you need to mark addresses reserved or clear details displayed. Simply right-click the address and make your selections.

 

If you have some of the other SolarWinds tools installed, IP Address Tracker offers a tools menu when you right-click an IP address in the window. Also, the option to change the displayed list is available on the right side of the screen. Display options are show all, used, available, and reserved IP addresses.

 

From here, you can add new subnets, export the reported results in CSV or CDF format, or create a new IP management database. To export the results to a CSV file, click the Export button. You can then choose the fields that you want included in the report. Once you're done, save the file; now it's ready to be opened in any spreadsheet program.

Managing IP Address Tracker

IP Address Tracker stores information in what it calls an IP Management Database. You can create and store as many or as few databases as you'd like. Basically, IP Management Database is only a file created for each database that stores all the settings and subnet information you entered into the tool. To create or open an existing database file, click on the File menu at the top. For small business networks and home use, you probably won't need to worry about creating many, if any, of these files.

 

The Credentials and Settings screen is where you can configure your SNMP strings used on the network, as well as adjust how IP Address Tracker uses PING and timeouts across the network while scanning. The SNMP discovery strings are appended to the list, so you can have more than just one string included in case there are multiple strings used across multiple subnets.

 

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Figure 3: Manage SNMP community strings.

 

The PING scanner settings allow you to change the amount of PINGs sent out for each IP address, the amount of time in milliseconds between each individual one, and the network packet timeouts. The defaults are listed in the figure below. Edit these settings based on your network preferences.

 

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Figure 4: Edit your PING scanner network settings.

No More Spreadsheets!

Although this tool doesn't seem very complicated and full of fancy features, it does one very important thing: it eliminates the necessity to manage and keep track of IP addresses within spreadsheets. And that excites me. I don't have a huge network at work; however, I do have five different subnets, so it's hard to determine what IP addresses are in use quickly. Now, whenever I need to put a new host online, I don't have to dig and wade through DHCP configuration files or spreadsheets that might not be updated. I can simply start IP Address Tracker and re-scan the subnet to locate a usable IP address.

 

With IP Address Tracker, you can see what addresses are free for use within a few minutes. Also, it may assist you in tracking down devices that you were unaware of being on the network.

 

Make sure you check out some of SolarWinds' other free tools that are available.

 

 

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