What is port monitoring?
Monitoring the ports in your network is always beneficial in terms of bandwidth usage and security. Since all data packets travelling through a network are sent and received via a port, port monitoring reveals the actual data traffic and bandwidth usage in your network.
A suitable port monitoring tool offers bandwidth monitoring technologies like SNMP, Flows (NetFlow, IPFIX, sFlow, jFlow), Packet Sniffing, and/or WMI, and provides detailed statistics for bandwidth planning. Moreover, it helps you watch ports' states to identify potential security risks caused by (accidentally) open ports.
Port Protocols: Definition, Traffic, Security
A port is a part of the network address and ensures the proper distribution of connections and data packets. Valid port numbers range from 0 to 65535. Many applications use typical or standardized ports (“well-known ports”), which are usually registered with the IANA. These include FTP (port 20), SMTP (port 25), and SNMP (port 161). These ports are used primarily by protocols such as the Transmission Control Protocol (TCP) and User Datagram Protocol (UDP).
Many administrators search for port monitoring software to monitor the traffic that runs through their routers and switches, and the amount of bandwidth that is consumed. What they really need is network monitoring software. PRTG comes with a number of advantages: it is an all-in-one monitoring software and monitors the traffic on your devices with SNMP as a means of monitoring bandwidth, and it offers the technologies of flow protocols (including NetFlow, IPFIX, jFlow, and sFlow) and packet sniffing
Open ports put your network at risk. They are used, for example, to introduce Trojans. While it is true that many administrators are highly security-oriented, it takes a superhuman effort to constantly check which ports are open and which are closed. Often ports are opened temporarily for individual applications and then forgotten. In such cases, PRTG checks if TCP/IP ports are open or closed and keeps administrators up-to-date by way of a built-in, customizable alarm system.
A quick introduction to PRTG:
Decision time: Individual port monitoring software or an all-in-one solution?
Isolated applications: While searching for port monitoring software, you are bound to stumble across a number of isolated software applications such as CurrPorts or Port Scan. In the short term, such solutions are perhaps not all that bad. However, they tend to make monitoring complex and confusing. Those opting for several isolated applications have to live with higher maintenance costs and often limited features. Therefore, it is extremely difficult to keep a constant eye on your network.
Advantages of PRTG: With PRTG, you get one central monitoring tool for your entire network. The trial version is free of charge, including all its sensors and functions. You will thus gain a complimentary and risk-free glimpse into our software, and can even set up port monitoring and collect some initial data. Upgrade whenever you like.
5 reasons why PRTG is the right tool for you
All in one
Whether SNMP, packet sniffing, or NetFlow: All standard monitoring protocols are included. The notification system is also part of the overall package. Get started with a central monitoring tool that works on your entire network – and finally enjoy some peace of mind as you concentrate on your other tasks. Many administrators use PRTG because they wish to do away with their “hodgepodge” of monitoring tools.
For nearly 20 years, Paessler AG has been fully dedicated to the development of its PRTG monitoring software in order to offer the perfect network monitoring tool. Today, more than 200,000 administrators worldwide put their trust in our monitoring software for the monitoring of their networks and traffic.
PRTG comes with extensive support. We aim to resolve every support inquiry within 24 hours (on business days). Our knowledge base contains a number of concrete application tips. You will find answers to many of your questions there. Our manual also contains instructions for every sensor.
PRTG lets you create your own customized reports. Thanks to these reports, you can study the evolution of bandwidth, system load, and many other parameters over the course of months or years. This will help you with the long-term planning of your network infrastructure. You can also detect load peaks and react to them quickly.
PRTG comes with a built-in notification system. This alarm is entirely customizable. You will only receive a notification if an error occurs. At the same time, the alarm can be configured in such a way as to provide prompt alerts – before larger problems or system failures arise.
The right sensors for monitoring your ports and traffic
i NetFlow is a protocol for collecting, aggregating and recording traffic flow data in a network. NetFlow data provide a more granular view of how bandwidth and network traffic are being used than other monitoring solutions, such as SNMP. NetFlow was developed by Cisco and is embedded in Cisco’s IOS software on the company’s routers and switches and has been supported on almost all Cisco devices since the 11.1 train of Cisco IOS Software. Read more ...
- SNMP Traffic Sensor: The SNMP Traffic Sensor monitors data traffic on your routers and switches. Find out more about the SNMP Traffic Sensor.
- Packet Sniffer Sensor: The Packet Sniffer Sensor monitors data packets according to types of traffic (mail, FTP, Citrix, chat, etc.). Find out more about the Packet Sniffer Sensor.
- NetFlow V9 Sensor: With the NetFlow V9 Sensor, you can monitor your Cisco hardware using NetFlow technology. Also available in V5 or IPFIX. Find out more about the NetFlow V9 Sensor.
- NetFlow V5 Sensor: The NetFlow V5 Sensor receives traffic data from a NetFlow v5 compatible device and shows the traffic by type. Find out more about the NetFlow V5 Sensor
- sFlow Sensor: The sFlow sensor only analyzes header traffic and has serveral filter options available to divide traffic into different channels. Find out more about the sFlow Sensor.
- jFlow V5 Sensor: The jFlow V5 Sensor monitors data traffic according to types by analyzing the header traffic. Find out more about the jFlow V5 Sensor.
- IPFIX Sensor: The IPFIX Sensor receives traffic data from an IPFIX compatible device and offers several filter options to divide traffic into different channels. Find out more about the IPFIX Sensor.
- Port Sensor: The Port Sensor monitors a network application by connecting to the respective TCP/IP port. It can also perform Telnet commands. Find out more about the Port Sensor.
- Port Range Sensor: The Port Range Sensor monitors a range of ports and indicates whether these ports are open or closed. Find out more about the Port Range Sensor.
- Discover 195 more sensors in our sensor list. Our free trial version comes with the full selection of PRTG sensors. You can use this version to try all PRTG features.
Which ports does PRTG use?
PRTG needs certain ports to function properly. As an administrator, you will have to free up these ports. You will find an initial overview below. You can also find out more in our Knowledge base article: „Which ports do I need for PRTG?"
- Web server: The web server requires TCP ports 80 (HTTP) and 443 (HTTPS), and uses fallback ports 8443, 32000+ (HTTPS), and 8080 (HTTP).
- Reports: Have reports sent as PDF files. For this, port 8085 is required.
- Auto-Update and Activation: Port 443 is required for Auto-Update and Activation
- Update Check und Download: Port 80 is required for Update Check and Download.
- Active Directory Integration: Here, ports 389 (TCP and UDP) and TCP 636 (SSL-secured) are used.
- Remote Probes: Port 23560 is required for the connection between remote probes and the core server.
- Cluster: Communication amongst cluster nodes takes place via port 23570.
- PRTG Cloud: TCP port 443 is used to access the PRTG Cloud (e.g. for push notifications and the Cloud Ping and Cloud HTTP sensors).
- SNMP: For SNMP, UDP port 161 is used.
John Krull, CTO, Oakland Unified School District, USA
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Practical tip: Hey Daniel, do you have any port monitoring tips up your sleeve?
“With routers, switches, hubs, and bridges, your network has a great deal of ports which potentially need to be monitored. I would therefore recommend creating at least one active sensor per port on each of your central network components. By doing so, you should be able to monitor all of a network device’s active ports, as well as its CPU and RAM. On the other hand, for those network components which are not so vital, it is often sufficient to use paused sensors instead of actively monitoring every port.”
Daniel Elsner, PRTG Product Development
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With PRTG, you get one central monitoring tool for measuring bandwidth and monitoring your ports. Enjoy a quick overview of your entire network via our dashboard and app.
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PAESSLER AG –
Made in Germany: The PRTG Network Monitoring Tool is the fruit of a dedicated, international team. The company was founded by Dirk Paessler. PESSLER AG's headquarters are located in the city of Nuremberg, in the heart of Germany.
A quick overview: PRTG provides a quick overview, whether on your desktop or as an app on your smartphone. An individually configurable dashboard features every key stat in the form of an easy-to-understand graph, so you can always make sure your network is running smoothly.
Easy configuration: Our Smart Setup guarantees a quick and easy setup. During configuration, PRTG will ping your network and create appropriate sensors, saving you a great deal of time. Furthermore, switching from other software such as Nagios is relatively quick and easy.
Outstanding support: Our support team strives to resolve inquiries within 24 hours (on business days). Discover a wide selection of videos, webinars, and instructions in our knowledge base. Our manual is also an excellent resource.
Getting started is easy: The trial version is for free, allowing you to evaluate our monitoring tool with no strings attached. To upgrade, simply search for a suitable license. You can modify your license any time you like.
Bandwidth: How can I measure my bandwidth? How can PRTG help in difficult situations? How can I use PRTG to test my bandwidth? Find the answers to these and many more questions on our Bandwidth Monitoring page.
Sensors: The concept of sensors is a central part of PRTG. In this four-minute video, you will get a basic idea of how sensors work and how best to use them.
LAN Monitoring: Whether LAN, WAN, or distributed networks: With PRTG, you get a constant overview of your entire network. The LAN Monitoring page provides information on the five pillars upon which this monitoring rests.