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10 must-have utilities for small networks

Make managing a network less tricky and confusing

If you have a small network at your business or at home, you could probably do with some help. These ten downloads - most of them free, and none of them expensive - will make managing your small network much easier.

Manage MAC addresses

Every device on your network has a MAC (Media Access Control) address that uniquely identifies it. Network administrators often must find MAC addresses - for a various purposes - and this important task is no fun at all. The next two downloads may not make the work enjoyable pleasure, but they'll help you wrap up MAC address problems more quickly so you can move on to other things.

Technitium MAC Address Changer
Have intruders slipped into your network, or are your security tools working well? Technitium MAC Address Changer can help you find out. Let's say that you use MAC address filtering to ban all devices from your network except those that use specific MAC addresses. You can use Technitium MAC Address Changer to give any PC a new MAC address not normally allowed in your network, and then see whether you can evade detection by your established network security and sneak onto the network while using the new MAC address. If you can't find a way to slip in, your network is all set. If you can, that should serve as a strong signal to you that it's time to update your security.

Find MAC Address
Another great MAC address tool, LizardSystems' Find MAC Address - free for non-commercial use, $30 (£18) for business use - scans every device on your network and then reports on their MAC addresses. It even finds mobile devices such as tablets. Use the tool first to create an inventory of MAC addresses for devices that you know should be on the network; then use Find MAC Address regularly to determine whether any unauthorised devices are using the network.

  1. Make managing a network less tricky and confusing
  2. Test network speed
  3. Manage MAC addresses
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