A network monitoring tool is a piece of software that audits a network's performance continuously and alerts an administrator if a failure is detected. These tools range from simple programs that report whether a network is responding to complex software suites that provide automated responses and monitor multiple machines across a larger network.
The most basic form of a network monitoring tool is the ping command most operating systems provide. Entering the command and a network's Internet protocol address sends a query to the network. If the ping reports a positive response with the network, it indicates the time for response, data packet size and a time to live quantity, describing how long until the data packet is discarded. A negative response is indicated without being able to provide further details for the disconnection.
Network monitoring services that automate the processes of tools are configurable by interval and protocol. Intervals to check the network status range from once every minute to once every few hours. Protocols such as HTTP, IMAP and FTP are typically included. One such suite is OpManager, which sells a range of programs designed to monitor large-scale networks and alert system administrators via email or text and provide a smartphone app for network status updates.