There are numerous reasons why design agencies, educational institutions, doctor’s offices, and marketing firms, and various other organizations prefer Mac OS X compared to Windows and Linux.
The main reasons are the robustness and security features provided by Mac OS. This OS also requires less overhead and maintenance.
However, it isn’t easy to get a suitable network monitoring software for the Mac OS X platform because many commercial and open-source or free network monitoring software are not built for this platform.
Mac offers many native network management software for monitoring purposes, but many organizations are looking for software that provides more features and better support.
How do I monitor network traffic on a Mac?
Apart from the list of the top 10 best Mac network monitoring software, which is provided below, there is a way to use Activity Monitor Window to monitor traffic on Mac without any software.
The Activity Monitor App in-built in Mac OS allows you to monitor the traffic. In this app, click on the network or use the touch bar for the same.
A window will open with the following options:
- Packets in/sec, Packets out/sec: This is the speed at which packets of data are transferred per sec in or out of the network. It can be displayed in a graph.
- Data received/sec, Data sent/sec: The amount of information in bytes being moved per second is displayed here. It is also called throughput and can be shown in the graph.
- Packets in, Packets out: It depicts the total number of packets sent and received over the network.
- Data received, Data sent: This is the amount of information moved across the network in megabytes.
However, as discussed earlier, this tool does not provide extra features or support, so it might not be suitable for organizational purposes.
Why should I use Network Monitoring Software On Mac?
Many functions are going on in your Mac, some of which are innocent and essential; however, others might be the one responsible for the slow down and reduced security of your Mac.
This unessential software might contain malware spying on your network and monitor the data sent and received via other apps, entertainment applications, and even cloud interactions.
The monitoring tools can intercept and block these malware, thereby protecting your system. The in-built firewall in Mac OS is deactivated by default and can only protect users from incoming connections but has no control over the outgoing calls and requests.
The monitoring software can also monitor the network and hardware tasks on Mac which is a bonus.
How can I see all devices connected to my network Mac?
The monitoring tools provide you an excellent method to monitor all the connected devices in the network with ease.
This functionality is also in-built in Mac by using the “Ping” command that can be accessed via the command line or network Utility.
Go to Terminal inside Applications -> utilities or by typing terminal after pressing Ctrl+Spacebar. Here, type “ping” and your IP address with a subnet mask and hit Enter.
Your IP address and the subnet mask can be found in the TCP/IP tab in the Network section in System Preferences.
For example, suppose your IP address is 188.8.131.52 with a subnet mask as 255.255.255.0, then your ping command will be ping 184.108.40.206. This will show all the devices connected to your local network. But not all devices will respond to the ping depending on their port.
How do I monitor Internet drop on Mac?
The network monitoring tools available in the market for Mac OS can help you with monitoring internet drop using IP addresses.
These software use HTTP, TCP/IP, and SSH to observe devices in the network such as servers, switches, routers, etc.
Even non-standard devices such as cameras, heart monitors, manufacturing equipment, and software applications can also be monitored using network monitors.
Top 10 Network Monitoring Software For Mac
1. Radio Silence
Website: Radio Silence
Developed by the same developer who developed Mac Private Eye, Radio Silence can replace the private Eye and provides you with functionality to observe network activity and block unwanted connections.
It is a simple and effective tool that provides a transparent interface to view all the processes running on your Mac and the total number and specific methods in each application.
It uses helpers, in-memory processes, XPC services, executables, demons, etc., to perform the monitoring. It comes with a firewall to block or accept connections incoming and outgoing from an app.
This network monitor works on OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard and above, including Sierra and El Capitan. If you are using versions earlier than OS X 10.10 Yosemite, you will have to download the legacy versions of the software.
2. Little Snitch
Website: Little Snitch
Developed by German-based developers, Little Snitch is a commercial, slick, and user-friendly network monitoring software that can protect your network with its firewall.
Little Snitch will sometimes catch mysterious Mac OS X call-outs and ask whether you will deny or allow them.
In the older versions, you were expected to search those call-outs and then decide; however, its latest version comes equipped with a Research Assistant who performs this search for you and tells you what the process does and whether it is safe or not.
For every app and process, you can choose whether to allow or deny a connection. The tool will remember your selection, thereby reducing your worry about that call-out.
The software can prove to be a bit tedious at the first attempt as there are many apps and utilities making call-outs for all you will have to accept or deny.
After you have done these settings, the software will remember your selections and won’t bother you about them again.
Little Snitch is available for free, but its latest version is compatible only with Sierra. If you have El Capitan, Mavericks, or Yosemite, you will have to download its legacy versions.
This network monitoring tool is open-source and free monitoring software that can observe the network activity, CPU, memory, and disk on your Mac.
It is a basic version of iStat Menus with similar aesthetics, functionality, and features. This open-source tool can be used with older versions of Mac OS X.
The tool developers have claimed that MenuMeters is not compatible with OS X 10.11 El Capitan or above because the changes in macOS architecture enforces code signature restrictions like SIP security measures. However, tests have confirmed that it works with 10.12 Sierra or above.
4. SolarWinds MSP
Website: SolarWinds MSP
SolarWinds is an excellent network monitoring tool for Mac and PCs as it allows robust RMM for medium to large businesses.
Formerly known as LOGICnow, the SolarWinds MSP tool provides complete network monitoring control over mobile devices, Macs, and PCs.
It also offers backup and recovery, password management, mail protection and archiving, and threat monitoring services.
It is easy to set up. You also get functionalities such as Deep Duplication, WAN Optimization, and Altered data Tracking that offers secure data backup, which isn’t possible with iCloud.
Owned by Zoho, Site24x7 offers users to try the software for 30-days for free, after which the pricing starts at $9 per month, covering one advanced monitor and ten basic monitors.
Site24x7 allows users to do infrastructure monitoring and application performance monitoring for thousands of Macs, PCs, and websites in real-time at once.
This helps the DevOps team to troubleshoot applications and servers and efficiently observe the network infrastructure.
Its performance and monitoring abilities are impressive as it allows you to maintain applications, servers, real-time users, cloud apps, networks, etc.
The tool might not be the top choice for beginners and will prove overwhelming without experience in system administration.
6. Activity Monitor
Website: Activity Monitor
Activity Monitor is an in-built tool in the MacOS that is very effective for network monitoring due to its simplicity and monitoring abilities. It can manage network activity, resource status, application performance, and much more.
To access it, you need to search in the Mac spotlight for Activity Monitor, and you can view all processes currently running. The network tab shows the data packets being sent and received by the applications.
You can choose to quit any of these processes but first, make sure to search for them as they might be essential such as “netbiosd” or “apdsd.”
If you don’t want to use any tool and are comfortable using the Mac terminal, you can use the command “tcpdump” to observe network traffic.
For doing this, you will be required to be logged in as an administrator, and you must know how to read a trace packet.
This option is crude and requires technical know-how to observe your networks. So, for an average user with little knowledge about terminal and packets, you will be better off using an application that provides all the features you need.
Specializing in Apple devices, Jamf is the best monitoring tool for Mac users and is used by 8 out of 10 Fortune 500 companies as their network management software.
The software is easy to deploy, inventory, connect, and manage large and small networks on Macs and other Apple devices such as iPhones and iPads.
Depending on the size and need of an organization, the tool offers its services in three levels:
- Jamf Now: It is best suited for businesses without any experience in system administration and need of simplified network management software for Mac.
- Jamf School: It is built specifically to satisfy the school’s needs and other educational institutions with networks running on Mac and other Apple devices.
- Jamf Pro: It is best suited for IT Pros who work on advanced management and enterprise-level functionality and features.
It can manage up to 3 devices for free, after which the cost is $2 per device. You can try it for free before you decide to buy it.
9. iStat Menus
Website: iStat Menus
Like Little Snitch, iStat Menus is an easy-to-use and powerful network monitoring software for Mac that focuses on hardware performance.
With Little Snitch, you can get a 14-day free trial of the software, after which the pricing starts at $18 with a Single License and $25 for a family license. It can be upgraded for $9.99 and $14.99.
It can keep an eye on incoming and outgoing internet connections, ports, and other hardware tasks such as resource allocation, CPU usage, RAM usage, etc.
It summarizes CPU resource logs, detailed analysis of battery health, network monitoring information, and much more.
The tool is a good choice for those who only wish to monitor traffic data but don’t want to perform other aggressive functions such as blocking or controlling apps.
10. PeakHour 4
Website: PeakHour 4
PeakHour is a discreet network monitoring and diagnostics tool that allows mac users to conduct performance monitoring, internet connection performance, and other network diagnostics.
It comes with a 10-day free trial, after which you will have to pay $9.99 for a complete application that will allow you to control and perform complete network diagnostics on various apps such as video streaming apps like YouTube, Amazon Video, iTunes, Netflix, etc.
It is easy to set up and allows you to detect the router, measure internet speed and perform remote monitoring of your iPad and iPhone.
The monitoring tool does not offer advanced network monitoring or analysis, but it is excellent for troubleshooting app performance and internet connection.