Network Discovery Tools

Layer 2/3 Discovery, Mapping, Inventory and IT Asset Reporting

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Discover, Map and Monitor Your Network in Minutes

Discover everything connected to your network from devices, servers, deployed software, Windows, wireless and virtual infrastructures and more. WhatsUp Gold features powerful Layer 2/3 discovery which can be initiated from an IP Range Scan or SNMP Smart Scan of a core router’s Bridge Table to generate a detailed map of your network from top to bottom – so you can focus on keeping it running securely and at peak performance.

Map, inventory, and visualize your network topology and interdependencies

Document and track all your IT assets with enhanced inventory discovery

Troubleshoot connectivity issues with Layer 2 Trace and IP/ Mac Finder tools

discovered-devices-list-1024x665 List of discovered devices

Discover Devices On Your Network

WhatsUp Gold uses a number of innovative Layer 2/3 discovery technologies–including ARP, SNMP, SSH, Virtual Infrastructure Management, IP addressing, ICMP and LLDP in combination with vendor-proprietary mechanisms – to discover everything connected to your network and build a complete and accurate picture of network devices and their port-to-port connectivity. Full or partial discoveries can be scheduled to run automatically or run on-demand.

network-map-1024x665 Example of a WhatsUp Gold Network Map

Visualize with Network Maps

WhatsUp Gold auto-generates integrated Layer 2 and 3 network maps that give you full visibility into physical, logical and virtual connectivity, including IP and VLAN-specific information. It dynamically updates its maps as changes occur in the network. Maps are easy to customize and manipulate so you can view your network the way you want. Learn more about network maps

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Assign Device Roles and Dependencies

At the completion of the discovery process, WhatsUp Gold automatically assigns devices roles that specify what data to collect and remedial actions that are enabled. You can easily modify default device roles and sub-roles or create new ones with the Device Role Editor. The discovery process also identifies dependencies that are marked on the map as directional arrows. With a couple of mouse clicks, dependency data can be used to suppress unnecessary alerts saving valuable troubleshooting time by minimizing false alerts.

network-asset-inventory-1024x665 WhatsUp Gold Asset Inventory List

Maintain an Accurate Network Inventory

WhatsUp Gold provides comprehensive network inventory and configuration information – supporting the reporting/ documentation needs of your internal business process (such as ITIL) and regulatory requirements like PCI DSS, SOX, FISMA and HIPAA. Since you can easily export this information in CSV or Excel formats, your entire team will know exactly what resources are on your network, where they are and how they are connected at all times – even when your network grows, your office moves or datacenter resources get consolidated.

installed-software-1024x665 WhatsUp Gold Installed Software Inventory

Manage Your Network Assets

Gather, filter and export a wide variety of inventory and configuration information across networking devices and systems.

  • Networking Devices Asset Information: Manufacturer/Model, Serial Number, Hardware/Software/ Firmware Versions, Chassis/Module Inventory, Power Supplies/Fans
  • Configuration Information: Interfaces, Bridge Ports, Switch Ports, VLANs
  • Systems Inventory: All available system component details (CPU, RAM, disks, etc.), OS version & patch information, any installed software packages, support for automatic update of warranty information (Dell and HP) based on integration with their support websites

If You Can’t Find It, You Can’t Fix It

Even if you think you know where the network issue is, diagnosing it is likely going to depend upon what’s connected to it. A complete network discovery not only gives you an understanding of what’s connected to your network, it puts it all in context. Hard-to-diagnose problems like wireless APs that keep dropping signal suddenly become simple fixes when it’s clear that too many users are trying to connect at once.

cant find cant fix

Who’s Connected? Should They Be?

Security should be one of the top concerns of any IT team and that means knowing what’s accessing your network and why. If you don’t know what’s connected to your network you aren’t going to be able to identify insecure devices like rogue wireless access points that someone has shoved under their desk. You need to know where network access can be obtained and how – and you can’t do that without discovering what’s connected at all times.

cant find cant fix

Did You Know?

Most system and network administrators have no idea what is actually connected to their network at any given moment. Modern networks have become much more dynamic and devices connect and disconnect from networks frequently. Users are constantly connecting laptops, cell phones printers, copiers, routers, switches, VoIP boxes, and other managed appliances. Guest and short-term contractors come and go unpredictably and require network access to do their jobs. Even devices like printers, copiers and wireless routers that should remain stable can be connected or disconnected by individual users for a myriad of reasons. And if you think they check with IT before doing any of this this, you’re in for an unpleasant surprise.


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Understanding Network Discovery

Download this eBook to learn why you should be running regular network discoveries, what you should be discovering, how to prepare for a network discovery, which tools you should be using.

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Discovery Protocols


Address Resolution Protocol (ARP) is a communications protocol used to map a layer 3 (network layer/IP) address to a layer 2 (data link/MAC) address. ARP builds and updates a dynamic database of IP to MAC mappings called the ARP cache/table. These entries typically configured with short Time-To-Live (TTLs) of ideally 15 minutes to ensure accurate information is constantly available.


The SNMP protocol allows the discovery engine to query detailed device information from each SNMP-enabled device. SNMP is the predominant network discovery protocol, with a majority of network devices being SNMP-enabled. The SNMP manager software, present in the network management solution, uses UDP polling to identify SNMP-enabled devices in the network.

Secure Shell (SSH)

Secure Shell is an UNIX-based command line interface used to securely access remote systems, and query them for detailed device information. It is the recommended protocol in a network discovery tool to discover UNIX and Linux systems.

IP Addressing

IP addressing is a major technology used in a network discovery tool since almost all network devices from routers, printers, managed switches, workstations and servers are assigned with IP addresses. Using these addresses, WhatsUp Gold can map the network interconnections, as well as gather detailed information about the devices.


Link Layer Discovery Protocol (LLDP) is a vendor-neutral one-way protocol, working at Layer 2 to facilitate exchange of device information between directly connected devices. Each LLDP enabled device transmits device information (device type/ID, port ID) on to its directly connected neighbors, which then store this information on management information databases (MIBs).


The Internet Control Message Protocol (ICMP) allows the discovery engine to test whether a particular IP address is active and responding on the network. ICMP is another protocol used to discover networks, and is widely used through the Ping network discovery tool. Ping sends out ICMP echo queries, and automatically discovers devices on a network by analyzing the echo replies from them.

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Learn more about device discovery.

What is network discovery?

Network discovery is the process of discovering and mapping devices on your network. Discovering network devices is the first step in mapping and monitoring your networked infrastructure. Keeping an up-to-date network inventory of hardware and software assets, physical and virtual resources, deployed patches and topology maps is only possible via automatic Layer 2/3 discovery tools.

How does it work?

Device discovery tools simplify the discovery process by using a variety of discovery protocols to discover and collect information about:

  • Physical assets such as routers, switches and servers
  • Software assets such as applications and operating systems
  • Virtual devices and networks
  • How everything is connected

Asset Inventory

WhatsUp Gold comes with the capability to create a complete asset inventory.
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Layer 2/3 Discovery

A device discovery tool should include both Layer 3 (devices) and Layer 2 discovery (port-to-port connectivity).
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Link Layer Discovery

Link Layer Discovery Protocol (LLDP) is a vendor-neutral Layer 2 protocol for heterogeneous networks.
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Topology Discovery

Topology discovery is the process of discovering and mapping network devices and links.
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