There are so many free network scanners out there and I am sure you already have one in your toolbox. However, I think SoftPerfect Network Scanner is worth a look, if you are a Windows administrator. The tool has some features that most other free scanners lack. For example, you can retrieve information about available network shares or OS information, and send WMI queries (if you know WQL). Usually, only network inventory tools have such features.
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It is convenient to have such Windows-related functionality in a network scanner. If you are scanning your network for open ports, it is useful if you can see what shares are available for a specific account. You can also access the shares from within the tool. By the way, to scan a port range, you have to separate the port boundaries with a hyphen: 1-1024. SoftPerfect Network Scanner’s interface isn’t clear about that. Aside from that, the tool is easy-to-use.
What I like about this scanner is that it can display MAC addresses even across routers. You probably know that this information isn’t included in TCP/IP packets. Therefore, I suppose this feature also only works for Windows machines.
Other interesting features of SoftPerfect Network Scanner are the support of Wake-on-LAN and SNMP. You can also launch external third party applications by passing the IP address, MAC address, and share name.
The only thing I didn’t like about the tool is that it takes quite some time if you want to cancel scanning. I wonder why stopping a command requires that much time.