Network monitoring

The list of  devices in our house that need an Ethernet connection in order to work, just keeps on growing and growing. There was a time (some years ago) where I knew the IP address of each device by heart, but I gave up on that some time ago.. currently, my local DNS contains over 40 hostnames; just try to remember those (all of them!).

The number of switches keeps increasing too; currently I have 5 of them. And what is the most likely cause of a network going down? Right, a switch that stops working – this has happened to me twice now; and at both incidents the power adapter was the cause. So it seemed like a good idea to start tracking all those network attached devices, so that in the case of a dis-functional network it would become much easier to locate the root of the problem; at least, I hope so 😉

Let’s start pinging all those devices! I found a nice Delphi unit that uses the standard Windows icmp.dll and the ICMPSendEcho function to ping an IP address and created an interface that would take care of periodically pinging all the Ethernet enabled devices and interfaces I had defined in my database and which were capable of replying to a ping.

The result can be seen here; a very basic page where I can see which Ethernet devices are on or off. Although ping is a very basic tool in itself, combined with a Domotica system you can do a lot of things with the information once you start logging them. I know the power consumption of most of the devices in our house, so now that I know when they’re being used or not, I can estimate their power consumption for example. Or I can issue an alert on the User Interfaces when the printer is on for more than an hour, cause in daily practice only a few sheets are printed and someone forgets to switch the printer off afterwards. Or I can send myself an SMS when a critical device stops responding to a ping. Or …

All new opportunities!

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