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Features / In Use - More

The second grievance was with inactive hosts. In the image below, you can see the second page of my network information list. If you notice the red arrows, you can see that I have some inactive hosts with the same IP addresses as active hosts. This is to be expected when using DHCP, especially if a host is turned off and doesn't request its previous IP address back.

The problem is that it appears that hostname information is sometimes confused between devices. An example is 10.1.1.31. We can see it's named "mediserver" in both the active and inactive hosts (this information was pulled from DNS). However, we can see the icon for the active host is a server with an ASRock MAC address, whereas the inactive one is an iPod with an Apple MAC. Similiar behavior is seen with 10.1.1.32.

Example of occasional hostname confusion within Fing and Fingbox
Figure 6: Example of occasional hostname confusion within Fing and Fingbox

However, the two other hosts with reused IP addresses, 10.1.1.35 and 10.1.1.40, seem to have correct hostnames associated. It may be that the two devices with incorrect hostnames did not initially resolve hostnames on the network and Fing later assigned them when they did resolve, albeit now to a different device.

I've mentioned using Fing on your mobile device to feed Fingbox, but for ultimate usage you'll probably want to install it on a local desktop or server to feed Fingbox. Overlook calls this a Sentinel on your local network and is probably the most powerful way to use it as it can constantly and automatically monitor the network for status changes. The Fing support site and Fingbox how-to site have some great examples of scripting usage, should you decide to go that route.

Be warned that the non-mobile version of Fing is more command-line based and nowhere near as polished as the mobile verisons. When I was testing alerting on disconnected devices, it took a little digging through configuration files to see when the next discovery was going to run. The Overlook documentation is fairly good in helping you sort that out. But it wasn't intuitive enough that I would have been able to figure it out without the documentation. In the future, I hope to see more of a GUI- based Fing for the desktop/server.

Closing Thoughts

I would like to see some Fing features such as Wake on LAN and port scan info added to Fingbox. But even without those features, I feel Fingbox provides value as is. It could be a valuable tool for an admin who manages multiple networks or isn't always in the same office as the network he or she manages. The alert-on-status-change feature provided with Fingbox is especially useful. It would be even better if I were given the option to add additional email addresses or pager numbers for alerts.

Overlook Fing is a comprehensive and quick network analysis tool for Android and iOS that belongs on any admin's smartphone. And Fingbox adds a new cloud element that can be very attractive for small offices. You could spend time writing scripts for many of the features Fingbox provides via the cloud. But Fingbox provides them in a friendly interface all laid out for you with little configuration required once your Sentinel is configured. Definitely worth a look.

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