Best Free iPhone Networking Apps: Top 10
Sometimes, a sysadmin on the go just doesn’t have time to load up their laptop (or worse, is caught without one!). All they have on them is their trusty iPhone; does the iPhone have what it takes to replace a laptop in a pinch?
Maybe, maybe not; this list of the best free networking apps, however, will certainly help you go that extra mile to making your iPhone a lean, mean, sysadmin-ing machine (and won’t break your budget, to boot!)
SSH is the bread and butter of any Linux sysadmin, but the iPhone don’t have the capability to SSH out of the box. Thankfully, TouchTerm is here to help us out – this free app gives your iPhone the ability to SSH just like a regular machine, and it lets you be connected and do all your command-line dirty work no matter where you might happen to be! Unfortunately, as of this writing, TouchTerm is no longer free. Still, the $3.99 tag is a small price to pay for the wealth of functionality this little guy unleashes.
2. RDP Litehttp://www.mochasoft.dk/iphone_rdp.htm
While SSH is all well and good for Linux environments, Windows computers rarely do things the SSH way; many Windows environments rely on RDP as a tool to manage computers remotely. This in and of itself is not a bad thing, but Microsoft’s RDP protocol is notoriously unsupported on almost any non-Windows device out-of-the-box, and as a result your iPhone may have more than a little trouble RDPing in natively.
Enter RDP Lite! Made by Mochasoft, this free iPhone app enables you to RDP in to any Windows XP / Vista / 7 machine that has remote desktop enabled and control it from your iPhone. It does a very good job at implementing the RDP protocol, and is a must for any iPhone-wielding sysadmin on the go!
3. Network Ping Litehttp://www.mochasoft.dk/iphone_ping.htm
Also from Mochasoft, this handy tool is a must for anyone trying to troubleshoot connectivity or figuring out the general lay of the land of their network. This app lets you ping individual IPs as well as ping an entire subnet, giving you a color-coded view of what’s working, what isn’t, and what isn’t connected anymore; on top of that, it has a basic traceroute function so you can quickly see how (if) your packets are getting to other subnets. In short, a must-have for any network admin!
This one might seem like it’s not related to networking at all; what does Dropbox have to do with your network? The answer lies in Dropbox’s ability to access files on-the-go and cache them for offline use; you can update your list of servers, for example, and pop them in a text file in your Dropbox folder. The next time you’re mucking about in the server room and need to know whether you named that new server ldap1, dc1, or superserver1, you can pull up whatever info you need to know!
This is, without a doubt, one of the handiest tools you can have. I despise calculating subnets by hand (and I am also, coincidentally, very bad at it). With this app, you can calculate netmasks, number of hosts, broadcast address, etc. and so forth (it even accepts CIDR notation!) with a simple slide of your finger, making it quite handy when you’re VLANing your network, setting up routers, or doing any other tasks that involve painfully calculating subnet-related information for your network!
Everyone’s favorite server monitoring system has just gotten an iPhone app! Nagios-Mobility allows you to hook in with your existing Nagios agents and check out stats on the fly; it has such statistics as uptime, load averages, memory usage, and all the other bells and whistles you installed with Nagios. Once you install the app on your iPhone, you must navigate to http://www.nagios-mobility.com/ and install their service on your Nagios server. This app is a definite must if you use Nagios to monitor your servers!
7. MySQL ODBChttp://www.totendev.com.br/
This nifty app hooks into your existing MySQL installs, letting you manage your MySQL databases, perform queries, and generally be a database wizard even when you’re out of the office and on the road! It’s got a great graphical interface, making the iPhone’s touch interface work for navigating your SQL databases! This app was designed to be almost as adequate as its desktop counterpart. The interface is extremely intuitive and easy to use. I pleasantly discovered that working with databases doesn’t always have to mean opening multiple query editors and having sizable desktop to create an acceptable development environment.
8. Mocha VNC Litehttp://www.mochasoft.dk/iphone_vnc.htm
Another Mochasoft entry, this handy iPhone tool is a VNC client that lets you control your remote servers. This is one of those apps that would almost be more appropriate at a jailbreak app stores like Cydia. I was quite impressed with how fast and slick this app was, letting me get into my VNC installs with very little hassle. It allows you to flip your phone to landscape and back, zoom in and scroll up/down just like you would with any mainstream iPhone app. This app is great for those servers that aren’t running RDP or Mac Remote Desktop (Linux GUI server admins, this is the tool for you!)
9. HTTP Testerhttps://sites.google.com/site/junguohttptester/http-tester-faq
This tool is a must-have for post-ping server troubleshooting! When a web server’s responding to ping but isn’t behaving itself, this is the tool to check out the problem in-depth. HTTP Tester can test HTTP requests against web sites, using either POST or GET with request data or query strings to make sure you’re getting the return data correctly (hugely useful for testing RESTful services on-the-go!). A must-have for any network professional looking to help troubleshoot their websites remotely.
10. Cisco AnyConnecthttp://www.cisco.com/go/anyconnect
For those network pros who need to get behind their SSL VPNs, this app is a must! While the iPhone sports L2TP/IPSec VPN out of the box, not every network admin is using an L2TP/IPSec VPN to get into their network; Cisco SSL VPN is a secure and very common way of setting up VPN on an ASA. This app allows you to connect smoothly and work behind your firewall with no mess or fuss!
And there it is; the best free iPhone apps for network professionals! All of these apps are useful individually, and perhaps just one or two of them is enough to alleviate whatever remote problem or puzzle you’ve been working on. Used together or in conjunction with existing infrastructure, however, they can truly help out your remote network administration tasks all over the board, making you into a truly formidable, on-the-go network pro!