Fri, 18 Mar 2011 iNet Pro review
iNet Pro is a thoroughly useful iPhone app for exploring your local area network
Like some advanced Tricorder, the iPhone makes a great handheld measurement device. And that can be for all kinds of data. But with its intrinsic networking features, it can serve as a great network analysis tool with the help of an app like iNet Pro.
iNet Pro is primarily a network scanner, especially useful in scanning through a range of IP addresses on a local network using its 802.11b/g/n wireless feature.
With your phone already connected to a Wi-Fi network, just tap on Network Scanner in the iNet app’s opening screen and you can pick up all the other devices also currently online.
For a typical home or office network behind a DHCP server, it would scan through, for example, the range of 192.168.1.1 to 192.168.1.254.
That scan took around 15 seconds in our tests. Then you’re presented with a list of all discovered devices, which are further tappable to see more individual details.
You can discover MAC address, visibility to pings, Bonjour services, as well as start a scan of that device's open ports.
From the Network Scanner list, you can view last scan, or get an overview of a longer history of scans on the same network, with red dots marking those devices no longer avilable.
You can also save single scans for future reference, or email them to yourself or colleagues for closer investigtion.
Back at the app’s first page, you’ll find various related tools: Ping, to ping a specific address and record latency times; Bonjour Browser, to list every zeroconf device on the network and its specific services on offer; Portscan, to scan a single device for open ports; and Wake on Lan, where you can store WOL favourites.
At the bottom of the app’s home screen are links to Device Info, for an overview of your iPhone or iDevice’s own network features and settings.
Finally, there’s the Settings for the whole app. Here you’ll find such features as Launch URLs, where you can setup a particular network service – such as ftp – to be passed to another app on the iPhone for connections.
It’s worth noting that even with default setup of iNet Pro, if a network applicance offers an HTML landing page, you can logon to it through iNet.
For example, most routers and NAS drives have a webpage-style configuration page, which is actually accessible directly through iNet. It can be a little slow compared to using Safari on the iPhone though, with some pages not rendering correctly or even at all.
iNet Pro is a relatively simple app to operate and browse, and a very powerful way to gain fast and precise overviews of what’s on your network, and what service and port are available.
We found one of the most useful assets the simple ability to see a flat list of all connected devices. Many network appliances announce their name over the network. And for those that don’t, you can readily enough edit their name, so that instead of seeing just ‘192.168.1.11’, for example, you can input a more telling name of the device.