The Dude Demystifies Your Network--For Free

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Geez, am I glad my editor asked me to review this freebie network enumerator and mapper. Since I'm an IT consultant as well as a reviewer, The Dude comes in very handy when I'm trying to map out a customer's network. Of course it shows icons representing the various devices on your network, but it goes beyond that. Hovering over an icon shows you the type of services available, recent bandwidth usage, and other important info. Right-click and up pops a context menu where you can ping, open the device by a number of means (ftp, http, terminal, and others according to the type of device), as well as make notes on the device for later referral.

Mikrotek provides a test network ( to connect to so you can see exactly what it does and the handsome way in which it shows you devices. As you might guess from its moniker, the program's language is network-geek and with a smattering of surfer lingo. Nevertheless, The Dude, along with a network primer, could be a pretty handy way to get yourself up to speed on the subject.

The Dude is just a toy unless your network is of sufficient complexity, and I did notice a few glitches such as not connecting devices on a PPPoE connected network--but they were all minor issues. For tech-ier types it's a must download.

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