What is the Network Probe?
In ConnectWise Automate, a network probe is a service you configure on a computer with an Automate agent. The service has two primary purposes:
- Scan the network for any compatible computers that do not yet have an Automate agent installed. The probe can be configured to attempt to install the agent automatically on computers it finds.
It is worth noting that agent deployment via the network probe often gets blocked by local firewall rules or anti-virus due to the nature of it remotely executing an installer. Deploying the Automate agent via GPO is the most reliable way to deploy agents if that option is available to you. Here is a document from ConnectWise that covers this in more detail:
2. Scan the network for all other types of devices such as routers, printers, switches, etc.
The probe will grab as much information as possible about these devices to keep an inventory of the network. The probe service also supports SNMP trapping, which allows you to greatly extend its functionality and monitoring capabilities.
There can only be one probe per location in Automate – this is to prevent two different devices on the same network from scanning the same devices and creating duplicates.
Enabling the Network Probe
The first step is to decide which computer should act as the probe. In general, you want a computer that is reliable, almost always online, and can talk to as many nodes as possible. A Domain Controller is often the best fit for the role, but if the location does not have one, pick any server (or workstation if no servers are available) that are reliably online and able to see the entire network.
To enable the probe on the selected device, open the computer management screen by double-clicking it from the Browse tab. Across the bottom-right, click on the probe icon:
The network probe wizard will launch and allow you to select the features you want to enable:
If you are enabling “Agent Deployment”, an additional configuration window will launch:
This window allows you to create or select existing credentials to use to push the agent to new devices the probe detects. You can specify another set of credentials to use for Automate agent functions that require local administrator access under “Administrative Login Account”.
The “Enable Automated Agent Deployment” checkbox will have Automate automatically try to deploy the agents on any devices it detects that pass the agent readiness checks. Additional settings for agent deployment can be defined later.
This document from ConnectWise is very helpful for troubleshooting remote agent deployments with the network probe. We highly recommend keeping this bookmarked:
View Troubleshooting Link Here
After completing the wizard, a new tile on the Computer Management window will appear under the Automation tab (gear icon):
Clicking on this tile will bring you to the menu where you can configure many advanced functions. A few items worth being on your radar:
- In the bottom-left, there is a checkbox to “Enable New Probe”. A new version of the network probe was released with Automate v12 that expands its functionality. It is worth reviewing the documentation for the specifics:
View Document Here
- Under “Settings” and then the “Subnet” tab, you can define additional subnets to be scanned. By default, only the local network range of the probe is listed here. You can define other subnets the agent is able to reach for scanning here to make sure you are capturing even more devices:
- If you are setting up automated agent deployment, you can also configure the number of automatic attempts (1 - 5) before it will no longer attempt to push to a detected computer. This is done under “Settings” and then found under the “Deployment” tab.:
Now that scanning has been setup, you should begin seeing devices pop in under “Network Devices” on the “Browse” screen for this location:
Double-click on a device to see the information Automate can natively capture.
This is a very basic overview and guide to getting started. At this point, we hope you will be able to get some devices captured in Automate’s inventory and have Automate begin attempting automatic agent installs. It’s worth reviewing documentation to build off this foundation. Please use these documentation links as launching points for the next steps to get the most out of the network probe.
Network Probe Wizard (Overview, enabling and removing):
Network Probe Defaults (Covers default configurations, as well as the default and configurable ports that are used. Very useful for troubleshooting firewall rules that may be breaking probe functionality or agent deployment.):
Network Probe Overview Screen in the Control Center (Go into details on some of the settings from the Network Probe tile):
SNMP Trap Receivers Tab in the Control Center (A good launching point for beginning to work with SNMP in Automate):
Written by: Tom Zobl
ProVal Technologies - RMM Admin
Tom Zobl is an RMM Admin at ProVal Technologies helping MSPs get the most value out of their stack. He has 8 years of experience in the MSP industry and worked his way up through the help desk and running projects. Tom earned his associates degree in computer networking in 2022.