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What is Network Monitoring?

Electronic wires

May 12, 2023

Network monitoring is also known as network management, and is the process of constantly monitoring and examining a network to find failures or defects as soon as possible. The process involves examining every single part of the network, from individual network switches to large-scale routers, as a means of discovering the cause of an issue as soon as feasibly possible.

 

Types of Network Monitoring

 

There are a few different types of network monitoring that organisations use, with each providing unique insights for a company and guiding them towards solutions. Some of the main types of network monitoring that companies use include:

 

Flow-based Monitoring

Flow-based monitoring focuses on processing real user data and creating large-scale statistics about the protocols and users consuming data from an organisation. Generating these statistics doesn’t provide organisations with a device-by-device perspective over the system, but it is informative of which users are downloading less and provides clear patterns that you can look for when troubleshooting.

 

Active Monitoring

Active monitoring is the process of individual members of staff looking at the network on a device-by-device basis. This is one of the most stringent forms of network monitoring and involves having a live view of the connection health of all the equipment in a company’s digital infrastructure. Monitoring devices actively takes a significant amount of time and attention, meaning that this is only a common option for organisations with a heavy reliance on their connectivity. Network monitoring actively costs a lot of money too, making it inaccessible for a lot of companies.

 

Managed Service Provider

For a business, using a managed service provider is a more passive approach. A Managed Service Provider, or MSP, is an organisation that supports and provides all (or some) of a company’s IT services on its behalf. These providers keep track of a range of metrics, such as the download speed of individual devices, and ensure that everything is running as expected, providing a solution for the business in the event of an error occurring. This is a relatively hands-off approach for the company itself as they outsource the work to an external organisation.

 

How does Network Monitoring Work?

 

Network monitoring works by collecting vast amounts of data and assessing it to find network problems throughout the system. This doesn’t just refer to finding issues that exist in that moment, but extends out to find potential issues that might occur in the future and damage the company. Some of the different parts of data that the network monitoring system looks for include:

 

Bandwidth Usage

The proportion of the available bandwidth that the organisation’s devices are using. If the sum is consistently hitting 100% there is a chance that performance is being throttled by lack of bandwidth.

 

Throughput

The percentage of data packets that are sent in a certain timeframe, with higher percentages demonstrating a more reliable standard of connection.

 

Latency

Any delay that exists in the connection, with a higher level of latency indicating that it takes longer for requests to go through. You might be familiar with the term “lag”, as is more commonly used in gaming circles.

 

Packet Loss

The number or percentage of data packets that are sent but not received by the recipient device, with high packet loss indicating a degree of unreliability in the connection that causes disruption.

 

Uptime

The time that devices spend online on the network, measured as either a percentage of the day or as a pure amount of time in days, hours, and minutes. Low uptime proves that there have been disconnections, even if the user was not aware of it.

Depending on the type of network monitoring operation in place, this data is monitored by a team of experts that look for any variations or even examine the data after the fact to find the cause of an issue they are investigating. Different companies and managed service providers have their own processes for this depending on their precise requirements and goals.

 

The Benefits of Network Monitoring

 

There are plenty of benefits of using network monitoring solutions in a company, with some of the most significant ones including:

 

Saving Costs

Network monitoring means that companies can significantly save on costs in the long term. The potential for early diagnosis of potential issues means that organisations can respond ahead of them emerging with lower-cost solutions than the likely major spending necessary for fixing an entirely broken system. Infrastructure is a necessity, but it isn’t one that you want to find yourself spending too much money on without needing to. In these cases, monitoring networks gives you a stable foundation to build more profitable processes.

 

Ensuring Uptime

Companies are increasingly relying on data to guide their work, with production data informing tweaks to the way that companies manufacture products, sales data guiding marketing and marketing data informing the company more about its demographics. If there isn’t consistent uptime, companies lose out on this data, or worse, don’t have the opportunity to talk to customers. Proactive monitoring stops uptime from being an issue and provides businesses with network connections that they can rely on for more intensive work.

 

Improved Reputation

A company or organisation that is instantly contactable has a far better reputation than one that customers can’t get in touch with. Reliable internet connections are a fundamental part of this, as companies send everything from invoices to complex schematics to their customers depending on each individual client’s needs. Low latency and packet loss mean that you develop a reputation for reliable communications, increasing the chance of people coming to you first.

 

Final Thoughts

 

For any company looking to build a positive relationship with its customers and properly look after itself, network monitoring is an absolute must. Managed service providers are the ideal route forward for the vast majority of businesses as they cut costs where they could otherwise spiral out of control, but take your time to create network monitoring processes bespoke to your company in order to thrive in even the most challenging technical environments.

 

Why choose Eventura as your Managed IT Service Provider?

 

Eventura has been providing managed IT services to countless customers for 20 years. Our talented team of people can help you identify all your businesses IT needs and engineer bespoke IT solutions that have real-world benefits to your business.

We are also NetSuite Solution Providers and Sage 200 Business Partners, offering game-changing ERP solutions crafted to automate and streamline business processes.

If you would like to speak to one of our experts, you can request a free call back here.

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