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Network monitoring and management

NetworkTigers discusses network monitoring and management and recommends tools and strategies for a smooth operation.

The smooth running of networks is not just a convenience but a necessity. Whether you’re a business reliant on uninterrupted services or an individual seeking a seamless online experience, the backbone of this reliability lies in effective network monitoring and management.

The significance of network monitoring and management

Network monitoring and management play a crucial role in maintaining the reliability and security of networks, safeguarding against costly disruptions, and driving productivity. Network monitoring involves continuously observing a network’s performance, traffic, and health. 

This practice identifies issues in real-time and enables proactive measures, helping prevent potential disruptions. Network management takes this a step further, encompassing the administration, optimization, and maintenance of network resources. 

It ensures that the network aligns with business objectives, effectively utilizing resources while staying secure and responsive to the needs of its users.

Key features of network monitoring tools

Network monitoring tools evaluate and ensure the seamless operation of network infrastructures. Effective monitoring tools are characterized by their diverse set of features, including:

  • Real-time monitoring: The ability to continuously monitor network activity and generate real-time alerts.
  • Alerting and notification: The capacity to send alerts, either through email, SMS, or other means, when specific conditions or thresholds are met.
  • Historical data storage: The capability to store historical network performance data for trend analysis and diagnostics.
  • Traffic analysis: Tools that can delve into network traffic data to provide insights into usage patterns and potential issues.
  • Performance metrics. Providing various performance metrics like latency, bandwidth utilization, and packet loss.
  • Scalability: The tool’s adaptability to grow with the network’s size and complexity.

Popular network monitoring tools and their unique features

Network monitoring tools can make all the difference between seamless operations and network-related issues. Here are common tools designed with the control you need to keep your network running smoothly. 

  • SolarWinds Network Performance Monitor (NPM): Offers comprehensive network performance monitoring, including real-time network maps and predictive insights.
  • Paessler PRTG Network Monitor: Provides a user-friendly interface and a vast library of pre-built sensors for various devices and applications.
  • Nagios XI: Supports plugin extensions for custom monitoring solutions with a focus on system and network status.
  • Zabbix: An open-source option that offers enterprise-level monitoring with features like distributed monitoring and visual dashboards.
  • Wireshark: Known for its packet analysis capabilities, Wireshark helps diagnose network issues at the packet level.

These tools cater to diverse network monitoring needs, ensuring the reliability, performance, and security of network infrastructures. 

Strategies for effective network monitoring

A robust approach to network monitoring is essential for addressing issues and ensuring the smooth flow of data. Implement these strategies to have an effective network.

Consider best practices for setting up network monitoring

Network monitoring requires a strategic approach that maximizes efficiency and ensures a robust digital infrastructure. To detect potential issues and address them effectively: 

  • Conduct comprehensive coverage: Ensure your monitoring system covers all critical network components, including servers, switches, routers, firewalls, and applications.
  • Focus on real-time monitoring: Prioritize real-time monitoring to detect and respond to issues.
  • Have historical data storage: Maintain historical data for trend analysis, capacity planning, and issue resolution.
  • Utilize automated discovery: Employ automated network discovery to keep monitoring up-to-date network changes.
  • Train your workforce: Ensure your team is well-versed in monitoring tools and practices to maximize effectiveness.

Select the right key performance indicators (KPIs)

The choice of KPIs is critical for businesses as they guide strategic decisions, reveal opportunities, and signal areas that require attention. When selecting the right KPIs, focus on:

  • Business alignment: Align KPIs with your business objectives and the critical functions your network supports.
  • Relevance: Focus on KPIs that directly impact network performance and user experience.
  • Variety: Monitor a range of KPIs, including bandwidth utilization, latency, packet loss, and device performance.
  • Thresholds and baselines: Set performance thresholds and baselines to identify deviations and trigger alerts.

Create alert thresholds and notifications.

Good network monitoring means detecting an issue before it becomes a problem. You can achieve this by:

  • Customizing Threshold: Customize thresholds to match your network’s specific needs and characteristics.
  • Assigning severity levels: Assign severity levels to alerts to prioritize responses based on impact.
  • Implementing escalation procedures: Establish escalation procedures to ensure alerts reach the right personnel promptly.
  • Using different notification channels: Utilize multiple notification channels, including email, SMS, and mobile apps, to ensure alerts are not missed.
  • Establishing resolution processes: Implement processes for detecting alerts and tracking their resolution.

Set up network monitoring schedules

Monitoring schedules ensure your network remains in peak condition. Use these tips to create effective schedules.

  • Ensure round-the-clock coverage: Ensure 24/7 monitoring coverage, especially for mission-critical networks.
  • Implement periodic intervals: Use periodic monitoring schedules to check the health of devices and connections.
  • Schedule maintenance: Plan for scheduled maintenance windows where monitoring might be temporarily suspended.
  • Implement dynamic scheduling: Adjust monitoring schedules dynamically to accommodate peak usage times or anticipated network changes.

Safeguard the reliability and security of your network

As technology advances and the demands on networks continue to grow, businesses must invest in the right tools and strategies for network monitoring and management to mitigate risks. By embracing these practices, organizations can confidently navigate the complex landscape of modern networking, ensuring that digital lifelines remain robust and dependable.

Maclean Odiesa
Maclean Odiesa
Maclean is a tech freelance writer with 7+ years in content strategy and development. She is also a pillar pages specialist and SEO expert.

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