Bandwidth refers to the maximum amount of data that can be transferred over your network at one time. Users on a network transfer data between points on a network to access to deliver files. The larger the network, the more bandwidth is required to handle the data transferal that happens on a day-to-day basis. For enterprises, bandwidth usage is an important metric to analyze, and one that can be affected by numerous factors.
Because networks have a cap on the rate of data transfer, enterprises need to manage their bandwidth usage to maintain network performance. Network performance monitors (NPMs) can observe how much bandwidth is being used at one time. They can also determine when and where data transmission problems happen on the network. If your network’s bandwidth usage is too high, your network performance will inevitably drop. Read on to discover 5 factors that might be wasting your bandwidth, as well as how to reduce their effects.
Malware can deal a lot of damage to your network in various ways. One method that malware uses to harm networks is overloading the network’s bandwidth. By sending or requesting large amounts of data, the malware hogs the available bandwidth for devices on the network. NPMs usually come equipped with security functions to look for malware on the network and eliminate any that it finds. While this can be done automatically, NPMs also allow users to manually scan for anomalous data. NPMs will alert you if it detects any abnormal bandwidth usage, including usage caused by malware.
Quality of service (QoS)
QoS refers to the ability of networks to allocate and reserve resources for applications or data flows. In essence, this reduces the amount of available bandwidth that other devices on the network can use. If an application requires a specific amount of bandwidth to operate a specific task, an NPM with QoS capabilities can withhold that bandwidth for that application to use. This can help prevent devices from interfering with each other in regards to bandwidth usage, allowing devices that require a lot of bandwidth to operate correctly.
Setting access restrictions
Specific files and websites might be bringing down the available bandwidth on your network. Large, uncompressed files travelling along the network can hog resources that should be allocated elsewhere. Video streaming websites such as Netflix are also very resource-intensive. If either of these is occurring on your network and it’s using too much bandwidth, you can restrict access to the files and website to prevent that bandwidth from being used up.
Identifying bandwidth hogs
Sometimes, the problem is a specific user on your network hogging bandwidth that could be used for other purposes. NPMs can determine which devices and users use the most bandwidth on the network. If one device or user is monopolizing bandwidth, your NPM will detect it and alert the network team. From this, the team can take steps to address the issue.
Limiting VoIP network usage
Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) allows enterprises to maintain a phone line specifically for business calls. VoIP calls can use a ton of bandwidth, so if the VoIP network is being abused, it can severely weigh down the network. NPMs can monitor the usage of VoIP networks and determine if the VoIP network is performing above typical usage. To help reduce VoIP usage, enterprises can restrict the network to be used exclusively for business-related calls. Eliminating personal calls on a VoIP network may severely reduce the bandwidth usage, depending on how the network is being used.
Our Network Monitoring Buyer’s Guide contains profiles on the top network performance monitor vendors, as well as questions you should ask providers and yourself before buying.
Check us out on Twitter for the latest in NetMon news and developments!