Not all network monitoring solutions are created equal, and when your business is evaluating network performance monitoring (NPM) tools, it needs to know the key capabilities to look for. The core function of network monitoring is to observe your network and inform your team of any current or imminent performance issues. On top of this, however, network monitoring tools come equipped with several additional features that help them stand out from the crowd — though not all of these features are worth the investment.
When evaluating monitoring tools, your company needs to be able to weed out those unnecessary features and focus on key network performance monitoring capabilities. Below, we’ve compiled a list of six key capabilities that every network monitoring tool worth its salt should include!
If you’re looking for more resources to help you evaluate NPM solutions, our free Network Monitoring Buyer’s Guide has you covered! It contains profiles on the top network monitoring providers in the market today, including descriptions of the tools they offer and noteworthy features of each. The guide also features 10 questions you should ask prospective vendors and yourself before buying a network monitoring solution. You can check out that guide here!
Real-time, continuous performance monitoring
If a monitoring tool isn’t able to examine your network performance in real-time, it isn’t worth deploying. Network monitoring tools need to be able to continuously observe your network and its connected devices, preferably with as little human input as possible. Otherwise, your company could be missing vital performance issues happening on your network.
Proactive performance monitoring
Legacy network monitoring tools operated on a reactive approach, looking for performance problems that have already begun to affect your network. That approach doesn’t work anymore, however; network admins must be able to detect and prevent issues before they even happen. Modern network monitoring tools proactively analyze networks for any signs that a performance issue can occur.
Full network visibility
When it comes to network performance, your company needs to be tracking every transaction that occurs on your network. Modern network monitoring solutions provide automatic scalability, detecting and adding devices as they connect to the network without requiring manual activation or configuration. This way, companies can ensure that all their network communications are monitored, leaving no vector of your network unchecked.
Intelligent network alerts
Network monitoring tools alert your enterprise to performance issues, but those alerts need to go beyond just telling admins that there’s a problem. Alerts need to give your network team actionable information about the problem, including what type of issue it is and where it’s located. Other alerting capabilities to look for include tiering alerts based on their severity and timed alerts that delay sending out alerts on problems that happen during off-hours.
A network monitoring solution can track numerous performance metrics; one of the most important to monitor is bandwidth. Bandwidth monitoring comes standard with most network monitoring tools, letting administrators see how much bandwidth is being used on your network at one time and alerting you when bandwidth usage is getting too high.
After your network monitoring tool gathers information on performance metrics, it needs to display the data it’s collected through visual dashboards. Solid network monitoring tools will automatically create graphs and visualizations that automatically update as performance changes. The best tools allow admins to customize their performance visualizations, choosing the graph types that best suit them.
Looking for a solution to help you improve your network performance? 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.
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