Companies need their network to operate efficiently, quickly, and without issue. Network teams work to keep their network up and running while eliminating problems that drag the network down. Using network performance monitoring (NPM) tools, enterprises can determine how efficient their network is running and pinpoint problem areas. While eliminating performance issues is important, there’s another aspect of network monitoring that should be addressed – network optimization.
Optimizing your network’s performance is a crucial step in bringing your network from performing fine to performing efficiently. Even if there are no major issues currently bringing down network performance, your network may not be performing at the levels it could be. Configuring your network to run perfectly isn’t just a matter of avoiding major pitfalls; you also need to adopt the proper ideas and protocols alongside planning out long-term network upgrades.
Network optimization comprises a series of best practices designed to make small boosts to your network performance. Your enterprise might have already implemented some of these practices or are planning to implement them. Whatever the case, we’ve outlined a handful of ways your network team can optimize your network performance.
Upgrade your network hardware
Building your network means buying, installing, and running a collection of hardware. The hardware on your network infrastructure needs to handle the needs of your enterprise, including data transfer rate, network capacity, and any other metrics your company measures. If a router, switch, connection, or other node on your infrastructure is built for older standards, it may be time to consider upgrading them for a newer model.
However, it should be stated that you should always investigate your network nodes if you notice it’s dragging performance down. Sometimes the problem with a device is poor configuration rather than just the hardware being old. Also, you need to build your network hardware infrastructure based around the maximum speed of your network. There’s no point in introducing a node onto your hardware whose maximum speed support is way above what your network is operating at.
Clearing malware from your network
There are several reasons to remove malware from your network, and one of them is that threat actors can target and reduce network performance. Malware could continuously request data in order to overload your network, or attack the health of a node to make it fail. An NPM tool can sweep your network to look for malware and alert you if it discovers any suspicious activity. Depending on how advanced the tool is, it might also be able to take steps to stop the actor and remove it from your network.
Eliminating network bottlenecks
Bottlenecks are some of the most common reasons why networks aren’t performing as well as they should be. They are areas of heavy congestion between one area of your network to another, and congestion is something any network team needs to address to move towards network optimization. They can happen for a variety of reasons, but regardless, any bottlenecks on your network needs to be eliminated.
Your NPM solution can detect congestion occurring on your network and inform your network team of any areas of poor data transfer. You will know where exactly the network is clogged up, giving your team the ability to immediately address the issue rather than having to track down the area where performance is slow.
Removing bandwidth hogs
Bandwidth usage is a useful metric for network teams to analyze when determining network performance. Ideally, your network should be using as much bandwidth as possible without going over the bandwidth limit. If your network’s maximum bandwidth is 10 Gbit/s, for example, your network will be performing efficiently if your bandwidth usage gets close to, but not over, 10 Gbit/s at peak network times. However, there are specific items connected to your network that could be hogging bandwidth. They use a large amount of bandwidth, typically over a large period of time, reducing the available resources for other parts of your network.
Bandwidth hogging devices
Devices that connect to your network require the use of bandwidth to transmit or receive data. If a device is constantly sending or asking for data resources from your network, it can be a huge burden on your infrastructure. For example, a computer operating a video streaming service will waste huge amounts of data that could be used for more important, business-critical tasks.
Bandwidth hogging applications
Many enterprise run applications on their network for mission-critical processes. As long as the application has enough bandwidth to run, it’s usually really effective for enterprises. However, they typically require a lot of bandwidth in order to run properly. Thankfully, quality of service (QoS) protocols help partition bandwidth resources so your network team can be assured that applications have enough bandwidth to run.
Network issue analysis and diagnosis
Knowing that issues are happening on your network is one thing. Knowing what the issue is, how it happened, how you can fix it, and whether or not it could happen again are entirely different ballparks. For network optimization, network teams need to be able to analyze and diagnose network problems so that they can understand the issue at its roots. Some NPM tools are equipped to apply intelligent solutions to their network when an issue arises. If a security threat enters your network, the NPM can diagnose the problem by analyzing data that it gathers from it and determine what the issue is before you are alerted to it. Thus, your network team knows exactly what the problem is and can proactively fix it.
Predictive network performance
Network optimization isn’t just a matter of fixing problems in the present. Your network team should also be looking to the future to determine how your network will behave. No doubt your enterprise is planning out ways to expand your network infrastructure. If it is, you can determine ways to optimize your network before the expansion begins.
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