No matter how well you build them, networks are not 100% stable. Though IT teams wish it wasn’t the case, every so often you will experience network downtime. This is bad for business productivity across all departments, of course, but it also means more work for the IT team and dozens of calls and complaints from around the company.
Sometimes, you can’t predict when a network is going to go down or the issue is out of your control. There’s not much you can do to prevent power outages, for example, and that will obviously make your network unavailable. Power outages can also fry or otherwise destroy hardware and machines that are essential to making your network function. How do you protect against that?
While some causes of network downtime are impossible to avoid, there are some factors that you have an influence over. Taking steps to prevent those factors from affecting your network, such as using a network performance monitor (NPM), will increase your uptime and help you avert serious network issues. Understanding what you can do to stop network downtime will give you the knowledge to proactively reduce your network downtime.
Improper device configuration
In order for a device on your network to work properly, it needs to be configured correctly. When you install a new device, your team must perform tests to ensure it’s operating properly. This also applies to devices you repair or reconfigure. An NPM can perform configuration tests, either automated or manually inputted, so you always know if a device’s configuration is sound.
Device models from different manufacturers can also pose a problem. It’s likely that your network infrastructure contains nodes and connectors that come from multiple different vendors. To make them work with each other, your network team needs to configure them to cooperate with every device.
Hardware is usually reliable, but a number of circumstances could cause a device to suddenly fail. There are numerous causes for this, but the end result can sometimes be predicted and proactively dealt with. Your NPM will inform you if a device is performing sub-optimally, which may be a sign that the node is going to become inoperable. Performing regular device maintenance is also recommended, as it can alert you to potential and actual hardware faults.
Network routing is one of the most essential features of network infrastructures. For complex networks, routing allows data packets to maneuver around busy spots or downed nodes. Network management tools can establish optimal routes automatically, but occasionally routing issues can occur. If your routing system isn’t adequately set up, it can send packets into areas where the data is lost. Most NPMs come equipped with routing capabilities, allowing them to test and deploy new routes based on your network’s current status.
Most enterprises operate business-critical applications that require a network to function. If that software ends up infected with viruses or malware, that could bring potential danger to the network. If your team knows that an instance of the software is hazardous, it should quarantine that instance as soon as possible to prevent the spread of the threat. NPMs can help protect your network by beefing up your security features, examining the system for harmful actors and eliminating them.
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