Real-Time Network Monitoring: What Is It and Why Do You Need It?

Real-Time Network Monitoring: What Is It and Why Do You Need It?

Network performance is not static; a network could be performing poorly or perfectly at any given time. Issues such as hardware failure or power outages could happen out of the blue, dragging your network performance down in an instant. Because these events could happen at any time, you never know when your network performance will suddenly be boosted or hurt. That is, unless you implement a real-time network monitoring solution.

Real-time network monitoring constantly checks your network for performance issues. It also gives your enterprise updates and alerts on your network’s performance as they happen. Many network performance monitoring (NPM) solutions are built to analyze the network in real-time, giving you valuable insights into your network’s operation. Read on to discover the benefits of real-time network monitoring and how it improves your monitoring capabilities.

Scheduled network performance checks

Real-time network monitoring tools are typically based on initiating performance checks on your network on a routine basis. While this doesn’t technically match the definition of “real-time,” it is still an incredibly useful way to keep tabs on your network. Rather than manually performing a scan of your network for performance abnormalities, the tool will automatically do them for you on a set schedule. You can change the wait time between performance checks to be as long or as short as you need them to be. If you schedule the checks for every minute, the tool will do a quick scan for problems on your network.

While most NPMs support real-time performance checks, some give you more advanced control over them. You may be flooded with empty alerts if the tool constantly tells you when it’s completed a scan, so you should be able to set it so that you’re only notified when it detects a problem. With some tools, you can also set different performance check intervals depending on the time of day. For instance, you can set the system to perform less scans during your enterprise’s off-hours.

Real-time network mapping capabilities

Network maps are some of the most useful tools in a network team’s arsenal. They outline the entire infrastructure of your network so you can visually picture your network’s layout and scale. Manually creating maps, however, can take a long time, especially with how complicated enterprise networks can get. Plus, since networks can grow or shrink depending on the company’s current needs, manually-created maps are bound to become outdated.

Many NPMs are equipped with the tools necessary to abstract your network and draw a network map for you, and some will map your network out dynamically in real-time. That means the NPM will detect when a new device has connected to the network and add it to the network map.

Real-time network alerts 

Your network team needs to know about network performance issues as they happen. That way, they can fix them before they evolve into a greater problem. NPMs are constantly looking for performance issues and will bring any it finds to your attention as soon as it detects them. NPMs might also perform real-time analysis on the network issue to determine potential causes or administer fixes automatically. This will help you diagnose the problem without needing your team to examine the issue first.


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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Daniel Hein

Dan is a tech writer who writes about Enterprise Cloud Strategy and Network Monitoring for Solutions Review. He graduated from Fitchburg State University in 2018 with a Bachelor's in Professional Writing. You can reach him at dhein@solutionsreview.com
Daniel Hein