Real User Monitoring: Observing How Your Network Performs for Users

Real User Monitoring: Observing How Your Network Performs for Users

Effective network performance monitoring (NPM) comprises a series of concepts and practices that provides full visibility into every aspect of network performance. This includes not just examining how well your network is performing, but also investigating causes of poor performance and observing network operations from various perspectives. Your company shouldn’t only boost network performance from the business side of things; it needs to consider how performance from the user’s point of view. Real user monitoring (RUM) is one way companies can observe their network’s end-user performance.

Real user monitoring observes actual user data on your network to gain insights into network performance. By analyzing users that access your network, your team can understand how users interact with applications, websites, and data and how a network behaves for them. These insights allow businesses to improve the end-user experience rather than just focus on the business perspective. Read on to discover what real user monitoring is, what it can tell you, and why you need to implement it.

What is real user monitoring?

Real user monitoring is a passive monitoring technique where a tool gathers and analyzes all data that passes through your network. The tool examines the data from the end-user perspective by observing the user’s actions on the network. This includes what the user accesses, where the users draws data from, and how much of the network’s resources (bandwidth, data, etc.) the user consumes.

RUM differs from active monitoring (or synthetic monitoring) because it does not simulate user behavior. Synthetic monitoring systems emulate user data in order to predict how users behave on a network, allowing them to evaluate potential failure scenarios. RUM tools track real users to help companies discover problems that are currently affecting users on your network.

What can real user monitoring tell you?

While it should not be the only network monitoring technique your enterprise uses, real user monitoring gives enterprises intuition into their network’s performance for the end-user. Your company can find areas where users on your network are having problems accessing information or applications. Specifically, RUM tools helps your network team understand the following:

Access insights

When you have applications, websites, and data available on your network, you need to know who is accessing them and when. By observing every user on your network, you’ll see what is being accessed and how long it takes for users to reach them after signalling for the information.

User journey

In order to properly understand the end-user perspective, your company must observe them from the moment they connect to when they disconnect. RUM tools track a user for the entire time they are on the network, plotting their entire journey to discover any bad links between areas of the network.

Root cause analysis

By monitoring users on your network, you’ll know when they encounter a problem accessing information. If multiple users have the same problem, the RUM tool can perform an investigation into possible causes and diagnose them.

Why implement a RUM solution?

Monitoring users who access your network and tracking their journey provides invaluable insights into how your network is actually performing. With other monitoring techniques, you can predict potential issues or examine harmful actors on your network. However, RUM paints a clear picture of the user experience on your network. You’ll know exactly how the network is performing for users, not just for your business. Network performance needs a multi-layered approach for your company to get the best insight into your network and the users that access it.


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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 with a Bachelor's in Professional Writing. You can reach him at dhein@solutionsreview.com
Daniel Hein