In order to properly run a network in your business, you need to understand that network’s performance. Gathering data on your network and monitoring for any performance issues is a key factor in operating a network. Observing network performance involves having the right tools and practices in your enterprise’s network monitoring plan. One way businesses can determine their network performance is through a network performance test.
Network performance tests are designed to gather information about a network, specifically in regards to how certain factors are affecting performance. Your company can test your network for a variety of performance-related issues and examine their effect on the network. This can range from specific performance metrics such as bandwidth and throughput to more general tests for network security and malfunctioning hardware. Read on to discover more about network performance testing and why they’re necessary for your enterprise.
The various types of network performance tests
Network performance testing includes a wide spectrum of network evaluations that determine how specific factors influence performance. Each test examines network performance from a different angle, and the best performance analysis considers the results of multiple performance test types. Some of the most common performance tests include:
Network availability test
By sending signals through a network and the nodes connected to it, an availability test ensures that every piece of network hardware in your infrastructure is currently operational. This is usually done by something as simple as a ping test, which asks for responses from all your network devices.
Network speed test
Speeds tests check the upload and download speeds of your network by sending/asking for data. A speed test might also examine throughput and packet loss to weigh the upload and download speeds against other performance metrics.
Bandwidth usage test
Depending on your network’s specs, you have a set amount of bandwidth that can be used at one time. Determining how that bandwidth is allocated tells your network how effectively its resources are being utilized. This test can also factor into a quality of service (QoS) tool by indicating which network applications are using the proper resources.
Your network needs to be secured, and penetration tests allow you to find gaps in your network’s security. By examining for security gaps, your enterprise will know the areas where security breaches are likely to come from. These insights allow you to take steps to patch gaps, either by replacing hardware or updating security protocols.
Test your network routinely and continuously
Network performance can change dramatically in a matter of seconds. Factors such as hiding threat actors or sudden hardware failure can bring performance levels down instantly. If your network team isn’t made aware of these issues immediately, they’ll be blind to major network issues. Thus, the need to continuously and routinely perform network tests is vital to your company.
NPM tools are constantly checking your network for performance issues and can automatically administer scheduled network tests for you. These tests can also be performed outside business hours so your team is alerted to any major issues that happen overnight. Performing regular tests keeps your enterprise up-to-date on your network’s performance so you can eliminate the need to base your network strategy on performance assumptions.
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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