A Beginner’s Look at Network Monitoring

A Beginner's Look at Network Monitoring

An enterprise network, wired or wireless, can be a tricky thing. With so many devices in the modern workplace, business can’t afford network outages or clumsy repair job. By employing network monitoring tools, companies can save money in network performance, employee productivity, and infrastructure cost overruns. While the benefits of network monitoring are well documented among IT teams, the ins and outs of the technology can sometimes get a bit confusing. Below we’ve assembled a quick primer on the benefits and uses of network monitoring tools.

Network monitoring is achieved by using either software or a range of plug-and-play software appliance solutions. It uses an IT system to monitor a computer network for any slow or failing components, checking things like web servers, peripherals, the network’s overall health, and any running applications. This is done by sending a signal known as a “ping” at a set interval to check the response time and overall health of a network. Most networking services test the server between once an hour and once a minute. Some popular network monitoring tools include Spiceworks IT Management, SolarWinds, OpenNMS, Nagios, and MRTG.

By monitoring devices using different operating systems, IT teams are able to identify any specific activities and performance metrics. As a result, this notifies the appropriate personnel and enables businesses to address a range of issues in very little time. Network monitoring tools are able to monitor network traffic, but the technology generally focuses on resources that support internal end-users. Over time network monitoring tools have come to oversee a wider range of devices including routers, switches, mobile devices, and more with the ability to discriminate based on IP address, service, device type, and physical location.

While network monitoring may seem like a no-brainer, you shouldn’t be so quick to hop on the technology. Before implementing a network monitoring solution, you should consult with the rest of your team to make sure your organization is ready. You should make sure that your corporate technology amp is completely up to date, and lays out the individual networks requiring monitoring, the servers running which applications on which OS, and the number of desktops and mobile devices operating on the networks.

These tools are capable of completing a whole range of strategic tasks, in addition to basic network monitoring functionality, This includes confirming regulatory and policy compliance, highlighting cost savings by identifying redundant resources, measuring latency, and identifying weak wide-area network links and bottlenecks.

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Doug Atkinson

President at Solutions Review
An entrepreneur and executive with a passion for enterprise technology, Doug founded Solutions Review in 2012. He has previously served as a newspaper boy, a McDonald's grill cook, a bartender, a political consultant, a web developer, the VP of Sales for e-Dialog - a digital marketing agency - and as Special Assistant to Governor William Weld of Massachusetts.
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