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Why is it important to monitor traffic on your network?

Rony_Sklar - PeerSpot reviewer
Community Manager at PeerSpot (formerly IT Central Station)

Why should businesses actively monitor network traffic?

What benefits are there to network monitoring?

Any suggestions for where to start with setting up effective network monitoring?

PeerSpot user
813 Answers

Rony_Sklar - PeerSpot reviewerRony_Sklar
Community Manager

@David Collier ​Thanks for this amazing, in-depth response!

reviewer1331706 - PeerSpot reviewer
Top 5LeaderboardReal User

As already said Network monitoring is just one type of monitoring, and you should monitor on all levels to get a clear picture. 

Hnad in hand with monitoring goes a good Event, Alert setup, to be warned when something is happening.

Now to Why?

- Network monitoring is to find the bottlenecks in your network, by looking at Bandwidth and latency.

- check on malfunctionign systems, by looking at Network errors

- find out between which points the most traffic is excahnged.

- you can look at trends, sudden peaks in traffic.

Benefits: Most benefit you will get is to prevent network disturbances. e.g when someone is hogging the internet connection you can quickly resolve it.

- it should also give an idea on where to invest on network equipment based on usage, bottlenecks etc.

- with respect to appliation performance, the network is normally the first thing that one is pointing at. so, it certainly helps to be able to see if the network is overused.

- insights will help wih e.g. QoS implementation, for voip, and business critical applications.

start setting up: I wuld also recommend to start with opensource, (also depend on the size of your network and its complexity). 

Start with colelting standard in/out for the most important network components, like internet connection, routers, central switches. 

Then based on some initial observations, you can define some alerts on when an connection (e.g. internet) is over used, e.g alarm at 60, 80, 90% capacity.

Rony_Sklar - PeerSpot reviewerRony_Sklar
Community Manager

Thanks for such a comprehensive answer @Raymond De Rooij ​:)

Shibu Babuchandran - PeerSpot reviewer
ExpertModeratorReal User

Maintaining full network visibility

You can’t adequately understand your network’s performance if you don’t have full network visibility. Your company needs to be able to observe every bit of traffic that travels through your network, as well as monitor every connected device and examine common performance metrics. Any network monitoring tool worth its salt will provide comprehensive monitoring capabilities that doesn’t leave any portion of your network in the dark. That way, there won’t be performance-affecting problems hiding somewhere on your network.

Discovering security threats

While network monitoring solutions are primarily designed for performance monitoring purposes, they can also help you find security threats lurking in your system. Some malware and viruses are designed to stay put on a network after they’ve gained access without doing anything initially; others might be performing small actions that would be undetectable to the human eye. Network monitoring solutions will observe a network for unusual and suspicious network traffic (indicating a security threat is drawing network resources) and alert your company to the problem.

Predicting and preventing network downtime

You can never guarantee 100% service uptime, even with the most powerful network monitoring solution — but they can help you prevent unexpected network outages. A key function of network monitoring solutions is observing for network traffic that indicates the failure of a device or network is about to happen. This way, your enterprise can preemptively correct any unexpected downtime, allowing you to maximize service availability wherever possible.

Observing bandwidth utilization

For most network administrators, bandwidth usage is one of the most important performance metrics to analyze. Ideally, your company wants to be using as much bandwidth as possible while ensuring that every service is running efficiently. A network monitoring solution will track bandwidth usage, inform your network when bandwidth utilization is reaching critical levels, and ensure that quality-of-service (QoS) protocols are running correctly.

Reducing mean time to repair (MTTR)

Network performance issues don’t just pose a financial cost; the time it takes your network team to repair a problem could be spent on other, more important tasks. As such, reducing the time between when a performance issue occurs and when it’s fixed is essential for businesses. Network monitoring solutions alert your team to performance issues as soon as they discover them, meaning a company can get straight to work addressing the problem. Many monitoring tools also include diagnostics tools that provide your team with an initial assessment of the issue, so your employees don’t need to spend as much time diagnosing the problem.

Testing changes to a network or device

Whenever you make a change to your network or a device, you need to test it to ensure that it’s performing as you expect. Adding or reconfiguring a device can screw up the rest of your network if it isn’t implemented properly. Network monitoring tools allow you to test new or updated hardware and connections, letting you see if they could cause problems before they negatively impact your network.

Generating network performance reports

A network monitoring solution constantly tracks performance data and displays it via visual representations on their dashboard. Monitoring tools can also generate reports that your enterprise can review, converting them into several printable file types. Your company can choose the schedule that the solution generates these reports on — weekly, monthly, quarterly, etc.

Finding performance issues that occur after business hours

Performance issues can occur at any time, even when there isn’t anybody in the office to fix them. If a problem happens after business hours, your enterprise needs to know about it; network monitoring tools continuously observe a network, meaning that they can discover these issues for you. A solid network monitoring solution won’t send out the alerts for these issues immediately, however, since those alerts could be lost by the time your team comes back to work. Ideally, the solution will delay the alert until a time determined by the network administrator.

Shibu Babuchandran - PeerSpot reviewer
ExpertModeratorReal User

Network Traffic Monitor: Benefits of Network Traffic Monitoring

By monitoring network traffic with PRTG, you can:

  • Avoid bandwidth and server performance bottlenecks

  • Discover which applications use up your bandwidth

  • Be proactive and deliver better quality of service to your users

  • Reduce costs by buying bandwidth and hardware according to actual load

  • Easily troubleshoot network problems

  • Identifying Top Talkers and Conversations in the network: Determine which users and what applications are using maximum bandwidth, and drill down for conversational details.

  • Monitoring and projecting Traffic Trends and Usage Patterns: View trends in network traffic, and determine top applications and peak usage times.

  • Defining Applications to Monitor Specific Traffic: Use a combination of ports and protocols to define unlimited applications, and recognize this traffic exclusively in traffic reports. You can also mention a particular IP address to map an application.

  • Managing Devices Exclusively: Categorize devices and group them data into logical groups, and monitor traffic reports exclusively, for the groups.

  • Increased accounting: Improve resource utilization accounting with real-time bandwidth and network usage statistics.

reviewer1122879 - PeerSpot reviewer
Real User

Start with an open-source no-cost solution like Nagios for Network Monitoring to get familiar with the features you like and don't like.

Benefits to network monitoring are the reduction in the meantime to recover and seamless experience to our customers.

Why should businesses monitor network traffic? Each business really needs to grasp its "why" on networking monitoring. Is it reactive and defensive or is it proactive with a roadmap leading to AIOps?

Rony_Sklar - PeerSpot reviewerRony_Sklar
Community Manager

@reviewer1122879 ​Thanks for your input! Can you elaborate a bit more about how a business can decide on their 'why' for network monitoring?

reviewer1122879 - PeerSpot reviewer
Real User

Why is network monitoring in Place?  

Defensive monitoring is in place
because someone said we need but does not understand how it helps your business.

Proactive monitoring is when businesses mature to understand outages mean lost business lost customer satisfaction and lost opportunities then the why becomes apparent.  Proactive AI Monitoring moving to predictive ML  resolution is a strategic activity, Although not sexy.

Aji Joseph - PeerSpot reviewer
Top 5Reseller

Network monitoring proves clear visibility of your network thereby allowing you to act immediately in case of a network issue or bottleneck. You can easily identify network-related and security related issues that otherwise would take a lot of time in a network with more than 100 devices or more.

The first step would be to identify the devices and applications that you would like to cover under network monitoring. You can start with open source tools or solutions like PRTG or NetCrunch (cost-effective solutions).

Rony_Sklar - PeerSpot reviewerRony_Sklar
Community Manager

@Aji Joseph ​Thanks for you input! 

JOHAN ROJAS - PeerSpot reviewer
Top 10Real User

It is extremely important to be checking network traffic to detect possible failures such as bottlenecks, malfunctioning of a device on the network, or to detect any unusual increases in packets that could be some type of malware.

One of the biggest benefits is that you can see the performance of network traffic, Internet links, and the behavior of switches and routers.

It all starts with the most basic cabling that would be, having quality cabling, implemented in compliance with best practices, then making the network equipment settings according to the use to be made.

Rony_Sklar - PeerSpot reviewerRony_Sklar
Community Manager

@JOHAN ROJAS ​Thanks for your input! This is really helpful. 

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