No matter how much you're paying your ISP for your network's bandwidth, bandwidth hogs, latency, and choppy video conferences are all-pervasive. From business-essential devices and users to malware, there are a lot of things that can drain your network and bring it down.
Monitoring who or what is using your bandwidth and gaining complete visibility over it can be long and complex process. But it doesn't have to be. Here are a few things that can help you easily monitor bandwidth usage and troubleshoot issues across your entire network.
The best place to start is by proactively monitoring your network devices. Tracking just the overall bandwidth consumption or critical applications will not give you the visibility to need to run your organization's network. Assuming that keeping track of business-critical applications is all it takes will leave your network vulnerable to a large number of network issues. Monitoring every network element - mission critical and non-mission critical — is highly important in ensuring optimal performance of your network.
The bandwidth your ISP provides is not distributed equally among all devices and applications. While the bandwidth delivered by your ISP is for the entire network, the utilization and requirements vary based on the applications. This is why it's important to make sure every application gets enough bandwidth and bandwidth capacity is increased as and when your network grows.
However, recurring bottlenecks and traffic spikes don't necessarily mean you need to buy more bandwidth. Traffic spikes can be an indication of various underlying issues in your network. Analyzing changes in your network and application growth will help you understand your network's needs better and help you make informed decisions.
Both actively monitoring your bandwidth usage in real-time and passively monitoring historical data helps you keep track of all network traffic activity, ensuring you have complete visibility over your network. It's important not only to monitor your network's overall bandwidth and traffic, but also to get an in-depth view of your devices, interfaces, applications, IPs, and conversations. This data will help you identify who is using your bandwidth and troubleshoot issues that may otherwise go unnoticed, helping you manage your network better.
Every application or device in your network has different purposes and levels of importance. So when it comes to bandwidth distribution, VoIP calls, email, security applications, and streaming sites cannot all be treated the same. Applications like VoIP calls, video conferences, and media streaming sites are highly sensitive unlike email applications or web browsers. This means that an optimum amount of traffic has to be allotted to these applications based on priority.
While media streamers are as sensitive to latency as business-critical apps like VoIP calls, the former is merely just a bandwidth hog that rarely contributes to productivity. Optimizing your network to ensure your mission-critical applications are prioritized without affecting the rest of your network is crucial, and traffic shaping mechanisms like QoS policies can be used to limit or block applications hogging bandwidth. These policies can then be validated based on performance, revised, and reconfigured as your network changes.
While all the above mentioned measures can be taken manually, keeping track of all of them in real-time is simply not feasible, even for small networks. A good network bandwidth monitoring tool that helps monitor your bandwidth usage and perform network traffic analysis will go a long way in ensuring optimal network health and performance.
Picking a tool that perfectly fits your monitoring needs, and can be customized and scaled up with changes or growth in your network will save you the trouble and concerns that come with switching bandwidth usage monitors. This will help you maintain a hassle-free network, ensuring that you get what you paid for bandwidth-wise.
ManageEngine NetFlow Analyzer is a comprehensive, flow-based, highly scalable bandwidth monitoring and network traffic analysis tool that helps you gain in-depth visibility into your network devices, interfaces, apps, conversations, bandwidth usage, and network traffic.
NetFlow Analyzer is a part of the ManageEngine ITOM suite and monitors all major devices and flow formats such as NetFlow, sFlow, jFlow, IPFIX, and AppFlow. Get a free, personalized demo!