A lot can change in a decade. In so many ways, we’re living in a completely different landscape than we were just ten years ago, and workplace technology is no exception. We’ve moved workloads to the cloud, introduced BYOD policies, and now rely on workplace wi-fi way for all corporate provisioned devices. All of this network activity puts enormous stress on enterprise networks, and IT teams need to be able to keep track of it to keep things humming. That’s where enterprise network bandwidth monitoring tools come into play.

A high performing network is a core component of a successful IT infrastructure. To keep business processes running as smoothly as possible, network bandwidth monitoring solutions provide network administrators with the tools they need to keep track of the availability, performance and bandwidth usage of an IT network.

Below we take a look at some of the benefits of a network bandwidth monitoring tool and what network teams should look for when looking to implement one.

The Benefits of Network Bandwidth Monitoring

Alerts and Quick Response Times

The value of a network monitoring solution lies in the early detection and reporting of network errors and malfunctions. With these tools, network teams no longer need to constantly manually monitor their networks as the tool will send alerts only when something needs immediate attention. Often, network administrators can be overwhelmed with alerts which can distract them from other more pressing matters. A bandwidth monitoring tool should be able to identify network dependencies to reduce redundant alerts.

Security

What’s an enterprise network without security? A network monitoring tool greatly improves the security of a network and offers increased control for network teams. Network monitoring tools can tip network administrators on warning signs that may indicate a possible attack, for example, if administrators detect an usual amount of usage on a port. Network bandwidth and traffic reports provide critical information that help to detect traffic anomalies. Network bandwidth monitoring can quickly and seamlessly be applied to existing network security technologies such as firewalls and scanners.

Assists in Network Engineering

Network bandwidth monitoring can tell you a lot, and with this knowledge comes improved insight in developing and perfecting enterprise networks. By understanding the usage levels of links, network engineers can plan for extra links to avoid congestion. Network bandwidth reports help in defining the way that a network will function in the future.

Identify Bandwidth Hogs

The bane of every network administrator’s existence; bandwidth hogs, or as I call them the ‘gig pigs’, gobble up bandwidth like it’s their job. Using a network bandwidth monitor, administrators can identify which employees are using the most bandwidth and which applications they’re using. With this information, network administrators can decide how much bandwidth each employee needs to do their job and which applications should have priority over network bandwidth.

The Necessities

Protocol Support

Bandwidth usage and bandwidth availability monitoring are essential features for a network monitoring solution. That being said, it’s critical for IT teams to keep an eye out for solutions that support the most common protocols such as SNMP, jFlow, and NetFlow as well as helping organizations meet governmental and industry regulations.

Archives

A full-bodied networking monitoring solution offers network administrators insights and information related to the performance of bandwidth in easy to digest and analyze dashboards and lists. All network related data should be archived so that network teams can look back to see how bandwidth usage and network performance changes over time.

Virtual Network Monitoring

As mentioned earlier, the modern enterprise is much more reliant on cloud technology and virtualized network to keep businesses processes running. In today’s cloud heavy environment, a good network monitoring system should offer methods for keeping tabs on systems such as VMWare, Microsoft Hyper-V, Parallels Virtuozzo Container or Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud.

Alerts

Additionally, the importance of timely and relevant alerts can be stressed enough. A solid network bandwidth monitoring tool allows admins with the ability to customize and craft alerts that meet the organization’s unique needs. Alerts can be sent to admins through email, text message, and whole list of list of additional methods. When looking for a powerful network monitoring tool, alerts and alarms should allow administrators to define dependent actions to avoid multiple alerts for a single server crash.

Integrated Clusters

Integrated Clusters improve network security in terms of downtimes of the monitoring tool. With this feature, administrators are equipped with parallel network monitoring by using a variety of instances from the monitoring tool. To illustrate how this may come in handy, imagine that one of these instances fail, the other instances will step up and take over their tasks without any interruption. This in turn keeps network users from possible software failure.

How Ipswitch Can Help

WhatsUp Gold uses the data from flow-enabled network devices to monitor bandwidth utilization as by users, applications, protocols, and connections. Real-time automatic classification of traffic according to type and protocol allows instant tracking and resolution of network congestion issues. Ipswitch provides network teams with increased control over each job in their department with alerts and full real-time monitoring capabilities. With these tools, admins can quickly and easily gain access to insights into all network processes and operations as well as dashboards that allow the usage of network resources.

By monitoring bandwidth, administrators can plan for spikes in network usage, identify bandwidth-hogging applications and users (by IP address) and ensure business-critical applications get the requisite amount of bandwidth. Billing accounts from service providers, which are typically based on peak utilization, can be verified through 95th percentile reporting (a widely-used calculation to measure regular and sustained bandwidth utilization). Validate that business-critical applications get the bandwidth allotted to them by monitoring Cisco NBAR and CBQoS.

WhatsUp Gold Network Traffic Analysis provides comprehensive bandwidth monitoring with detailed insight network traffic by user, application and time of day. Since your network traffic holds the key to providing effective services levels for your business as well as network security issues, bandwidth monitoring should be part of your IT monitoring strategy.

Jeff Edwards

About Jeff Edwards

Jeff Edwards is a tech writer and analyst with three years of experience covering Information Security and IT. Jeff has written on all things cybersecurity, from APTs to zero-days, and previously worked as a reporter covering Boston City Hall.


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