Continuous Network Monitoring for Proactive Troubleshooting

Alyssa Lamberti
Alyssa Lamberti Last updated on Oct. 29, 2020

Continuous Network Monitoring for Proactive Troubleshooting

In Summary

While many IT pros and everyday users may turn to network monitoring tools to find and fix network problems in emergency situations, that real long-term benefit of network monitoring happens when you continuously and proactively monitor network performance. In this article, we’ll be talking about continuous monitoring for proactive troubleshooting.

Table of Contents
Table of Contents

In previous articles, we always talk about how there are 3 common network monitoring use cases that everyone should be aware of. There are many benefits and reasons to monitor network performance, but generally, post people turn to network performance monitoring for 3 things:

  1. Network Assessment
  2. Network Troubleshooting
  3. Continuous Monitoring

When you’re thinking about why continuous network monitoring is important, remember that: Proactively leads to productivity.

The key to optimizing network performance and finding network problems before they affect end-users is to always be:

  • Monitoring
  • Testing
  • Fixing

We’ve spoken about the use cases in previous articles about Network Assessment for IT Migration or Deployment, and Network Performance Monitoring for Network Troubleshooting, so now this article is dedicated to Continuous Network Monitoring.

What is Network Monitoring?
What is Network Monitoring?

As a little recap to make sure we’re all on the same page, here is what network monitoring is in our books.

Network monitoring or network performance monitoring is the process of monitoring and measuring collective network metrics to define the quality of services offered by a network, primarily measured from an end-user perspective.

Simply put, network monitoring refers to measures of service quality of a network, as seen by the customer or end-user.

When it comes to network monitoring, remember that:

  • Network Performance is something that can be measured. You can’t fix what you can’t measure - and you can definitely measure network performance with network metrics like packet loss, jitter, throughput, and more!

  • Network Quality refers to the quality of the network connection and is based on factors like: is the connection stable and fast or, slow, laggy, etc?

  • The End-User Perspective is what defines good or bad performance. Good network performance is the network's ability to perform to the user’s expectations.

We cover this topic and much more in our article on the 10 most asked network performance questions!

10 Most Asked Network Performance Questions
10 Most Asked Network Performance Questions

Learn the answers to the 10 most asked network performance questions to give you a basic understanding of how and why to measure network performance.

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What is Continuous Network Monitoring?
What is Continuous Network Monitoring?

Now, let’s get into the specifics. As I mentioned at the beginning, some people may turn to network monitoring in emergency situations to specifically identify network issues that may be plaguing their business. So, they notice some network degradation or performance issues, and they need to perform a network assessment to find out what’s wrong, and then perform some network troubleshooting to pinpoint and solve these issues.

While many users of network monitoring software may discover the tool in an emergency situation, they soon realize that the real benefit comes with continuous network monitoring.

Continuous network monitoring is the process of continuously monitoring network performance to provide real-time data on the overall health of IT infrastructure, including networks and applications deployed in the cloud.

The goal of continuous monitoring and the reason that organizations implement continuous network monitoring software is to increase the visibility of network performance, and proactively catch any signs of network degradation before they reach users, and turn into real problems.

Continuous network monitoring can also play a role in monitoring the operational performance of applications. It can help companies establish a network performance baseline that can help them identify performance degradation, as well as serve as a comparison point for network optimization.

In summary, continuous network monitoring:

  • Becomes a permanent installation for continuous monitoring for your business.
  • Proactively discovers network issues and alerts those responsible for fixing them.
  • Notifies the IT team of any network degradation whatsoever, before it becomes a real problem.

Network Performance Chord Diagram

The Benefits of Continuous Network Monitoring
The Benefits of Continuous Network Monitoring

As I mentioned earlier, the real benefits of network monitoring shine through with continuous network monitoring. The more proactive you are when it comes to finding and fixing network issues, the less time and money your business spends on troubleshooting and damage control. If you’re curious, we cover the benefits of network performance monitoring as a whole in our article on the reasons to monitor network performance.

Here are the benefits:

1. Identify Network Slowdowns:
1. Identify Network Slowdowns:

Continuous network monitoring allows to identify and troubleshoot network slowdowns and not just hard failures - before they turn into problems. Any performance degradation can be the sign of an upcoming, much larger issue - so it’s important to find and fix slowdowns before your users start experiencing them too.

2. Find & Fix Network Issues:
2. Find & Fix Network Issues:

Quickly and easily pinpoint the location of a problem with access to network data in real-time. With continuous network monitoring, you have access to minute-by-minute network updates, so you can go back in time to see actually where and when a problem occurred. With a software like Obkio, you can get network updates every 500ms.

3. Detect Network Issues Before Users Do:
3. Detect Network Issues Before Users Do:

Continuous network monitoring gives you a real-time overview of your network at all times, so you can identify, locate, and solve issues before they start affecting end-users.

4. Establish A Performance Baseline:
4. Establish A Performance Baseline:

Remember: you can’t fix what you can’t measure! The only way to really understand if your network is performing poorly is to continuously measure network performance, establish a baseline, and compare your current performance to an established ideal level.

Top 7 Reasons Why You Should Monitor Network Performance
Top 7 Reasons Why You Should Monitor Network Performance

Find out the 7 biggest reasons to monitor network performance. Troubleshoot network slowdowns and not just hard failures, monitor remote offices and more.

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A Continuous Network Monitoring Use Case
A Continuous Network Monitoring Use Case

Now, let’s go through an example of when and how continuous network monitoring can help optimize performance!

The Problem:
The Problem:

IT teams have a lot on their plates, which means that there are times when users may complain about intermittent network issues, and by the time the IT team has had a chance to look at them, the issues have disappeared. Or at least they’ve disappeared for the moment, waiting to come back when you least expect.

The truth is that it's bad user experience for users to report issues at all, so you want to ensure that an issue is resolved before it ever reaches the user. And if a problem has already happened, you need to make sure it never happens again.

The Solution:
The Solution:

Deploy a continuous network performance monitoring solution to proactively monitor and identify network issues affecting user experience, even before they realize there’s an issue at all.

You can set up alerts for the whole IT team to be notified when a network problem is detected, or when any network degradation occurs!

The Gain:
The Gain:

Proactively fix issues, even before they affect users.

Not only will this avoid the string of complaints making their way to the IT department, but it’ll also create value for your team, knowing that they can stay on top of network performance, before it becomes a problem.

With a network performance monitor, businesses can also establish a performance baseline for network performance, and continue to make modifications to optimize network performance in the long run.

Network Performance Monitoring VoIP Quality

How to Continuously Monitor Network Performance
How to Continuously Monitor Network Performance

Seeing as continuous network monitoring requires the monitoring to be, well, continuous, it’s not easy to do so manually unless it’s your one and only job. Even then, it’s hard to get the kind of granularity you need on network performance if you try to do it manually.

That’s why we always recommend monitoring network performance using a Network Performance Monitoring software. This tool becomes a permanent part of your IT solution, and essentially acts like your network administrator. You don’t need to tell a network performance monitoring software when to monitor network performance, because it’ll always be running in the background and let you know when something isn’t right.

Obkio is a simple Network Performance Monitoring software for IT pros that allows users to continuously monitor end-to-end performance of their network and core business applications to identify network issues, collect data on network performance, and improve the end-user experience!

Some of Obkio’s features that facilitate continuous network monitoring include:

Synthetic Traffic
Synthetic Traffic

Obkio continuously monitors network performance using synthetic traffic. Network Monitoring Agents exchange UDP traffic to monitor network performance between each pair of Agents. This light traffic is non-intrusive and very secure, and doesn't require any packet capture, which ensures that it respects the users' privacy and doesn't require changes to device configurations.

Network Monitoring in Real-Time
Network Monitoring in Real-Time

Obkio’s Network Monitoring Agents send synthetic traffic every 500 ms to measure network performance between each other twice a second. Compared to other solutions, Obkio’s Network Performance Monitor will continuously monitor network performance instead of executing periodic checks at various intervals. This is key to quickly identifying intermittent issues that cause slowness in networks.

Automatic Alerting
Automatic Alerting

Obkio continuously monitors network performance, but you don’t always have to be on the lookout. That’s because Obkio allows you to set up automatic alerts that notify you, or any selected members of your team, whenever the software detects network issues anywhere in your network. It can also let you know of any network performance degradation at all, so you can act before a problem actually develops.

Establish A Baseline & History
Establish A Baseline & History

How do you start monitoring network performance? Well, you need to establish good performance from bad performance. Obkio collects performance history, allowing you to go back in time and establish a baseline of the network performance with a 1-minute granularity. You can also go back in time to troubleshoot past network issues.

How to Identify Network Issues
How to Identify Network Issues

Learn how to identify network issues by looking at common problems, causes, consequences and solutions.

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The best part is that deploying Obkio for continuous network monitoring is easy!

  1. Create an Account: Firstly, sign up for an Obkio account to get access and find the Obkio plan that best fits your needs . You can also sign up for a free 14-day trial to try out all of Obkio’s premium features and see which ones you love!

  2. Deploy A Monitoring Agent: Deploy a, software, hardware, virtual, or public network performance monitoring Agents at strategic locations in your business’ network such as data sites, remote sites, external client sites, or public or private clouds.

  3. Configure Monitoring Sessions: Configure monitoring sessions between monitoring Agent, alarm, and notification thresholds. Network Performance is always measured between two agents; this measurement instance is what we call a Monitoring Session. They allow you to easily identify the causes of intermittent VoIP Quality, video, and applications slowdown in seconds. Notification thresholds allow Obkio to know when network performance is degrading, and what it should notify you.

  4. Start Monitoring! Once you’ve completed the previous steps, you’re ready to start monitoring! You can then start collecting and analysing network data and view the results in your Obkio App. As I mentioned earlier, Obkio will continuously monitor network performance for you so you don’t have to.

Continuous network monitoring leads to proactively, and proactivity leads to productivity. And when it comes to optimizing network performance, you need to be productive to keep monitoring, keep fixing, and keep optimizing.

Try Obkio today by signing up for our free 14-day trial!