How to Monitor SD-WAN Networks

Alyssa Lamberti
Alyssa Lamberti Last updated on Jan. 17, 2022

How to Monitor SD-WAN Networks

In Summary

Many businesses lack visibility over their SD-WAN networks. Keep reading to learn how to monitor SD-WAN networks using Network Monitoring before, during, and after SD-WAN network migrations to know if your SD-WAN service is performing as promised.

Table of Contents
Table of Contents

Businesses are increasingly moving to cloud-based applications, which increases our reliance on the Internet to deliver WAN traffic. As a result, many businesses are migrating from MPLS networks to hybrid WAN architectures and SD-WAN technology.

One mistake that businesses make when migrating to SD-WAN is that they lack visibility. Vendors often exaggerate the promises of the network and application monitoring capabilities of their SD-WAN solutions, however, most solutions don’t offer the depth and visibility needed for monitoring modern WAN networks.

In reality, 75% of IT professionals have significant challenges with the native monitoring features of their SD-WAN implementations.

Additionally, there are few monitoring tools that can truly monitor SD-WAN network performance from the user perspective, which is extremely important to understand if your SD-WAN service is performing as promised.

That’s why we’re running you through how to monitor SD-WAN network performance using modern decentralized solutions, like Obkio.

1. Deploy a Network Monitoring Software
1. Deploy a Network Monitoring Software

To monitor SD-WAN networks, you need a modern solution that monitors end-to-end network performance to identify network problems before and after your SD-WAN migration. Traditional monitoring solutions that focus on your device won’t give you real insight into your network’s performance.

A Network Monitoring tool like Obkio continuously monitors end-to-end network performance with synthetic traffic using Network Monitoring Agents.

These Monitoring Agents monitor network performance from the source (your computer or your office) up to the destination (another office, datacenter or clouds) to identify and troubleshoot network problems affecting SD-WAN networks.

Use Obkio’s free trial and Getting Started Tutorial to begin.

2. Monitor your SD-WAN Migration
2. Monitor your SD-WAN Migration

When performing an SD-WAN migration, it’s important to deploy your monitoring solution before the migration so you can compare the performance before and after the migration.

To monitor network performance prior to your SD-WAN network migration, we recommend deploying Monitoring Agents with sessions in your local network, and Agents monitoring performance between remote offices and your company’s headquarters, data centers or clouds.

In the example below, a local monitoring agent in a branch office has a monitoring session towards a monitoring agent located in a data center.

SD-WAN Migration with Obkio Monitoring

In this example, the branch office migrated from a dedicated low-bandwidth MPLS connection to an SD-WAN service with two brandband connections. The migration occurred in the middle of the graph (around 18:20). A few minutes later, around 19:00, the SD-WAN service switched from the primary ISP to the secondary ISP due to high packet loss for about 15 minutes. There is just a little bit of packet loss during the failover because it took a few seconds for the SD-WAN appliance to failover.

3. Monitor the SD-WAN Promise
3. Monitor the SD-WAN Promise

To be able to truly see the performance, and promise, of your SD-WAN network, you need to monitor performance from the end-user perspective, as well as the underlay connections themself to compare the performance.

Luckily Obkio can monitor SD-WAN network performance like an end-user and can also monitor each connection used by the SD-WAN appliance.

For example, the following screenshot shows a dashboard with three network monitoring sessions. The monitoring sessions are configured between:

  • A local Monitoring Agent behind the SD-WAN appliance
  • And three remote Monitoring Agents that are located at the same location (either cloud, datacenter or head office)

The three network monitoring sessions monitor the network performance between the two locations using different connections:

  • The performance as seen by the end-user (load balanced between the connection using the SD-WAN algorithm) - top graph
  • The performance of the ISP A connection - middle graph
  • The performance of the ISP B connection - bottom graph

SD-WAN Monitoring with Obkio

This setup is used by many of our customers using SD-WAN technologies. This way, they are able to confirm the real network performance of the end-users traffic and also monitor each ISP connection. In that example, the top graph is the real network performance for the branch end-users. There are 3 connection changes in that example:

  • A bit after 18:00: congestion on ISP A, failover to ISP B after a few seconds;
  • Around 18:20: congestion disappear, back to ISP A;
  • A bit before 20:00: packet loss and higher latency/jitter on ISP A, failover to ISP B.

4. Analyze Historical Data
4. Analyze Historical Data

Analyzing historical performance data is key to understanding the effect of the SD-WAN migration on your network.

That’s why Obkio also measures and collects historical network performance data, so you can analyze, compare, and troubleshoot performance from the past and compare performance before your SD-WAN migration and after.

Analyzing historical data allows you to go back in time to identify intermittent network problems that may look like they disappeared.

How to Detect and Identify Intermittent Network Problems

Learn how to detect intermittent network problems to troubleshoot performance issues that are hard to catch with Obkio Network Monitoring software.

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5. Identify SD-WAN Network Problems
5. Identify SD-WAN Network Problems

You can now use all the data you’ve collected to actually identify network problems related to your SD-WAN migration and collect the information you’ll use to troubleshoot.

Analyze the information Obkio collects before your SD-WAN network migration and after to identify:

  • What the problem is
  • Where the problem is located
  • What caused the problem
  • When the problem happened
  • Who is responsible for the network segment

Once you’ve identified any network problems affecting your SD-WAN network, a great monitoring solution will also allow you to collect the data you need to troubleshoot these network problems with tools like:

  • Traceroutes: to identify route, latency and packet loss between two sites and detect exactly where and when network problems happened.

  • Speed Tests: to validate if the bandwidth you need is readily available.

  • Prioritization and QoS: which increases network efficiency in the event of congestion and prioritizes applications more critical or sensitive to performance problems such as VoIP or video.

  • Network Device Monitoring: to collect information about the performance of network devices such as firewalls, routers, switches and wifi access points.

Start your SD-WAN Migration
Start your SD-WAN Migration

Are you planning a migration to a new SD-WAN network?

Network Monitoring is an essential risk management tool and should be performed to qualify your network for your SD-WAN migration, as well as to monitor changes in performance after.

Remember, after your migration, keep continuously monitoring your SD-WAN network with Obkio to proactively identify network problems and performance issues!

Get started with Obkio for free!

Consult Obkio's documentation on SD-WAN Monitoring for more detailed setup instructions.

SD-WAN Network Monitoring Documentation
SD-WAN Network Monitoring Documentation

Start monitoring your SD-WAN migration and individual connections to identify and troubleshoot network problems in 15 minutes with Obkio!

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