How to Perform a Network Assessment
We rely on our network to be the backbone of our businesses. From your Internet, to your VPN, to running VoIP and Unified Communication applications, networks have large responsibilities. But how can you know if your network is performing as it should be? That’s when you perform a network assessment.
In this article, we’re teaching you how to perform a network assessment for your entire network infrastructure using Obkio Network Monitoring Solution.
- What is a Network Assessment?
- Deploy a Network Monitoring Software
- Consider Your Network Assessment Objectives
- Measure Network Metrics
- Analyze Historical Data
- Identify Network Problems
- Troubleshoot Network Performance
- Start a Free Network Assessment
A IT network assessment is an in-depth network infrastructure analysis to collect and analyze comprehensive data about your network’s health, including current network issues, any signs of network performance degradation, and places for improvement or network optimization.
Network Assessments are an essential risk management tool and should be performed to qualify your network for a new service deployment or migration such as:
- Migration from on-premise PBX to hosted VoIP
- Migration from VoIP to Microsoft Teams or other UC platforms
- Migrating from an MPLS network to an SD-WAN network
- Migrating from an on-premise ERP to a cloud-based ERP
- Or any other on-premise to cloud migrations
We talk more in depth about the purpose and benefits of Network Assessments in our article on Network Assessment for A Successful IT Migration or Deployment.
Learn about the importance of performing a network assessment before a network migration or the deployment of a new service to ensure a successful migration.Learn more
Trying to perform a network infrastructure assessment without a tool to help can be time consuming, and frankly can’t give you the same level of detail.
The best network assessment tool is a Network Monitoring software, like Obkio.
Obkio continuously monitors end-to-end network performance by sending and monitoring data packets through your network every 500ms using Network Monitoring Agents.
The Monitoring Agents then perform tests from all ends of your network to pinpoint performance issues or identify any weaknesses that may cause problems in the future.
You can use Obkio’s free trial and Getting Started Tutorial to perform a free network assessment (POC) to quickly determine if your network is causing problems, and gather information to help you troubleshoot.
You may perform a network assessment for a variety of reasons, so it’s important to consider your objectives to know what you expect from the results.
- Why do you want to perform a network assessment?
- Are you looking to identify intermittent network problems that are impacting your network?
- Are you looking to optimize network performance?
- Are you preparing your network for a new service deployment or migration?
- Are you performing an overall health check to assess the status of your network and make proactive decisions before anything goes wrong?
To assess and compare network performance data over time, you must first measure key network metrics associated with network performance and collect a history of the data you’ve measured.
Measuring these network metrics allows you to quickly understand and identify any performance issues in your network, which is one of the most important objectives of performing a network assessment.
Obkio provides metric updates every minute so you can get real-time metric measurements. You can also further drill-down to identify exactly what and where is causing network problems.
Analyzing historical performance data is key to understanding how your network is actually performing. To get an accurate network assessment, it’s important to analyze performance data over time to catch intermittent issues.
That’s why Obkio’s solution also measures and collects historical network performance data, so you can analyze, compare, and troubleshoot performance from the past.
Analyzing historical data allows you to go back in time to identify and troubleshoot intermittent network problems that may look like they disappeared.
Learn how to measure network performance with key network metrics like throughput, latency, packet loss, jitter, packet reordering and more!Learn more
Obkio will provide you with all the data you need to properly assess your network performance. You can even create your own dashboard with a summary of your network metric measurements, the results of speed tests, and a detailed analysis of any network issues that may have been discovered.
You can 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
Identifying network problems should be a key objective when performing a network assessment. Network problems, even intermittent ones, can frustrate users, affect your business operations, and cause bigger headaches in the future.
To help you really identify network problems, Obkio uses aggregation to show you the worst metric measurements in order to highlight network issues, where they’re located and what’s causing them.
For example, when measuring packet loss, the packet loss displayed over an aggregated period of 1h is the worst packet loss of all the small 1-min periods in the hour.
This is key because only showing you the average amount of packet loss on your network may hide intermittent network issues.
If you measure the average packet loss every 4 hours, the average may be good, but you can have 80% during a few minutes - which signals a big problem.
Learn how to identify network issues by looking at common problems, causes, consequences and solutions.Learn more
Once you’ve performed your network assessment and identified network problems, you need to troubleshoot network issues and optimize your network performance.
A great network monitoring tool will allow you to collect the data you need for network troubleshooting with your IT or network team, or share the data with your Service Provider for faster troubleshooting.
When troubleshooting network problems, several tools are available to help:
Traceroutes: to identify route, latency and packet loss between two sites and detect exactly where and when network problems happened. You can also share traceroute results with your Service Provider to help them troubleshoot.
Network Device Monitoring: to get detailed information about the health of network devices such as firewalls, routers, switches and wifi access points. It can also help you identify if network problems are located in your LAN, on your Firewall or in your Internet Service Provider’s network.
Speed Tests: which allow you 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.
Learn how to troubleshoot network issues by identifying where, what, why network problems occur with Network Troubleshooting tools.Learn more
At this point, you should have a pretty good understanding of what is going on in your network.
You should have:
- A continuous network monitoring solution
- Measurements of key network metrics
- Historical performance data
- Identification of issues in your network (you can even set up alerts for those)
- Tools to help you troubleshoot
As a reminder, you can do it all in minutes Obkio’s Getting Started Documentation!