Table of Contents
Table of Contents
Our networks are always changing and evolving. Network Testing for higher speeds, better application and network device performance, and after a new service deployment or migration, helps us understand the impact of changes on our network.
In this article, we’re running you through how to test network performance using Network Testing and Monitoring tools.
Network Testing (or network performance testing), similar to Software Testing, is the process of analyzing and testing your network using a network performance test to identify bugs and performance issues, evaluate large network changes, and measure network performance.
Even the most robust networks experience network problems.
That’s why before and after every new service migration or deployment, every new application or network device, and honestly - just as a continuous practice, perform a network performance test using Network Monitoring to detect and troubleshoot problems as soon as they happen.
Network testing can help you ensure that your network is functioning properly, secure, and able to handle the needs of your organization, while also saving you time and money in the process.
There are several benefits of network testing. Here are some of the key ones:
- Identify and resolve issues: Network testing can help identify problems with the network before they become major issues. By detecting and addressing issues early on, you can prevent downtime, reduce the risk of security breaches, and ensure that the network is operating at optimal levels.
- Optimize network performance: Network testing can help you identify bottlenecks and other performance issues that may be slowing down the network. By optimizing the network's performance, you can ensure that it is able to handle the traffic and data transfer needs of your organization.
- Ensure network security: Network testing can help you identify security vulnerabilities in your network, such as open ports or weak passwords, that could be exploited by attackers. By addressing these vulnerabilities, you can reduce the risk of a security breach.
- Improve user experience: By optimizing the network's performance and ensuring that it is functioning properly, you can improve the user experience for employees, customers, and other stakeholders who rely on the network to access applications and data.
- Save time and money: Network testing can help you identify issues and make improvements more efficiently, which can save time and money in the long run. By preventing downtime and improving performance, you can also avoid the costs associated with lost productivity and revenue.
Here’s how to set up network testing in just a few minutes!
Network testing can be demanding for a network admin. Knowing how to test a network requires a substantial amount of resources and manual effort. But, network monitoring tools can help.
Most traditional network monitoring solutions are passive, and only really monitor devices to notify you if they're up and running or not. But to actually test your network, you need to do better!
An tool like Obkio Network Performance Monitoring software:
- Monitors your complete network from the end-user perspective
- Performance continuous network performance tests (aka network performance testing)
- Measures key network metrics
With continuous network testing using Obkio, you get more detailed information about network problems affecting your network performance and impacting your end-users.
Get started with Obkio’s Free Trial!
Obkio’s Network Monitoring Solution continuously tests and monitors your network performance by sending and monitoring data packets through your network using Network Monitoring Agents.
Network Monitoring Agents exchange synthetic traffic to continuously:
- Measure core network metrics
- Identify network problems
- Collect historical data
- Give you a real-time view of your network performance
For network testing (or network performance testing) with Obkio, it’s important to set up monitoring agents in your key network locations like on your workstation, at your company's head office, branch office, data center, private and public clouds, etc.
Set up your network testing for free with Obkio’s Free Trial.
Before beginning any network testing, it is important to define the goals and requirements of the testing. This helps to ensure that the testing is focused and effective.
Here are some key considerations when defining testing goals and requirements:
- Identify the scope of the testing: The first step is to identify the scope of the testing. This may involve determining which parts of the network will be tested, which performance metrics will be evaluated, and what types of testing will be conducted (e.g. functional testing, performance testing, security testing, etc.).
- Define testing objectives: Once the scope has been identified, it is important to define the testing objectives. This may involve setting specific goals for network performance, identifying areas of the network that need improvement, or testing for compliance with industry standards or regulatory requirements.
- Establish success criteria: To ensure that the testing is effective, it is important to establish success criteria. This involves defining specific metrics or thresholds that must be met in order for the testing to be considered a success. For example, a performance testing goal might be to achieve a minimum bandwidth threshold or maximum latency threshold.
- Determine testing methodology: The testing methodology refers to the specific approach that will be used to conduct the testing. This may involve selecting testing tools, defining test scenarios, or establishing testing procedures.
- Define testing schedule: It is important to establish a testing schedule that allows for adequate time to conduct the testing and analyze the results. This may involve identifying specific dates for testing or establishing a testing timeline.
- Identify stakeholders: Finally, it is important to identify the stakeholders who will be involved in the testing. This may include network administrators, IT teams, management, or other stakeholders who will need to be informed of the testing results.
Once you’ve deployed Obkio Monitoring Agents in key network locations, they will test and measure key network metrics like:
- Jitter: Jitter is the variation in the delay of packet delivery in a network. In other words, it's the difference in the time it takes for packets to arrive at their destination. Jitter can cause issues with real-time applications such as voice over IP (VoIP) and video streaming. Network testing tools can measure jitter to help diagnose and troubleshoot network performance issues.
- Packet loss: Packet loss occurs when data packets are lost or dropped during transmission over a network. Packet loss can be caused by network congestion, faulty hardware, or poor network configurations. High packet loss can result in poor network performance and slow data transfer rates. Packet loss is an important metric for network testing as it helps to identify network issues that can impact overall network performance.
- Latency: Latency refers to the delay between the time when a packet is sent and when it is received. High latency can result in slow network performance, and can impact the user experience of applications such as video conferencing, online gaming, and VoIP. Measuring latency is an important metric for network testing, as it helps to identify potential bottlenecks in the network that can impact overall performance.
- VoIP Quality: VoIP quality refers to the quality of voice calls over a network. Factors that can impact VoIP quality include latency, jitter, packet loss, and network congestion. Measuring VoIP quality with network and VoIP monitoring is an important metric for network testing, as it helps to identify network issues that can impact the user experience of voice calls.
- Throughput: Throughput refers to the amount of data that can be transferred over a network in a given amount of time. Measuring throughput is an important metric for network testing, as it helps to identify the maximum data transfer rate that can be achieved over a network.
- Network speed: Network speed refers to the maximum data transfer rate that can be achieved over a network. Network speed is an important metric for network testing, as it helps to identify the maximum performance that can be achieved over a network.
- And QoE: Quality of Experience (QoE) refers to the overall user experience of a network or application. Factors that can impact QoE include latency, jitter, packet loss, network congestion, and VoIP quality. Measuring QoE is an important metric for network testing, as it helps to identify network issues that can impact the user experience of applications and services.
And display them on Obkio’s Network Response Time Graph. Testing these network metrics allows you to proactively identify any performance degradation in your network, which may be a sign of a network issue arising, or an intermittent network problem in hiding.
One of the main use cases for network testing (network performance testing) is to test your network when substantial changes occur.
Analyzing historical performance data is key to understanding how your network is performing before, after, and during big changes to your network infrastructure.
Obkio measures and collects historical network performance data for you so you can analyze, compare, and troubleshoot performance from the past.
Go back in time to compare network performance before and after a new service migration or deployment, or pin a time range to find and troubleshoot intermittent network problems that pop up sporadically.
As we mentioned earlier, another common use case for network testing is to identify network issues or bugs which are bound to happen, even in the best performing networks.
With this end-to-end testing and monitoring setup, you can collect the data you need to identify and troubleshoot network problems to optimize network performance.
Here are some of the most common network problems to test for:
- Network Slowness: Network slowness occurs when a computer network is operating at a slower-than-normal speed, often resulting in sluggish internet browsing or delays in accessing files or applications.
- Latency: Latency is the time it takes for a message to travel from one point on the network to another. High latency can cause delays and slow down network performance, making it harder for users to access data and applications.
- Packet Loss: Packet loss occurs When packets of data are lost or dropped during transmission. It can lead to retransmissions, which can slow down network performance and increase latency.
- Network Congestion: When there are too many devices using the same network resources, the available bandwidth can cause network congestion, cleading to slower network speeds and longer wait times.
- Packet Duplication: Packet duplication can occur when packets are duplicated during transmission, resulting in additional network traffic and potentially affecting network performance. When packets are duplicated, the receiving device may process the same data multiple times, leading to additional processing overhead.
- Packet Reordering: Packet reordering can occur when packets are received out of order. This can be caused by network congestion or delays in packet delivery. Packet reordering can cause additional processing overhead as the receiving device has to reorder the packets before processing them.
Obkio will also automatically alert you of events like packet loss between certain sites, or users experiencing high levels of jitter during VoIP calls, and more.
To identify the cause, source, time, and location of network problems, you can use network troubleshooting tools like:
- Traceroutes: to identify route, latency and packet loss between two sites and detect exactly where and when network problems happened. View traceroute results with Obkio Visual Traceroute tool.
- 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 network congestion and prioritizes applications more critical or sensitive to performance problems such as VoIP (including VoIP PBX or video).
- Network Device Monitoring: to get detailed information about the health of network devices such as firewalls, routers, switches and wifi access points
Learn how to troubleshoot network issues by identifying where, what, why network problems occur with Network Troubleshooting tools.Learn more
After testing your network performance, and identifying weaknesses, it's crucial to optimize network performance to ensure your network runs smoothly and meets your business needs. Below are some key strategies to consider:
- Troubleshoot network issues: Promptly resolving network problems can prevent them from affecting overall performance and ensure a smooth network operation.
- Verify network connections: Ensure that all network connections are correctly configured and functional. Check cables, routers, switches, and other hardware to ensure they are connected and configured properly.
- Upgrade network hardware: Updating network hardware can improve network performance. Consider upgrading to faster switches, routers, and servers, as well as increasing bandwidth and storage capacity.
- Optimize network settings: Fine-tuning network settings like packet and buffer sizes, and Quality of Service (QoS) settings can enhance network performance. Configuring QoS settings can prioritize essential traffic, reducing latency and improving user experience.
- Implement load balancing: Distribute network traffic across multiple servers to minimize server overload and enhance resource utilization. This can reduce network congestion and minimize downtime.
- Use Content Delivery Networks (CDNs): CDNs deliver web content from the server closest to users, reducing latency and improving network performance.
- Implement Software-Defined Networking (SDN): SDN simplifies network management, control, and optimization, enhancing network performance and making your business more agile.
- Conduct regular network maintenance: Regular network maintenance, including monitoring network traffic, updating and patching, and keeping an eye out for potential issues, can prevent security threats and other issues that can affect network performance.
No matter how efficiently your network is performing, and how quickly you've troubleshooted performance issues - network problems can always come back.
Continuous network testing is essential for optimizing network performance and ensuring that the network meets business needs. To achieve this, it's important to have a dedicated team and solution that can continually work to optimize the network.
That's why Obkio is here to be your own personal network admin!
By implementing network testing tools such as Obkio, businesses can keep a permanent eye on their network, monitor network performance, and optimize it as needed. These tools can help businesses identify and address network issues promptly, prevent downtime, and ensure that the network is running at peak performance.
- Identifying issues before they become critical: Continuous network testing allows businesses to identify potential issues before they become critical. Early detection of issues enables prompt remediation, minimizing downtime and preventing damage to the network and business operations.
- Keeping up with changing network demands: As network demands change, continuous testing helps ensure that the network adapts to meet those demands. For example, if a business experiences a sudden surge in traffic, continuous testing can detect any network bottlenecks and help administrators quickly optimize the network to handle the increased traffic.
- Maximizing network performance: Continuous network testing helps ensure that the network is running at peak performance, delivering the speed, reliability, and security that the business needs to thrive. Regular testing and optimization can help reduce downtime, minimize latency, and enhance the user experience.
If you're in charge of maintaining a computer network, then you know that ensuring optimal network performance is crucial. But with so many network testing tools available, it can be hard to know where to start. That's why we've put together a list of some of the best network testing tools available. Whether you're a network administrator, IT professional, or just someone who wants to learn more about networking, these tools can help you monitor, troubleshoot, and optimize your network performance.
- Obkio: Obkio is a cloud-based network performance monitoring and testing tool that helps businesses monitor and troubleshoot network issues in real-time. Obkio provides a simple and easy-to-use interface that allows you to monitor network performance metrics such as latency, packet loss, and jitter. It also provides a network speed test that lets you measure your network bandwidth and test your network speed against different locations.
- PingPlotter: PingPlotter is a network monitoring tool that helps you identify network issues by continuously monitoring network performance and providing real-time visualizations. PingPlotter provides a real-time graph that shows you network performance metrics such as latency, packet loss, and jitter. It also allows you to customize alerts to notify you when network issues arise.
- Wireshark: Wireshark is a network protocol analyzer that lets you capture and view network traffic in real-time. Wireshark is an open-source tool that can capture network traffic on multiple operating systems. Wireshark provides a user-friendly interface that allows you to filter and analyze captured network packets.
- Netcat: Netcat is a versatile networking tool that allows you to send and receive data over a network connection. Netcat can be used for a variety of network testing purposes, including port scanning, file transfer, and network troubleshooting.
- Nmap: Nmap is a network exploration tool that lets you discover hosts and services on a computer network. Nmap can scan large networks and provides a variety of output formats that are useful for network analysis and troubleshooting.
- Iperf: Iperf is a network performance testing tool that measures network throughput, jitter, and packet loss. Iperf can be used for testing the performance of TCP and UDP connections and provides detailed network performance metrics.
- Nagios: Nagios is a powerful network monitoring tool that provides alerts when network issues arise. Nagios can monitor a variety of network devices, including servers, routers, and switches. Nagios provides a user-friendly interface that allows you to customize alerts and notifications.
- SolarWinds Network Performance Monitor: SolarWinds Network Performance Monitor is a comprehensive network monitoring and performance tool that provides real-time network analysis and troubleshooting. SolarWinds Network Performance Monitor provides a variety of network monitoring features, including SNMP monitoring, NetFlow analysis, and WAN performance testing.
- Zabbix: Zabbix is an open-source network monitoring tool that provides real-time monitoring and alerting capabilities. Zabbix can monitor a variety of network devices and provides detailed network performance metrics. Zabbix also provides customizable alerting and notification features.
- NetStress: NetStress is a network benchmarking tool that lets you stress test your network and measure its performance. NetStress can be used to test network bandwidth, network latency, and network throughput. NetStress provides detailed performance metrics that can be used for network analysis and troubleshooting.
Discover the top 30 network monitoring tools that provide you with all the information you need to keep your network running smoothly.Learn more
These are just a few of the many network testing tools available. Which tool you choose to use depends on your specific needs and requirements.
With our growing reliance on a high performing network to run cloud applications, communicate virtually and manage our businesses, network testing and monitoring is more important than ever.
With a network monitoring solution, you can continuously test your network so you always have visibility over changes, problems, and areas for improvement.
To set up network monitoring to test, diagnose, and troubleshoot your network, get started for free with Obkio’s Free Trial!
- 14-day free trial of all premium features
- Deploy in just 10 minutes
- Monitor performance in all key network locations
- Measure real-time network metrics
- Identify and troubleshoot live network problems