Table of Contents
Table of Contents
Picture this: You're the IT manager at a large company, and you're responsible for ensuring that your network is running smoothly. But how do you know if everything is working as it should be? You could wait for someone to report a problem, but that's reactive and not ideal. You could monitor your network constantly, but that's impractical and time-consuming. So what's the solution?
Enter synthetic monitoring, the secret sauce to network monitoring. Synthetic monitoring is like having a secret agent on your team, constantly testing your network's performance, detecting problems before they become major issues, and providing you with invaluable insights into your network's health.
Many traditional network monitoring solutions use a packet capture method to capture real-user data and monitor network performance. Now, modern network monitoring tools have switched to synthetic monitoring as a way to monitor network performance more securely - without collecting user information.
In this blog post, we'll take a closer look at what synthetic monitoring is, how it works, and why it's the key to unlocking the full potential of your network. So fasten your seatbelt and get ready to discover the power of synthetic monitoring!
Synthetic monitoring, which is also known as active monitoring or proactive monitoring is a network performance monitoring technique used to monitor application and network performance by simulating user activit with network resources to test network performance and detect issues. In other words, synthetic monitoring creates a virtual environment that mimics the behavior of real users and applications on the network, allowing IT teams to proactively identify and resolve network issues before they impact users.
Synthetic monitors work like bots that connect to websites, web applications and services, APIs, and network destinations to simulate an action or path that a customer or end-user would take on a site, application or other software (or even hardware). Those paths are then continuously measured and monitored at specified intervals to monitor performance metrics such as functionality, network availability, and response time measures.
Since synthetic monitoring is considered an active or proactive approach to network monitoring, it monitors performance on a periodic basis to continuously monitor network performance and catch network problems at all times.
Synthetic network monitoring isn't just for techies - it's the superhero your network needs! By simulating user interactions, synthetic monitoring can detect issues before they become major problems, optimize network performance, and save organizations money. Let's dive deeper into the advantages of synthetic monitoring and see how it can help your network achieve peak performance!
- Proactive issue detection: Synthetic monitoring enables IT teams to detect issues before real users are impacted. By simulating user interactions, IT teams can identify and resolve issues before they escalate into major problems.
- Comprehensive network monitoring: Synthetic monitoring provides a comprehensive view of network performance, regardless of whether there are real users currently active on the network. It can also simulate various user scenarios, such as high traffic loads, to test the network's capacity and scalability.
- Performance optimization: Synthetic monitoring helps IT teams optimize network performance by identifying bottlenecks and areas for improvement. By monitoring response times and availability of network resources, IT teams can identify performance issues and take steps to improve them.
- Cost savings: Synthetic monitoring can save organizations money by reducing the need for expensive hardware and infrastructure. By using simulated traffic instead of real user traffic, IT teams can reduce the load on the network and avoid costly downtime.
- Improved user experience: By proactively detecting and resolving issues, synthetic monitoring can improve the overall user experience. It can help ensure that network resources are available and responsive, leading to increased user satisfaction.
In summary, synthetic network monitoring is a powerful tool that enables IT teams to proactively monitor and optimize network performance, saving organizations money, and improving the user experience.
Synthetic Monitoring is a term applied to many different types of website and server monitoring solutions, but in this article, we’re going to focus on synthetic network monitoring.
Synthetic network monitoring software, like Obkio Network Performance Monitoring software, were created as easier and more secure options to traditional packet-capture or real-user monitoring solutions, which capture and analyze real-user data.
With concerns about data privacy and security becoming more and more important, synthetic monitoring has become the better, more secure option to help businesses monitor network performance, identify network issues, and improve the end-user experience.
Don't leave your network performance to chance - unleash the power of synthetic monitoring with Obkio! Sign up for Obkio's Free Trial today and let our supercharged software keep your network running like a well-oiled machine. Say goodbye to downtime and hello to peak performance - your network (and your users) will thank you!
- 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
Ladies and gentlemen, get ready for the ultimate network monitoring showdown! In this corner, we have synthetic monitoring, the proactive and comprehensive approach to network monitoring that simulates user interactions to detect issues before they even happen. And in the other corner, we have Passive Monitoring (packet capture), the reactive approach that captures all network traffic in real-time to provide detailed information about network traffic.
Which approach will come out on top? Let's find out in this epic battle between Synthetic Monitoring vs. Passive Monitoring (Packet Capture)!
Synthetic monitoring creates a continuous network monitoring solution that allows you to find problems before your users do. Using network monitoring agents, synthetic monitoring can provide a true view from an end-user perspective, allowing you to see if your application and network performance can meet your users’ expectations.
- Simulates user interactions to test network performance and detect issues
- Provides a comprehensive view of network performance, regardless of real user activity on the network
- Can be used to test various user scenarios and traffic loads
- Provides proactive issue detection and performance optimization
- Can be less resource-intensive than packet capture
Passive Monitoring (Packet Capture) or Real-User Monitoring is a monitoring technique that captures and analyzes every transaction of every user of your website or application. It is a form of passive monitoring that relies on capturing real-user traffic to monitor availability, functionality, and responsiveness.
- Captures and analyzes all network traffic in real-time
- Provides detailed information about network traffic, including packet payload and metadata
- Can be used to identify issues related to lower-level network protocols
Ultimately, the choice between synthetic network monitoring and passive monitoring depends on the specific needs and goals of the organization. But, Synthetic Monitoring has gained more and more popularity over passive packet capture methods in recent years for a variety of different reasons.
Synthetic network monitoring has several advantages over Passive Monitoring:
- Respecting user privacy: Synthetic network monitoring does not capture real user traffic, which helps to respect user privacy. Passive Monitoring or acket capture, on the other hand, captures all network traffic, including potentially sensitive user data, which can be a concern for organizations that handle sensitive information.
- Proactive issue detection: Synthetic network monitoring simulates user interactions with network resources, which allows IT teams to detect issues before they impact real users on the network. In contrast, Passive Monitoring (packet capture) provides reactive issue detection, meaning that issues are identified after they occur.
- Comprehensive view of network performance: Synthetic network monitoring provides a comprehensive view of network performance, regardless of real user activity on the network. Packet capture, on the other hand, only captures traffic that is actually happening on the network, which may not provide a complete picture of network performance.
- Can be less resource-intensive: Synthetic network monitoring can be less resource-intensive than packet capture, as it only generates simulated traffic that is designed to test specific user scenarios. In contrast, packet capture captures all network traffic in real-time, which can require significant resources and storage capacity.
- Can test various user scenarios and traffic loads: Synthetic network monitoring allows IT teams to test various user scenarios and traffic loads, which can help identify issues that may not be detected by packet capture.
Overall, synthetic network monitoring provides a proactive and comprehensive approach to network monitoring that can help IT teams identify and resolve issues before they impact real users on the network. While packet capture provides detailed information about network traffic and can be used to identify issues related to lower-level network protocols, it may not provide a complete picture of network performance and can be more resource-intensive.
Well it was the most common monitoring technique, Passive Monitoring (packet capture) has some downsides compared to Synthetic Monitoring, which is why it's become less popular over time:
- Requires User Action: Passive Monitoring or Real-User Monitoring requires user action to initiate the test, which means that it can’t continuously monitor network performance if there are no users active on the network. This means that an issue can go unnoticed for quite some time during periods of reduced site traffic and that issues are usually only identified after they occur.
- Resource Heavy: Passive Monitoring may require more resources and storage capacity than synthetic network monitoring. It also requires equipment that is the correct size for your network capacity. That means that you need larger equipment to capture 10Gbps connection than 100Mbps. So you may need to change and upgrade equipment depending on your growing network capacity.
- Not End-to-End: Passive Monitoring may not provide a comprehensive view of network performance, as it only captures traffic that is actually happening on the network
- Uses Real User: Passive Monitoring captures and monitors real-user traffic to analyze performance. With growing concerns about privacy and personal data, capturing any real-user data at all, even traffic, is something that users may not be all too comfortable with.
- Creates High Volume: The sheer volume of data generated by real-user monitoring can cause a serious loud on your network. Real-user monitoring will generate X number of users, X times the data, so 100 users result in 100 times more transaction datasets. If your business isn’t prepared, this can cause significant strain on your network, which may lead to decreased performance.
Alright, it's time to dive into the nitty-gritty of synthetic monitoring! Don't worry, it's not as complicated as it sounds. Basically, synthetic monitoring works by simulating user interactions with network resources to test performance and identify issues. Think of it like a high-tech puppet show, with synthetic monitoring pulling the strings to see how the network responds. Ready to see how it all comes together? Let's go!
Synthetic monitoring involves simulating user interactions with network resources to test performance and identify issues. Here's how it works:
- Defining Your Use Case: First, IT teams define the use cases that they want to test. These scenarios are typically based on typical user behavior on the network, such as logging in, browsing web pages, or streaming videos. You can also use synthetic monitoring to monitor network performance as a whole, identify network issues, and optimize network performance.
- Finding the Right Synthetic Monitoring Tool: Synthetic Monitoring tools are quickly overtaking Passive or Packet Capture monitoring tools in the Network Monitoring space - and for good reason! With so many tools available on the market, there's a variety of options to choose from.
- Deploying Monitoring Scripts or Agents: Using a synthetic monitoring solution like Obkio, IT teams create then simulate user traffic in the network. Some synthetic monitoring tools use test scripts that send requests to network resources and simulate user interactions. Tools like Obkio are even easier to use, and utilize software called Network Monitoring Agents, which are deployed at key network locations and exchange synthetic traffic to measure network metrics.
- Generating Traffic: Once the Monitoring Agents or test scripts are set up, synthetic monitoring generates traffic by simulating user interactions. This traffic is generated from various locations, including cloud-based servers and on-premise hardware.
- Collecting Data: Synthetic monitoring collects data on network performance based on the test scripts and generated traffic. This data includes metrics such as network response time, availability, and error rates. It provides IT teams with a comprehensive view of network performance, even in situations where there is no real user traffic.
- Analyzing Results: IT teams can then analyze the results of synthetic monitoring to identify issues and optimize network performance. Synthetic monitoring provides real-time alerts when issues are detected, allowing IT teams to take proactive steps to address them.
Overall, synthetic monitoring provides a valuable tool for IT teams to test network performance and identify issues. By simulating user interactions and generating traffic, synthetic monitoring offers a comprehensive view of network performance, even in situations where there is no real user traffic.
With the help of a synthetic monitoring solution like Obkio, IT teams can improve network performance and ensure a positive user experience.
Alright, time to put this synthetic monitoring stuff into action! With Obkio's cloud-based solution, implementing synthetic monitoring is easier than ordering a pizza. And way more satisfying (sorry, pizza). With Obkio's help, you'll be able to optimize your network performance like a pro. So grab your tool belt and let's get to work!
Synthetic monitoring is generally a feature of Network Monitoring tools like Obkio. Obkio is a cloud-based synthetic network monitoring solution that allows IT teams to simulate user interactions with network resources to test network performance and detect issues.
- Obkio uses synthetic traffic (UDP Packets) to simulate real-user behaviour and monitor every end of your network, from WAN monitoring to LAN monitoring.
- The synthetic traffic is exchanged by Monitoring Agents, deployed at key network locations/
- The Monitoring Agents exchange synthetic traffic every 500ms to continuously monitor network performance and measure network metrics.
What are you waiting for?
Synthetic monitoring relies on agents or some type of hardware or software to simulate real user performance within a network or application. With Obkio, these are referred to as Network Monitoring Agents which is software that we have developed to measure network and application performance and availability.
Deploy Monitoring Agents at key network locations like head offices, branch offices, and clouds. An Agent can be installed next to the firewall to monitor ISP performance (WAN) or even at the far-end of the LAN network to have a complete end-to-end performance monitoring solution.
The Agents then exchange synthetic traffic between each other to measure network and application performance as if they were actual users.
Synthetic monitors like Obkio send automated, simulated traffic (in the form of UDP packets) from a Monitoring Agent to your application or network to mimic what a typical user might do and measure performance.
Obkio's Synthetic traffic is light, non-intrusive, and secure traffic which replicates a user’s behaviour in the network. Obkio's Monitoring Agents exchange this synthetic traffic between each other to monitor network performance in different network locations.
Synthetic monitoring/ traffic doesn't require packet capture, which ensures that it respects the users' privacy and doesn't require changes to network device configurations.
Synthetic monitoring with Obkio gives you a unique ability to monitor areas of your network or application which doesn’t have real user traffic yet or may have low user traffic. This ensures a complete end-to-end view of your network performance.
With the shift to working from home, many businesses have large numbers of employees working from home. Without local IT resources available to troubleshoot network problems at remote offices, employees can set up monitoring agents at their home offices, to monitor network performance between their home office and their business’ head office, without requiring large amounts of traffic.
This way, if any network problems occur at a remote location, the IT team can view and troubleshoot network issues, with the network data collected by the synthetic traffic. With a solution like Obkio, they can easily access all this information from a centralized dashboard or chord diagram.
By monitoring your network with synthetic traffic using monitoring agents that simulate end-users, synthetic monitoring enables you to measure the true end-user experience. Obkio’s Monitoring Agents can be deployed at different geographical locations, offices, and different browsers running on real internet service providers and devices. Traffic exchanged between agents provides insight into response time and the end-user experience metrics like QoS (Quality of Experience).
When it comes to Synthetic Monitoring (and Synthetic Network Monitoring), moist solutions generally use two different approaches: Synthetic Transactions or Synthetic Traffic.
Obkio's Synthetic Network Monitoring tool uses Synthetic Traffic, since it's light and non-intrusive. But let's look into both techniques in more detail.
Synthetic traffic refers to the artificial network traffic generated by automated tools or scripts to simulate user requests and interactions. This traffic is not generated by actual users but instead originates from the monitoring system or other designated endpoints.
Synthetic traffic can be utilized in various monitoring scenarios, including load testing, performance testing, and security testing. By generating synthetic traffic, organizations can evaluate how their systems and networks handle different levels of load and identify potential bottlenecks or vulnerabilities.
Synthetic transactions are scripted actions or tests that simulate user interactions with an application or website. These transactions are artificially generated and are designed to mimic real user behavior. The purpose of synthetic transactions is to monitor the performance and functionality of an application from an external perspective.
For example, a synthetic transaction could involve automated scripts that perform actions like logging in, navigating through different pages, adding items to a shopping cart, and completing a checkout process. The performance metrics and responses generated by these transactions help assess the application's health and identify potential issues proactively.
Synthetic transactions are commonly used in synthetic monitoring to ensure that critical functions of the application are working correctly and to measure response times and other performance indicators.
Network monitoring generally works by monitoring traffic on a network, and measuring a variety of different network metrics to assess network performance and health.
Every 500 ms, Obkio sends UDP packets between the Agents to measure network metrics such as:
- Latency: Latency is the amount of time it takes for a packet of data to travel from one point in a network to another. It's often measured in milliseconds (ms) and can be affected by factors such as network congestion, distance between devices, and processing delays.
- Jitter: Jitter is the variation in the delay between packets of data as they travel through a network. It's also measured in milliseconds (ms) and can cause disruptions in the quality of real-time communications like VoIP (voice over internet protocol) or video conferencing.
- Packet Loss: Packet loss occurs when packets of data fail to reach their intended destination. This can happen for a variety of reasons, such as network congestion or faulty network equipment. Packet loss can lead to degraded performance in real-time applications like VoIP or video streaming.
- Packet duplication: Packet duplication occurs when multiple copies of the same packet are received at the destination. This can happen due to network errors or equipment failures and can lead to network congestion and reduced performance.
- Packet reordering: Packet reordering occurs when packets arrive at the destination out of order. This can happen when different packets take different routes through the network, and can cause disruptions in real-time applications like VoIP or video conferencing.
- VoIP Quality: VoIP quality is a measure of the overall performance of a voice over internet protocol (VoIP) system. It can be affected by factors such as latency, jitter, packet loss, and network congestion, among others. VoIP quality is typically measured using a variety of metrics, including MOS (mean opinion score), R-factor, and packet loss rate. A high-quality VoIP system should have low latency, low jitter, minimal packet loss, and good overall call quality.
- And more!
Measuring these network metrics allows you to quickly understand and identify any performance degradation in your network, which may be a sign of a network issue to come.
You can also use Obkio's Synthetic Monitoring tool to monitor the performance of your network devices! Synthetic monitoring can be used to monitor network devices by simulating user interactions with these devices and generating traffic to test their performance.
Just use Obkio's Device Monitoring feature and add the network devices you want to monitor.
- Router Performance: Test the performance of routers, including their ability to route traffic, manage network congestion, and handle different types of network traffic.
- Switch Performance: Test the performance of switches, including their ability to forward traffic, manage VLANs, and handle different types of network traffic.
- Firewall Performance: Test the performance of firewalls, including their ability to filter traffic, manage network security policies, and handle different types of network traffic.
- Load Balancer Performance: Synthetic monitoring can be used to test the performance of load balancers, including their ability to distribute traffic evenly across multiple servers, handle spikes in traffic, and ensure high availability.
By simulating user interactions and generating traffic, synthetic monitoring can provide a comprehensive view of network device performance, helping IT teams identify issues and optimize performance. With a synthetic monitoring solution like Obkio, IT teams can implement synthetic monitoring easily and efficiently, without the need for expensive hardware or complicated software.
Now comes the best part of synthetic monitoring: proactively identifying network problems before your users even experience them! This means using synthetic traffic to tests to detect and resolve network issues before they affect real users.
Synthetic monitoring with Obkio allows your IT teams to simulate user interactions with network services, applications, and devices, generating traffic that mimics real user behavior. By doing so, synthetic monitoring can provide a comprehensive view of network performance, even in situations where there is no real user traffic.
Using the data provided from Obkio's app, IT teams can proactively detect and troubleshoot issues such as slow application performance, network congestion, and server downtime. By simulating user interactions with these services, synthetic monitoring can identify potential bottlenecks and problems in the network infrastructure, allowing IT teams to resolve them before they impact real users.
For example: synthetic monitoring can be used to proactively identify issues with website performance, such as slow page load times or error messages. By simulating user interactions with the website, synthetic monitoring can identify potential issues with the website's infrastructure, such as problems with the server or network congestion, allowing IT teams to troubleshoot and resolve these issues before they impact real users.
As we talked about in the point above, you want to be able to identify network issues before they reach end-users. Although some passive approaches to monitoring include alerting, synthetic monitoring’s proactive monitoring technique works well for alerting a team to any issues, or signs of upcoming issues, as soon as they happen.
Obkio’s synthetic network performance monitoring solution allows you to create automatic notifications to alert you of problems as soon as they happen, with information about the severity level, where the problem occurred, and when it occurred, to help with network troubleshooting.
Synthetic monitoring provides the advantage of continuous monitoring of your applications and network performance, even during periods of low user engagement. This means that you can have a 24/7 monitoring solution in place to ensure that your systems are functioning optimally at all times.
By continuously monitoring your applications and network, synthetic monitoring tools collect a wealth of performance data over time. This data can be invaluable in creating a baseline for comparison. By establishing what "good" performance looks like, you can easily identify deviations or issues that cause "bad" performance. This comparison helps you pinpoint areas of improvement and develop strategies to enhance the overall performance of your applications and network.
Moreover, synthetic monitoring allows you to collect historical data. This historical data serves as a valuable resource when troubleshooting past performance issues. By analyzing the data collected during specific timeframes or incidents, you can gain insights into the factors that contributed to those issues. This analysis helps in understanding the root causes, diagnosing problems, and implementing effective solutions to prevent similar issues in the future.
Are you wondering how synthetic monitoring (or synthetic network monitoring) can help you optimize your network performance? Look no further! In this section, we'll explore some of the exciting and unexpected ways that synthetic monitoring can be used, from e-commerce websites to VoIP systems.
You'll be surprised at how versatile this tool can be! So sit back, relax, and get ready to discover some new and creative ways to leverage synthetic monitoring for your network needs!
Many businesses and individuals depend on managed service providers to provide services like VoIP, Internet, and so on. When any network problems arise, most users turn to their service provider first. Sometimes, this creates a long back-and-forth between client and MSP as both parties try to discover if the problem is on their end.
For clients, synthetic monitoring allows them to continuously monitor their network performance to easily identify if problems are occurring in their network, or their MSPs network. This way, it’s blatantly clear who is responsible for fixing a problem.
If a service, like Internet speed, is performing at a lower level than promised by an MSP, users can collect the information they need to hold vendors accountable.
SLAs or service level agreements are critical to modern businesses. No matter what side of the SLA you are, measuring and adhering to the agreed upon level of service is beneficial for both clients and service providers to succeed.
For MSPs and service providers, MSP Network Monitoring with synthetic monitoring helps them better understand the availability and performance limitations of a client’s network to set up realistic service level objectives and avoid and unforeseen penalties or user complaints.
This way, when problems arise, a service provider can easily see if the problem is on their end, or due to something in their clients’ network.
Learn about SLA monitoring & reporting using Network Monitoring to measure network, service performance, user experience & understand if SLAs are being met.Learn more
Synthetic monitoring can be used to monitor the performance of web and mobile applications by simulating user interactions, such as logging in, searching, and clicking on links. By generating synthetic traffic, IT teams can detect issues such as slow page load times, error messages, and other performance problems, allowing them to optimize application performance.
Synthetic monitoring can be used to monitor the performance of cloud services, such as Software as a Service (SaaS) and Platform as a Service (PaaS). By simulating user interactions with these services, synthetic monitoring can detect potential issues such as slow response times, network congestion, and other performance problems, allowing IT teams to optimize the use of cloud services.
This could aid in monitoring cloud-based apps and services for:
- Microsoft Azure Network Monitoring
- AWS Network Monitoring
- Microsoft Teams Monitoring
- Google Cloud Monitoring
Synthetic monitoring can be used to monitor the performance of Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) systems by generating synthetic calls and measuring key performance indicators such as jitter, latency, and packet loss. VoIP monitoring using synthetic traffic is extremely beneficial for detecting VoIP issues even when there are no actual users making VoIP calls. By detecting issues such as poor call quality or dropped calls, synthetic monitoring can help IT teams proactively optimize VoIP performance and ensure high-quality voice communication.
Synthetic monitoring can be used to monitor network capacity and plan for future growth. By simulating user traffic at peak usage times, synthetic monitoring can help IT teams identify potential capacity issues and plan for network upgrades or expansions.
Synthetic monitoring can be used to monitor the performance of e-commerce websites by simulating user interactions with shopping carts, checkouts, and other key features. By detecting issues such as slow page load times or errors during the checkout process, synthetic monitoring can help IT teams optimize the e-commerce experience for customers.
Synthetic monitoring is applicable to a wide range of network applications and services. Here are some examples of network applications and services that are commonly monitored using synthetic monitoring:
- Websites: Synthetic monitoring is extensively used to monitor the performance, availability, and functionality of websites. It can simulate user interactions such as page visits, form submissions, and transactional activities to ensure that websites are performing as expected. Key metrics monitored include page load times, response times, and content rendering.
- Web Applications: Web applications, including complex enterprise applications, can benefit from synthetic monitoring. By simulating user interactions, synthetic monitoring tools verify that all application components, such as logins, data submissions, and workflows, are functioning properly. It helps identify performance bottlenecks, transaction errors, and functionality issues.
- Mobile Applications: Synthetic monitoring can also simulate user interactions with mobile applications. It helps monitor mobile app performance, responsiveness, and compatibility across various devices and platforms. Synthetic monitoring can cover activities like app launches, screen transitions, API calls, and data synchronization.
- APIs (Application Programming Interfaces): Synthetic monitoring is crucial for monitoring the performance and availability of APIs. By simulating API requests and responses, synthetic monitoring tools can validate API endpoints, monitor response times, check for errors, and ensure proper integration between systems.
- Microservices: With the rise of microservices architecture, synthetic monitoring becomes essential to monitor the performance of individual microservices and their interactions within a distributed system. Synthetic monitoring can simulate requests between microservices and monitor response times, error rates, and dependencies.
- CDNs (Content Delivery Networks): Synthetic monitoring can be used to verify the performance and availability of CDN services. By simulating requests to content hosted on CDN servers from different locations, synthetic monitoring tools ensure that content is delivered efficiently, reducing latency and optimizing user experience.
- DNS (Domain Name System): Synthetic monitoring can monitor DNS services by simulating DNS resolution and monitoring response times. It helps ensure that DNS configurations are working correctly and that domain names are resolving accurately.
- Third-Party Services: Synthetic monitoring can also monitor the performance of third-party services integrated into your applications. This includes payment gateways, email delivery services, SMS gateways, authentication providers, and other external services. Synthetic monitoring ensures that these services are functioning properly and not negatively impacting your application's performance.
These are just a few examples, and the scope of applications and services that can benefit from synthetic monitoring is vast. Synthetic monitoring can be applied to any network-based service or application where it is essential to monitor performance, availability, and functionality from a user perspective.
Passive monitoring solutions (like Real User Monitoring), require user action to initiate the monitoring since the monitoring is on that user's traffic. This makes it so an issue can go unnoticed for quite some time during periods of reduced site traffic.
Let’s take VoIP Monitoring as an example!
Active VoIP Quality Monitoring with a solution like Obkio, measures call quality every minute as: best, high, medium, low and poor. It continues measuring VoIP Quality with MOS Score for each network performance monitoring session on a minute granularity, even if there is no ongoing call, for a proactive monitoring over packet capture solution.
With passive VoIP monitoring, the solution waits for the user to make a call to actually begin measuring VoIP Quality and can only do so until the call is finished.
To detect intermittent network issues, active is far better than passive. Because Synthetic Monitoring is an active approach to testing a website or service, it is the first line of defence against network outages and slowdowns.
Learn how to measure VoIP Quality using MOS Score (Mean Opinion Score) & Obkio’s VoIP monitoring solution to identify poor VoIP Quality issues & dropped calls.Learn more
Synthetic monitoring tools are software applications that simulate user interactions with a website, web application, or any other digital service. These tools help monitor the performance, availability, and functionality of such services from different locations and networks.
Here are some key details about synthetic monitoring tools:
- Purpose: Synthetic monitoring tools are primarily used to proactively detect and prevent performance issues, downtime, and user experience problems in digital services. By simulating user interactions, they provide insights into how the services perform under various conditions.
- Simulation: These tools mimic real user actions such as clicking links, filling out forms, and navigating through webpages. They use predefined scripts or recorded user sessions to simulate these actions, which are then repeated at regular intervals.
- Monitoring Locations: Synthetic monitoring tools allow you to select multiple monitoring locations around the world. This feature helps assess the performance and accessibility of your services from different geographical regions, ensuring a consistent experience for users globally.
- Performance Metrics: The tools measure various performance metrics, including response time, page load speed, transaction completion time, and availability. By comparing these metrics against predefined thresholds, you can identify performance bottlenecks and take corrective actions.
- Alerting and Reporting: Synthetic monitoring tools generate alerts and notifications when predefined thresholds are exceeded or when errors occur. These alerts can be sent via email, SMS, or integrated with incident management systems. Detailed reports provide insights into performance trends, historical data, and patterns.
- Transaction Monitoring: Some synthetic monitoring tools offer transaction monitoring capabilities, allowing you to simulate complex user transactions, such as e-commerce purchases or multi-step workflows. This helps identify issues that impact critical user interactions.
- Third-Party Services: Synthetic monitoring tools can also monitor the performance of third-party services integrated into your applications, such as payment gateways, APIs, and content delivery networks (CDNs). This ensures that these services are functioning correctly and not affecting your overall service performance.
- Load Testing: Some synthetic monitoring tools can also perform load testing by simulating a large number of simultaneous users. Load testing helps assess how your services perform under heavy traffic conditions and identify scalability issues.
- Scripting and Configuration: Synthetic monitoring tools provide scripting capabilities to create custom test scenarios and simulate specific user journeys. These scripts allow you to define the steps, interactions, and data inputs required to simulate realistic user behavior.
- Integration: Many synthetic monitoring tools offer integrations with other monitoring systems, such as application performance monitoring (APM) tools, log analyzers, and analytics platforms. These integrations provide a comprehensive view of your application's health and performance.
Overall, synthetic monitoring tools enable organizations to proactively identify and address performance issues in their digital services, ensuring a smooth and optimal user experience. By simulating user interactions, monitoring from different locations, and providing detailed insights, these tools play a crucial role in maintaining service quality and availability.
Just like a master illusionist, synthetic monitoring tools help you conjure up virtual users to simulate real-life interactions with your digital services. But what's the secret to getting the most out of this magical performance? Well, we've got you covered with some spellbinding best practices!
Here are some synthetic monitoring best practices that can help you make the most of your synthetic monitoring efforts:
- Define Clear Objectives: Clearly define your monitoring objectives and what you want to achieve with synthetic monitoring. Determine the key performance indicators (KPIs) that are most relevant to your business and user experience goals.
- Choose Relevant Monitoring Locations: Select monitoring locations that are geographically diverse and align with your target audience. This helps ensure that you capture performance data from different regions and provide a consistent experience to users worldwide.
- Simulate Realistic User Scenarios: Create monitoring scripts or scenarios that closely mimic real user interactions. Include common actions, such as page visits, form submissions, and transactions, to replicate typical user behavior. This provides accurate insights into the performance and functionality of your applications.
- Monitor Critical Transactions: Identify critical user transactions, such as checkout processes or account registrations, and focus synthetic monitoring efforts on monitoring these transactions. This helps ensure that essential user journeys are performing optimally and alerts you to any issues that may impact conversion or user satisfaction.
- Set Realistic Thresholds: Define realistic thresholds for performance metrics based on your application's requirements and user expectations. Set alerting thresholds that indicate a deviation from normal behavior but avoid unnecessary alerts caused by minor performance variations.
- Frequent Monitoring: Regularly schedule synthetic monitoring tests to capture performance data at different times of the day, week, and month. This helps identify performance patterns, seasonal variations, and potential issues that may arise during peak usage periods.
- Integrate with Incident Management: Integrate your synthetic monitoring tools with incident management systems or ticketing systems to ensure that alerts are properly escalated and tracked. This enables quick response and resolution of issues by the appropriate teams.
- Analyze and Act on Data: Regularly analyze the synthetic monitoring data to identify performance trends, patterns, and potential areas for improvement. Use the insights gained to optimize your application's performance, identify bottlenecks, and prioritize necessary fixes or optimizations.
- Continuously Evolve Monitoring: Periodically review and update your synthetic monitoring strategies and scripts as your applications and user behaviors evolve. Ensure that your monitoring efforts align with the latest features, functionalities, and performance expectations of your applications.
By following these best practices, you can effectively leverage synthetic monitoring to proactively identify performance issues, optimize user experience, and ensure the smooth functioning of your digital services.
With the ever-increasing complexity of network infrastructures and the rise of digital services, a new approach has emerged to complement the traditional methods of monitoring. In this article, we dove into the realm of Synthetic Monitoring for networks, a cutting-edge technique that offers a proactive and dynamic perspective on network performance.
But for those more familiar with Passive Monitoring or Real-User Monitoring (RUM), let's go into a more side-by-side comparison to see which techique is best for your business:
Synthetic monitoring, also known as active monitoring, involves simulating user interactions with an application or website to monitor its performance. These synthetic transactions are performed at regular intervals from various locations or endpoints.
Pros of Synthetic Monitoring:
- Proactive: Synthetic monitoring actively generates traffic and detects issues before real users may encounter them.
- Controlled: It allows you to control the test scenarios, making it easier to reproduce issues for further analysis.
- External perspective: It provides an external view of the application's performance from different geographical locations.
- Useful for SLA monitoring: It helps organizations meet service level agreements (SLAs) by monitoring specific performance metrics.
- No User Data: As we mentioned earlier, Synthetic Monitoring does not capture actual user traffic or data, which runs no risk of infringing on user privacy.
Cons of Synthetic Monitoring:
- It may not reflect real-world user experiences accurately.
- It cannot capture issues experienced by users with diverse devices, network conditions, and browser configurations.
Passive monitoring, on the other hand, is a method of monitoring that collects data passively by observing actual user interactions and network traffic in real-time. This approach does not involve synthetic tests or active probes but rather relies on monitoring software and agents deployed on the network infrastructure.
Pros of Passive Monitoring:
- Reactive: Passive monitoring reacts to real user activities, detecting issues based on the actual user experience.
- Real-user perspective: It provides insights into how users are interacting with the application under natural conditions.
- Comprehensive data: It can capture a wide range of metrics, including actual response times, errors, and usage patterns.
Cons of Passive Monitoring:
- Passive monitoring may require more complex infrastructure and configurations.
- It cannot proactively detect issues before they affect real users.
- It requires packet capture, which may infringe on user privacy.
Real-User Monitoring, as the name suggests, involves collecting data based on the actual experiences of real users interacting with the application or website. This data is gathered from users' browsers or devices and provides valuable insights into real-world performance.
Pros of Real-User Monitoring:
- Reactive: It reflects the actual user experience, allowing for the detection of issues as they occur in real-time.
- Comprehensive data: RUM captures a wide range of metrics, including load times, interactions, errors, and user behavior.
- User-centric perspective: It focuses on understanding how actual users experience the application.
- Device and network diversity: RUM accounts for variations in user devices, browsers, and network conditions.
Pros of Real-User Monitoring:
- Limited to monitoring issues experienced by actual users.
- Reactive nature may result in delayed issue detection compared to synthetic monitoring.
- Requires implementation on the client-side, which may add some performance overhead.
- It requires packet capture, which may infringe on user privacy.
In conclusion, synthetic monitoring is truly the secret sauce to network monitoring. With its ability to proactively identify issues, simulate user experiences, and optimize network performance, it's no wonder that more and more businesses are turning to synthetic monitoring to stay ahead of the curve. Whether you're monitoring e-commerce websites, VoIP systems, or any other network application, synthetic monitoring has the flexibility and versatility to meet your needs.
There are many types of synthetic monitoring, but the network pros at Obkio are pros at monitoring network performance with synthetic traffic.
Obkio is a simple Synthetic Network Monitoring tool that allows users to truly monitor continuous, end-to-end network performance from the end-user perspective. And it does so using synthetic traffic to avoid capturing any real user data, or creating a large strain on your network.
Put It to the Test: Trying Is the Ultimate Way to Learn!
So what are you waiting for? It's time to unlock the full potential of your network with synthetic monitoring!
- 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
You can rest assured that we're not like those pushy Sellsy people - there's no catch here. We firmly believe in the excellence of our product, but if it's not the right fit for you, we understand and want what's best for you.