In a perfect world, telecommunication networks have 100% uptime, low latency, and high bandwidth. In reality, each one of us deals with slow applications, choppy calls, and unreliable connections. In WiFi networks, this is even more frequent.
Yet, providing a good end-user experience is possible. Detecting problems before users do is not a fortune teller’s trick, but something that can be achieved with the right tools and processes in place. So how can Network Engineers achieve Zen for their networks? Read More
Recently, I had a brief discussion on performance monitoring with a network engineer that works for an Internet Service Provider. After showing him a product tour of NetBeez, he mentioned that he could do the same with Ethernet performance tools (e.g. ITU-T Y.1731), which are available on most networking platforms, without the need of deploying additional hardware or software probes.
To support his statement, the network engineer mentioned that his requirements were to monitor individual Ethernet links, or portions of the overall network. I agreed with him that, for that specific use case, Ethernet performance monitoring was the right solution.
However, I reminded him that most enterprises and service providers that we work with use NetBeez to measure the end-user experience, and that Ethernet performance monitoring only runs at Layer 2. For this reason, the best way to monitor the network from the end-user perspective is to use Layer 3+ protocols that allow to run true end-to-end connectivity and performance tests against cloud applications, WiFi networks, and other services offered to users. This is not possible with Ethernet performance monitoring tools. If you want to read more about this topic, please check out this blog post that I wrote few weeks ago.
Unless you’ve lived in a cave for the past ten years (and if you have, I totally respect that), you are most likely familiar with meetups. Meetups are planned events where members regularly get together to network and talk about a particular topic that they are interested in. It could be a sport, a language, a discipline, etc. Currently, there are more than 270,000 meetups in 182 countries, for a total number of 30+ million of members. That’s pretty significant.
If you’re interested in meeting with other network engineers, then you should know that there are several meetup groups around the country that are focused on network engineering. All you have to do is go on meetup.com, search for a topic of interest in your area, and then follow the group guidelines on how to become a member. Some groups are open, while others may require permission or vetting from the organizer. If you don’t know where to start, here is a list of the most prominent meetups that may appeal to network engineers:
Enterprise networks are evolving at a fast pace, and with them, so are network monitoring techniques. If you are monitoring your network with an SNMP collector, you have already realized that it’s not enough to detect and troubleshoot problems experienced by the end-users. You can read more about how the network monitoring stack has evolved over time in a previous blog post I wrote here.
Nowadays, network engineers must be aware at any time, and from any network location, about end-to-end performance metrics. Information about packet loss, network latency, and wireless signal strength is necessary to understand whether the network is delivering a good experience or causing application slowness. This information can be easily achieved with network monitoring sensors.
Like most of you, my home network is equipped with only one wireless router, which is located in the living room. As result, some areas of my house, like my bedroom and studio, are not covered very well by the wireless signal of this single router. Frustrated by the poor quality of my video streaming, I decided last week to purchase a wireless repeater to extend the wireless signal to where it was most needed.
I bought a dual mode wireless extender that can support 2.4GHz and 5.0GHz. The setup was quite easy – it only took me a few minutes to configure the extension of my dual-mode wireless network with the WPS button. I decided to test the bandwidth speed improvements with Iperf using my NetBeez agents.
One of the most important functions of a network monitoring tool is reporting. In a report, the performance and status of any monitored resource, service, or device, for which data can be stored in a database as a time series, can be analyzed and compared with other resources to discover trends, patterns like daily, weekly or monthly fluctuations, or spot underperforming assets. Thanks to reports, you can review graphs, tables, and charts related to network availability and application performance and have a clear view of the status and performance of network and applications.
SSID hopping enables a wireless monitoring sensor to sequentially test different wifi networks in a round robin fashion. This strategy is very useful when you don’t want to deploy a dedicated sensor for each network available at one location. With the proper configuration, the same sensor will continuously cycle through multiple SSIDs. It will connect to the first one, execute monitoring tests, move on to the next SSID, and then repeat this sequence over and over. The benefits of SSID hopping include detection of problems with AP association, radius authentication, and DHCP addresses availability. On top of that, you can run network and application monitoring tests as usual.