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To Monitor or Not Monitor Your Network? That is the Question.

Posted by Nick Tichy on Jan 2, 2015 2:00:00 PM

networkWhat is a network? A network as defined by Merriam-webster is a system of computers, peripherals, terminals, and databases connected by communications lines. There are many types of networks. The biggest network is the internet which is a wide area network. A wide area network spans a large distance and is a collection of LANs or local area networks. A local area network connects network devices over a short distance. A school or home would be an example of a local area network.

In today’s networking world it is important to know if your equipment is running at maximum efficiency. There are some great tools out there to help us do that. Some tools are as simple as Angry IP Scanner which makes it easier to scan ip addresses and ports. Some of the more complex tools will not only allow you to monitor your network, but also allow you to monitor devices such as routers, switches, servers and much more. For the purpose of this blog we will talk about the complex type of network monitoring tools such as PRTG and Solarwinds.

All of the monitoring tools are a bit different in some way. The great thing about some monitoring tools (like PRTG and Solarwinds) is they will allow you to monitor the device plus certain characteristics of the device like the power voltage, temperatures, fan settings, and usage. Let’s say you are monitoring a router, and one of the fan’s goes out. You can be emailed and alerted of fan failure and some network monitor tools will even recommend that you replace the fan. Another example could be that you have a router and the temperature starts to climb up. The network monitoring tool can email you a warning letting you know the temperature is rising. This would allow you to hopefully find the issue on the router or at the very least troubleshoot what the issue could be.

prtg_sunNetwork monitoring tools such as PRTG or Solarwinds will allow some sort of map of your network, or tabs that will allow you to click into the device or expand the device to see what you have under the device.

Another handy feature that some network monitoring tools include is the ability to run reports. Running a report can be useful for a number of reasons. First and foremost running a report gives you the ability to see how well or not well your equipment and devices are running. You should be able to narrow the report down. Let’s look at the router again for an example. If we have been having temperature issues with the router we can go back and see if it has happened before. This can be handy and help identify trends. Maybe this has happened 7 times before in the last 2 months. Now might be a good time to look at the room it is in. There might be a cooling issue within the room that the router is stored. Or it could be a fan issue on the router. Running a report would allow you to see if the fans haven’t been running efficiently. This should help you pinpoint what the issue is.

Another option that some network monitoring tools will allow you to do is click into the device you are monitoring and see the history, logs, how much storage is left, usage, memory, free space on drives, and much more.

Since there are many network monitoring tools out there, you will want to research and decide what is best for your network and what is easiest for you and your company. You should have no problem finding one that will give you the features you are looking for.

For more information on network monitoring please contact NetWork Center, Inc.

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Topics: Network Security, Network Monitoring Tools, Computer Network, Network Monitoring

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