By Shafaq Rizvi

EVER FACED a problem in retrieving data after the system recovers from a crash? If a company has robust Network Management in place, there are little chances of losing data. Similarly, recklessness towards network and information that flows across a network cannot only impede the speed of the work, but also can affect the progress of a business.

In addition to this, the apathetic behaviour of a network is exasperating for the users connected to the network, but what it is that actually causes the network to become passive and torpid?

Network Traffic

What happens when one is stuck in bumper to bumper traffic while going back to home from office? The vehicles move at a snails pace and it takes a lot of time for the person to reach his destination. The same situation occurs along with some other glitches when there is an information/data overload on the network. The data or information that travels across network in the form of packets constitutes network traffic, which is the major reason behind unresponsive network.

Rather, it is a weakness of network monitoring that raises visibility issues, but why it is important to ensure visibility and what can be done to achieve visibility?

Steps to Ensuring Visibility

There are three ways by which greater visibility can be created: accessing network traffic; monitoring of activities; data analysis. To ensure visibility in the network traffic, it is important to have access to data or packets that are being sent and received across network. By having access to data, it is possible to identify and distinguish data that is flowing with no commotion and the data, which is causing upheavals, but what are the ways to access data and are they all risk-free and reliable?

TAP and SPAN have been found as the two main methods of accessing data, TAP being more reliable. Initially, SPAN is inexpensive, but it becomes costly when packets drop in the mid-way before reaching the monitoring tool. This situation further aggravates that problem and makes it impossible to troubleshoot. SPAN almost fails in case of amplified internal traffic. TAP, however, allows continuous visibility in the network and rate of disruptions is lowest.

Access to data just helps in seeing and keeping an eye on the type and number of data flowing through and across the network. It doesnt help one in knowing how the bandwidth is being used and who is guzzling more of it. Nevertheless, if the data and activities are monitored, it becomes easy to find this out. Moreover, it allows one todetermine if users are using file sharing programmes and one can also detect the presence of Trojan that is clandestinely passing on the information in the background. However, selecting a most appropriate network monitoring tool is the job of network administrator. Monitoring of data leads to capturing and analysis of data, but what if analysis of all captured data is not required?

Monitoring actually helps in filtering the data. Once it is filtered, it becomes easy to analyze data that requires analysis.  The analysis helps in identifying the underlying causes behind less visibility and network issues and leads to solutions.

The communication in the form of packets travels from user to server via router and the server then responds back to the user through router. The problems creating visibility issues can be solved either through replacing servers or increasing bandwidth i.e. the speed of the network. Bandwidth seems a skimpy hitch yet it is not that is why many companies, quite frequently, are found switching to fastest and most reliable internet connections. Actually, the process of flow of packets is affected by the speed of the type of connectivity. Simply putting ISDN cannot work in a large enterprise as it engages telephone lines and its speed ranges between few Kpbs. DSL is a better option as it doesnt employ telephone lines, but wireless connection is the most in concept these days. It allows always-on connection, but in order to have access to it, it is must to be within a network coverage area geographically.

What does visibility yield?

Achieving visibility implies achieving cost savings and return on investment. The presence of malicious software, error counts, and identification of which protocols are using greatest bandwidth are valuable information gained through network monitoring. In short, monitoring helps in uncovering problems in network and allows provision of more network resources to the users connected to the network, thus yielding savings and more return.

A business relying on network needs to have a simple yet robust network. In the present times, where every company is making efforts to protect and safeguard their systems and information, it is important to ensure enhanced visibility in the network traffic. Even a small negligence can lead to serious repercussions such as data loss, slow processing, silent transmission and leak of the information, and business failure, which no firm wants.

By Web Team

Technology Times Web team handles all matters relevant to website posting and management.