Reducing Time-To-Resolution at the Network’s Edge
In large, distributed enterprises, scaling the network quickly is only half of what it takes to keep up with rapidly changing business imperatives. Although utilizing wireless WAN (WWAN) can enable faster deployment, more reliable connectivity, and more secure network architectures, the network’s Edge may still be a vulnerable place.
Hackers see it as a relatively easy target because lack of on-site visibility can be exploited, and it’s easy for network performance issues to go unnoticed until an end user points it out. Without the right network management tools and processes in place, integrating multiple WAN sources can further complicate these issues.
Often more network visibility is prescribed, but experienced network administrators know that the real key is figuring out how to choose and configure a network management system that’s capable of retaining both granularity and scalability.
Let’s discuss three best practices for scalable WWAN and multi-WAN network management:
- Utilize easy-to-read visuals
- Create clear network choke points
- Design scalable response protocols
Balance Scalability With Granularity Using Easy-to-Read Visuals
One of the top concerns about remote cloud network management that we encounter among network administrators is how to interpret and respond to cellular performance and usage data. Often long and detailed reports provide robust data, but easy-to-read visuals are important tools for efficient, high-level monitoring.
Some of the most critical WWAN and multi-WAN activity to monitor at a high level includes:
- Data utilization by WAN source
- Distribution of modems over WAN sources (LTE vs. Ethernet)
- Distribution of modems over various carriers
By pairing these data with alerts that notify you when you’ve reached specific data usage thresholds, you can mitigate overages by proactively distributing usage over the network’s multiple WAN sources.
At a more granular level, it’s helpful to be able to single out specific routers that are top data consumers, so that you can also investigate and remediate excessive data consumption.
Create Clear Network Choke Points With Proactive Alerts & Well-Labeled Router Groups
As the Internet of Things (IoT) matures and becomes an integral component of business operations, enterprise networks will develop the potential to become even more complicated. We’ve written a number of resources about how to utilize parallel networking for a simplified and scalable network architecture. Similarly, clearly defined router groups, router metadata, and granular alerting all are critical tools for streamlining remote network monitoring and management — and thus reducing time spent troubleshooting when there’s a problem at the network’s Edge.
To start, make sure alerts are configured to show whether a primary network outage has been caused by an ISP issue or by something gone wrong at the router level. (Troubleshooting an unplugged router is a completely different effort from dealing with an outage related to the Internet Service Provider).
Preferably, your cloud network management system should be able to show exactly what went wrong if the network failure happened at the router level. When the IT team gets an alert email about a network failure, they should know exactly where to start investigating and how extensive the problem is before they even log in to the management console.
Another feature that helps streamline network management is the ability to search and group routers based on specific identifiers, such as geographic location, device model, MAC address, WAN source, or even firmware version. If you have the option to create custom metadata labels for your routers, you may also want to take advantage of that. By pairing quick and easy router groupings based on router characteristics with proactive alerts (such as an alert for when a firmware upgrade is available for a specific device), it’s easier to apply important changes to network devices with less time and effort (and before there’s a major problem).
Use Granular Alerts to Design Scalable Response Protocols
When planning to scale your network, it’s easy to overlook how to assign and manage response protocols. Granular alerts and flexible alerting templates are critical for designing scalable response protocols. For example, based on the risk presented by different alert triggers, you may or may not want the system to send an email every time an incident occurs. The more specific and granular your alerting is, the more able you will be to determine which alerts should trigger emails, who should be notified, and how immediately a specific alert should trigger an email notification.
Network administrators also should be able to easily modify alerting templates based on which IT team members are on call. With a bit of careful forethought, the way you configure alert triggers can help your team improve at defining responsibilities and prioritizing alerts.
Learn More & Go Deeper into Alerting & Reporting
With proper alerting and reporting settings, wireless network management can be streamlined to help IT teams keep up with the growing number of devices and endpoints on the network. If you’re interested in learning more about how NetCloud Manager supports streamlined and proactive network management, see our KnowledgeBase article, “Alerting and Reporting with NetCloud Manager.”