Keeping Your Network Healthy: Network Management Matters for You

Keeping Your Network Healthy: Network Management Matters for You

With telcos across the country making significant investments in upgrading and expanding their networks, it has never been more important to have a complete picture of network integration. That begins with good network management.

Often, we refer to network management and network monitoring interchangeably, but network management is more expansive. Network monitoring is crucial, giving telco network engineers immediate insight into the behavior of their networks and ensuring they’re equipped to deal with alarms and outages as they arise. Then, consistent network management allows you to quickly react to the traffic on the network. All while, spotting immediate network bottlenecks, as well as signals forecasting potential future issues, will help you find a solution before a service interruption.

So, why should you emphasize network management? Frustrated customers calling to let you know about a problem is a risk thatʼs best avoided. Even worse, we learn about an outage from a customer and have no insight into the problem.

If you want to improve service to customers and save your staff headaches, a comprehensive approach to network management is critical.

Reliability — Increasingly, customers say reliability is their top priority when choosing their telecommunications service, even above price or speed. But to improve reliability, you must first assess your networkʼs status. This will help you set benchmarks for where your system is now and identify improvements to enhance future reliability.

Preparing for growth — In the longer term, network management can help you with exact forecasting. As the complexity and interconnectivity of networks grow exponentially, understanding usage trends can help you develop detailed plans to add network capacity in advance of demand.

Where to Start

Network management can seem daunting. For many telcos, especially smaller service providers, challenges can include recruiting and retaining the professionals needed to provide round-the-clock monitoring. Fortunately, there are strategies to help you make the most of your resources.

Updates arenʼt just for bugs — Software updates are crucial to network management, unlocking the latest features and eliminating bugs. But updates have other advantages, including patches that protect against security vulnerabilities.

In addition, keeping pace with updates can improve interactions with vendors. Whether youʼre managing your network with a small team or relying on remote backup, eventually every telco has issues that need vendor support. Often, those vendors require your network to run the latest software before troubleshooting begins. A policy for consistent updates will help you get support as quickly as possible.

Keep it clean — Too often, as networks develop and expand, redundant or unnecessary nodes are left behind and never cleaned up. Maybe four servers do a job that would be assigned to one server if the network was built from scratch today. Or, your system might still run configurations for sites eliminated long ago.

Removing redundancies and deleting unnecessary configurations makes your network more efficient. Also, your monitoring systems will no longer set off alarms after detecting these redundancies as issues.

As network managers, weʼre often reluctant to make network changes without an immediate problem. However, the overall health of your network will benefit if you set up policies to clean up once services are disconnected or changed.

Learn from experience — These habits and many other best practices for network management come with experience. Is your team failing to actively manage your network or are changes infrequent? If so, your network configuration can become inconsistent. Team turnover, particularly the loss of an experienced network engineer, can exacerbate these

concerns. You might have constraints on the level of experience of your team, but you can establish best practices for an effective network. Do you know where all your equipment connects? What does it do? How do you log into it? Is it healthy? Do you need to clean up the configurations? Up-to-date answers to these questions, stored in an accessible way for everyone on your team, can keep your network running smoothly, regardless of who comes and goes.

Phone a Friend

Diligent network management requires close attention to network activity at all hours, but not every telco has that ability. If your team needs backup, consider taking advantage of a remote network operations center to give your system the attention it needs.

A lucky network engineer may get by without active network management, for a time. But when luck runs out, no one wants to be caught scrambling for solutions. With smart network management, you can detect and solve problems on your system before customers know they exist.

Stay Connected with JSI
This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.