Network optimization encompasses the complete set of technologies and strategies a business deploys to improve its network domain functionality. Network and network domain refer to your organization’s set of hardware devices, plus the software and supportive technology allowing those devices to connect and communicate with one another.
One of the primary goals of network optimization is to provide the best possible network experience for users. We’ll cover the areas where organizations can begin to improve these connections — and what they stand to benefit from even small boosts in network optimization.
Why Is Network Optimization Important?
Network optimization works to enhance the speed, security and reliability of your company’s IT ecosystem. Improving that ecosystem seems intuitive in theory, yet it is challenging to master.
Strains on networks continue to grow due to the following factors:
- More devices are being brought into the workplace.
- More cybersecurity threats are maturing.
- More software applications are being used.
- More data is collected, aggregated and shared — often simultaneously.
- More teams are going remote.
- More external entities require access to your networks.
The result? Your in-office and remote employees, as well as your customers and clients, are unable to use relevant software, share documents, send messages and emails, access data, browse your domain, make purchases or read your company blog from any digital device.
In short, network optimization is essential for business activities that require 24/7 access and real-time usage of digital technology.
How to Measure Network Optimization Strategies
IT teams use several key metrics to track a successful optimization scheme. These metrics are most effective when viewed together to provide a holistic picture of your network’s strengths and weaknesses. Consult our guide here for deeper network monitoring and analytics to track.
1. Traffic Usage
Traffic usage, or utilization, displays which parts of your network are the busiest and which tend to stay idle. Utilization also gauges the times when “peak” traffic occurs. To measure these differing streams of network traffic, IT teams calculate a ratio between current network traffic and the peak amounts networks are supposed to handle, represented as a percentage.
By tracking these usage percentages and peaks, your team can better understand what networks see the most usage internally from office employees and externally from customers and prospects. This information allows you to prioritize updates and security layers according to what is best for the network.
Latency refers to delays in network devices communicating with one another. In IT, these communication streams are known as “packets” and come in two forms: one-way or round trip.
Both one-way and round-trip packets allow data to be exchanged across a network, which is at the core of all functioning network connections. Frequent latency suggests traffic and bandwidth congestion may be slowing everything from webpage loading speed to VoIP calls.
3. Availability vs. Downtime
A network’s availability metrics reveal how often particular hardware or software functions as it should. For example, businesses can track the availability scores of everything from SD-WANs and servers to specific business apps or websites.
Many IT network ecosystems aim for the goal of availability in five nines, which is an industry term for functioning properly 99.999% of the time. It’s debated whether five nines availability is possible, as it encompasses less than 30 seconds of total downtime a month. Regardless, the high goal sets a gold standard for availability that keeps your network running reliably.
4. Network Jitter
Network jitter rates reveal how often data packets get interrupted. Properly optimized networks have minimal jitter, meaning data deliveries between devices are efficient, quick and coherent. High jitter likely means network routers are overburdened and cannot properly handle incoming and outgoing data packets.
5. Packet Loss
Packet loss happens when data packets fail to reach their target endpoint on your network. Similar to network jitter, frequent instances of packet loss disrupt some of your most basic business functions, such as sending file attachments, conducting video calls or giving wireless presentations.
The Benefits of Network Optimization
Improving your network ensures your company’s technology operates to the best of its abilities. With a high-functioning network in place, you open your organization up to the following advantages across its full tech ecosystem:
- Improved productivity: Employees have a higher capacity for productivity as they are liberated from the headaches of slow software or frequent downtime.
- Faster network speed: Optimization makes the entire ecosystem more interconnected and equipped to send and receive data packets quicker.
- Heightened security: Network optimization can ensure your applications offer improved, around-the-clock network visibility.
- More reliability: With optimization, your network can handle the ever-increasing amount and complexity of data that is pivotal to daily operations.
- Bolstered disaster recovery: In the event of physical damage to your hardware or cyberattacks, network optimization can help prevent data mismanagement or employee accidents.
- Boosted customer experience: By improving the speed, navigability and functionality of your website, you can further encourage customer interactions and purchases.
Overall, the above advantages may result in a reduced need to purchase expensive hardware and software that turns obsolete within a few years.
How to Improve Network Performance
The ideal network optimization scheme avoids overhauling your company’s existing set of hardware and software. Instead, it uses the lowest-cost methods to ensure better data flow via uninhibited traffic, often by tweaking network maintenance and upkeep best practices.
There are a few network optimization strategies to improve network performance with maintenance practices you likely already support, including:
- Data caching for a more flexible means of data storage and retrieval.
- Traffic shaping to maximize the speed and access to your highest-traffic network infrastructure.
- Prioritizing SD-WAN over WAN, further improving traffic shaping and supporting the most business-critical pieces of your network.
- Eliminating redundant data clogging network memory.
- Data compressing to further eliminate redundant data and encourage more efficient data packet transfers.
- Router buffer tuning to minimize packet loss and direct smoother data transmissions.
- Data protocol streamlining, which bundles data and improves quality of service (QoS) across your network applications.
- Application delivery suites that enhance how you see and track traffic across your network and control the flow and priorities of that traffic.
- Deploying flow visualization analytic software for 24/7 network monitoring.
Migrating from legacy architecture to cloud-based networks is likely the only major step in optimizing your network that may require new software.
Achieve Your Network Optimization Goals With Worldwide Services
A well-oiled network is at the heart of a high-functioning organization. Without optimizing your network, your business risks issues at every point in its IT ecosystem — from poor Wi-Fi connections and congested data storage to remote employees being unable to access software to perform their work.
Leverage your resources by partnering with a premier network-management service. Worldwide Services’ Network Monitoring and Infrastructure Support suite delivers:
- Incident management
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- And many more network services
Request a quote today to maximize your network while experiencing cost savings.