Detecting Internet Slow-Downs with Bandwidth Monitoring

Slow InternetHow many times does the boss come in and ask you if the Internet is broken? How many tickets have been escalated to you because someone thinks everything is “really slow”? When was the last time you wasted time troubleshooting poor application performance only to find that someone was using up all your Internet bandwidth streaming a movie or downloading a file?

Internet slow-downs are almost always the result of some activity on your network and bandwidth monitoring is a great tool to use for detecting and addressing these issues, whether they are the result of intentional disregard of policy, misconfiguration of app, or even compromised system. Let’s look at how bandwidth monitoring can help you keep control of your pipes.

Top users

More often than not, slowdowns for everyone are caused by just one user. Whether they are downloading a huge file, replicating a directory structure, or watching a movie, that one person ruins it for everyone. Bandwidth monitoring can show you a Top 10 view of who is using up all your bandwidth, so you can work on fixing the problem, not finding it.

Top apps

To be fair though, sometimes that one guy was not doing anything on purpose, or even knowingly. Bandwidth monitoring can do more than just identify the top talkers, it can identify what they are “saying” to help you figure out which application is at the root of the issue. Misconfiguration or misunderstanding, knowing why a specific user is chewing up all that bandwidth is really what’s needed to fix the problem.

Streaming media

Bandwidth monitoring can help you quickly spot users streaming content online, and when necessary, control that. Streaming an Internet radio station is much different from streaming an HD movie, but users may not realize the difference.

Torrents and Peer-to-Peer

While both may have their uses in the business, more often it is the users of bit torrent and other peer-to-peer apps that cause significant slowdowns for the rest, or big increases in bandwidth bills. Bandwidth monitoring will help you quickly find when these apps are in use, and who is using them, so you can take actions as appropriate.

Bandwidth policies

Bandwidth monitoring can do more than just look at what is happening, the best apps can also take proactive or preventative actions. Bandwidth monitoring apps can also enforce bandwidth policies, which can still permit access to typically bandwidth heavy apps while preventing them from using up all the available bandwidth. Policies can be shaped by time or day to allow more latitude “after hours” if desired.

Bandwidth monitoring is a great tool for knowing what is happening on your network, and for controlling it as well. When bandwidth monitoring is a component of a larger Internet security solution, you get the best of both worlds, and can leverage both the security and control aspects to protect your users and your infrastructure. If you are not using bandwidth monitoring today, you’re missing out on a great tool for your network.

 

This guest post was provided by Casper Manes on behalf of GFI Software Ltd. GFI is a leading software developer that provides a single source for network administrators to address their network security, content security and messaging needs. Learn more on how your organization can benefit from monitoring network bandwidth with GFI WebMonitor.

All product and company names herein may be trademarks of their respective owners.

photo by: minds-eye
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