Best Practices

Network Capacity Planning

Ensure enough bandwidth to meet your needs

A key feature of network planning is determining how much bandwidth the network actually needs – network capacity planning. Administrators need to determine what capacity will accommodate network growth over a period of time. For example, are you adopting VDI or video streaming? Are you rolling-out new applications or getting ready for mergers and/or acquisitions? These key initiatives require a detailed view into current bandwidth usage, combined with historical accounts of capacity usage, to ensure success. Network capacity planning also helps with accurate budgeting and provisioning.

QoS is a vital feature in network capacity planning. All links have congestion points and have periodic spikes in traffic. QoS polices are essential to ensure traffic spikes/congestion points are smoothed out, and more bandwidth is allocated to critical network traffic. Without proper QoS policies in place, all traffic has equal priority, and it is impossible to ensure your business-critical applications are getting sufficient bandwidth. For instance, without detailed knowledge of the type of traffic passing through a network, it is not possible to predict if QoS parameters for services like VoIP are meeting target levels. Network traffic monitoring will give you the visibility that you need to properly plan network capacity and ensure QoS.

Ipswitch Flow Monitor network traffic monitoring is invaluable to help you understand bandwidth requirements and for network capacity planning. For example, Flow Monitor can monitor traffic, identify traffic trends, mark out traffic patterns (spikes and valleys) analyze traffic growth and identify applications that use most bandwidth. This information is presented in comprehensive reports that track real-time usage as well as historical trends of bandwidth usage over time. For instance, the Bandwidth Usage report summarizes bandwidth utilization for a selected group of devices/interfaces over a specified time period. The information can then be filtered based on interfaces, hosts, traffic direction and data range. Additionally, reports like Top Protocols and Top Applications can also show historical/real-time bandwidth usage. QoS policies can also be monitored through the class-based QoS reports, which offer a unified view of pre-policy and post-policy traffic side by side, allowing administrators to manage QoS targets and identify critical issues like router saturation.

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