What Is Network Performance? What Are Its Top Metrics?

What Is Network Performance? What Are Its Top Metrics?

Network performance refers to the quality and effectiveness of a network system. It involves evaluating and reviewing the speed, connectivity, reliability, and efficiency of a network. 

Key indicators of network performance include bandwidth, latency, throughput, jitter, and error rate. High-performing networks reliably transmit high volumes of data quickly and securely, with minimal delays or errors, improving productivity and user experience.

Here at Nile, we offer a next-generation wired and wireless access network, with performance guarantees. Nile Access Service provides service quality guarantee for wireless coverage, network capacity and overall system availability within customer buildings, sharing the responsibility for the success of our customer’s network infrastructure deployment. 

This commitment to performance is backed by a robust system of proactive monitoring, end-to-end automation, and continuous optimization. Nile customers and partners can access performance data, including uptime percentages and latency, on a monthly basis and track historical data and trends. This allows them to view service level compliance metrics, and in the event that the service does not meet the service level objectives, customers are eligible to receive a service credit. Nile's customer success team shares this report with customers on a periodic basis, offering collaborative planning for future improvements. 

How to measure network performance

Measuring network performance involves various metrics to evaluate the operational quality of a network. Here are some key steps to take:

1. Determine key performance indicators (KPIs)

Decide on which network performance indicators are crucial for your operation. These can include bandwidth, throughput, latency, jitter, and packet loss, amongst others.

2. Use network monitoring tools

Implement network monitoring software that can constantly record the status and statistics of all elements of the network infrastructure, its users and devices connected - and then ideally identify issues proactively before service quality to end users are negatively impacted. These tools can analyze data packets, measure their travel time, and observe error rates to help you understand when and where network performance needs improvement.

3. Test your network

Conduct testing under various conditions and real-world scenarios to assess how well the network performs under stress or heavy loads. 

With Nile Access Service, these tasks are automated with the use of physical sensors that are installed along with the Wi-Fi access points in the building, and with the use of virtual sensors that are part of the Wi-Fi access points and wired infrastructure switching components themselves. 

4. Analyze the data

All the data collected must be analyzed to gain insights into the network’s performance. This can include assessing the average speeds, pinpointing any bottlenecks, checking error rates, and identifying any recurring problems. Many modern network performance monitoring tools can do this automatically. 

Nile Access Service goes beyond monitoring and drives automation towards service level improvements within the infrastructure as it proactively detects deviations against baseline performance metrics collected during the lifetime of the network infrastructure. 

5. Prepare reports

Prepare detailed reports with all significant findings for stakeholders to make informed decisions and plan any capacity expansions or upgrades. 

By continuously keeping tabs on network performance, IT teams and technology providers such as Nile can ensure that the network remains robust and capable of handling your organizational needs.

What factors impact network performance?

Several factors can affect network performance, including:

Bandwidth

If a network has low bandwidth, it will affect the speed and efficiency of data transmission. For example, a marketing department might have issues sharting large project files in a timely manner across campus. 

Latency

High latency can affect the network’s performance, especially during synchronous tasks. For instance, during a virtual board meeting, a noticeable delay in conversation might be observed due to latency. 

Network traffic

Excessive traffic can congest a network, hampering its performance. On a college campus, during online registration periods, students might experience slower response times accessing the registration portal. Campus IT can use load balancers to distribute incoming requests evenly or expand server capabilities to handle such peak loads.

Network configuration

How a network is structured, from routers to switches, can dictate performance. Inefficient configuration may result in data bottlenecks. On a college campus, if dormitory internet is sluggish due to misrouted data, reconfiguring or optimizing the path can resolve the issue.

Physical infrastructure

Network performance can be hampered by issues in the physical equipment, from cables to routers. In a corporate office, if an area experiences intermittent connectivity, it might be due to a faulty access point or failing switch. Routine inspections, device monitoring, and prompt equipment replacements can avert such challenges.

Network security

While essential for enterprise infrastructure safety and data privacy, some security protocols can impede performance. For instance, deep packet inspection can slow down the traffic in transit. By fine-tuning the security settings or utilizing efficient encryption methods, administrators can strike a balance between security and speed. As part of the Nile Access Service, all zero trust networking capabilities operate at line rate independent of the network load given high performance Wi-Fi access point and wired switching backbone. 

Environmental factors

External factors, from nearby electronic devices to physical barriers, can disturb network efficiency. On a college campus, neighboring wireless hotspots can inhibit campus Wi-Fi signals. Installing additional access points, using rogue access point detection, and using Wi-Fi extenders can help overcome such barriers.

Service provider

The service level offered by ISPs can greatly influence network efficiency. If, for instance, a company's cloud-based applications become sluggish during specific hours, it might be due to ISP limitations. Upgrading to a dedicated business package or collaborating with a different ISP can ensure consistent and efficient service.

By identifying and addressing these factors, it's possible to enhance network performance and improve the overall user experience.

What are the parameters to measure network performance?

There are several key parameters used to measure and evaluate network performance:

Bandwidth

Bandwidth represents the utmost data volume that can be transmitted between network points within a specified timeframe, usually quantified as bits per second (bps), kilobits per second (Kbps), or megabits per second (Mbps). 

Administrators reference bandwidth when planning network expansions or when troubleshooting slow network speeds to ensure capacity aligns with demands.

Throughput

It measures the actual quantity of data that is successfully transferred from one point to another over a given period, and is usually lower than bandwidth due to hindrances like data errors or network congestion. 

Administrators analyze throughput to verify if a network is performing at its expected efficiency and to identify any potential bottlenecks.

Latency

This is the delay that occurs while data is being transferred from one point to another, impacted by factors like distance and network congestion, and measured in milliseconds (ms). 

In applications where real-time communication is vital, such as VoIP or video conferencing, administrators monitor latency to ensure seamless data transmission.

Jitter

This refers to the variation in the latency period, where the delay in receipt of each packet may differ, causing received data to be out of order. 

Administrators track jitter in real-time communication networks to ensure consistent and quality voice or video interactions.

Packet loss

This parameter gauges the percentage or number of data packets sent into the network but do not reach their destination. 

Administrators assess packet loss to diagnose potential network issues, as high packet loss can result in disrupted services or decreased quality of service.

Error rate

This refers to the number of bits with errors divided by the total number of bits received, also known as Bit Error Rate (BER). 

Administrators utilize this metric to assess the integrity of data transmission and to pinpoint potential hardware issues or signal interferences.

Round-trip time (RTT)

This refers to the duration for a data packet to journey from the source to the destination and then return. 

Network administrators monitor RTT to gauge the responsiveness of network connections, especially critical in applications like online gaming or financial transactions.

Network availability

This refers to when a network is available to users for normal activity, usually expressed as a percentage of total time. 

Ensuring high network availability is paramount for administrators, especially in enterprise environments where prolonged downtimes can result in significant financial and productivity losses. Monitoring these parameters can provide important insights into the performance of a network and help diagnose and rectify problems.

How to monitor network performance

Monitoring network metrics requires the use of network monitoring tools. Here's a basic guide on how to do it:

1. Identify key metrics

Before you start monitoring, understand the key metrics that are most relevant to your network's performance. Common critical metrics include bandwidth usage, packet loss, latency, and jitter.

2. Choose a network monitoring tool

There's a wide variety of network monitoring tools available for traditional network infrastructure, both free and paid. Some popular choices include SolarWinds, PRTG Network Monitor, and Nagios. Be sure to choose a tool that is capable of tracking the metrics you identified as key to your network performance. 

Note that this capability is integrated to the Nile Access Service, and not a separate line item. 

3. Set up and customize your tool

Once you’ve chosen a network monitoring tool, set it up to start collecting data from your network. Customize the tool to focus on your key metrics and set baseline values reflecting your network's normal performance.

4. Enable alerts

Most tools allow you to set custom alerts for when a metric exceeds or falls below a certain threshold. This can help you spot and address issues before they cause serious problems.

5. Regular monitoring and reporting

Monitor your network's performance on a regular basis and generate reports. This can help you identify patterns, plan for future capacity needs, and detect potential issues early.

6. Review and adjust

Regularly review your monitoring approach and make necessary adjustments. Your network will likely evolve over time, and your monitoring approach should evolve, too.

Remember, while monitoring network metrics will yield valuable insights, it should be part of a broader network management strategy that includes maintaining up-to-date network diagrams, regularly reviewing network security, and staying on top of software and hardware updates.

Organizations who choose to partner with Nile offload the manual workflows and operational burden required to keep track of the network performance to software automation and end to end system optimization, which are integral parts of the Nile Access Service. They ensure guaranteed performance for coverage, capacity and availability, and avoid steep upfront costs.

Guaranteed network performance with Nile

Looking for guaranteed network performance? With Nile, you can say goodbye to spotty connections, application disruptions, and unnecessary downtime. With the first-ever enterprise wired and wireless access network to offer coverage, capacity and availability guarantees, Nile Access Service provides verifiable network performance you can count on.

Through intelligent automation, continuous monitoring, and guaranteed service levels, administrators can rest easy knowing their network is secure, scalable, and always online.

Get in touch and don’t let poor network performance slow your organization down.

CATEGORIES
CONNECT WITH US
SUBSCRIBE


Stay up-to-date with the latest news and trends from Nile!

Ready to eliminate your network headaches?

You can experience the Nile difference in no time. Let’s talk.

Copyright © 2024 – Nile

Scroll to Top
Sign Up Today

Register Now