The company network is part of the basic infrastructure in the company: It structures the cooperation. It provides access to the Internet. It enables employees and management to share hardware, printers, servers and services. They use the network for internal communication and data exchange.

NETWORK STRUCTURE

To set up a network, different network devices are required. The router connects the company’s own local network (LAN/WLAN) with the outside world, the worldwide network (WAN), the Internet. Switches (sometimes also hubs) and cables, radio or power are used to connect computers, VoIP telephones, printers and servers to each other and to the router.

NETWORK PERFORMANCE

These network devices form the network infrastructure. In order to maintain them and guarantee good performance, basic conditions such as clear device management and knowledge of how data is exchanged between devices are required. This information is essential for effective troubleshooting. A fast problem solution in turn minimizes downtimes in the company. This saves costs and prevents sales losses.

ADMINISTRATIVE OPTIMISATION

One way to optimize the management of network devices is to use a tool that automatically searches the network for current data and new devices. Instead of manually creating Excel tables for the devices or manually adding information to a device management software, you automatically get a current representation of the existing network devices and status information.

Such an overview also shows the firmware version and whether devices need an update or a patch. Ideally, the update is delivered centrally or the responsible administrator is informed about the need for action.

The information of colleagues and superiors is simplified by clear dashboards, maps and reports. If administration is performed remotely from a central point, unnecessary paths can be saved.

MAINTENANCE AND SERVICING

A network device management helps with the maintenance and servicing of the devices. With the help of the status overviews and the real current database, maintenance can be planned centrally and the replacement of devices can be prepared at an early stage.

In the event of problems, you can investigate all devices remotely to find the cause of the error. Fault diagnosis and fault management are greatly simplified by the central information pooling.

EARLY ERROR NOTIFICATION

In case of problems with a device, the error message is delivered directly to the dashboard, by mail or SMS. So not all devices have to be checked manually on a regular basis. The network device management takes care of this and watches in the background.

You don’t have to wait for a desperate user to respond, who needs the device urgently at that moment, but can intervene immediately if the software detects an error before the user notices it.

SAFETY AND STABILITY

With Network Device Management, admins can determine whether ports are open or the firmware is out of date. They can detect bottlenecks in bandwidth, traffic utilization, and suspicious traffic behavior on the network device.

It is important for the stability of a network that there are also alternative routes. The mapping of the network devices and their connections to each other helps here. Without redundancy, device failures or connection interruptions result in costly productivity losses.

Excursus: Administration with the Simple Network Management Protocol

To manage a network, you need information; information provided by SNMP sensors. SNMP stands for Simple Network Management Protocol, a set of standards for communication with devices in a TCP/IP network. SNMP is useful for monitoring servers and network devices such as hosts, routers, hubs and switches.

SNMP is used by monitoring tools to collect data for network device management that is contextualized by the tool. Only with this information base can problems be solved, decisions made on a factual basis and devices and processes managed effectively.

Each device has multiple parameters that can be measured and retrieved. Each parameter of a device – such as the toner level in printer management – has an OID, an Object Identifier. Network device manufacturers provide MIBs (Management Information Base) for their devices with all OIDs available on the device. These are integrated into their network management by the Admin, allowing the valuable information to flow.

Where does a network device come from?

Whether small business or enterprise, whether office, building or campus, whether a single location or distributed locations, whether a server room or several, all require network device management. This also applies explicitly to the networks of (still) small companies. This is the only way you don’t have to start from scratch when you’re growing, because network architecture and device configurations are no longer comprehensible.

NETWORKS FROM START-UP TO ENTERPRISE

For small businesses or start-ups, a manageable setup of compact server cabinets, routers, switches, cabling, workstations, printers and VoIP telephones is often sufficient. Routers and switches are later joined by wireless access points and repeaters. LAN and WLAN networks are then no longer sufficient.

Monitoring and network device management should scale with the network infrastructure. It is best to have tools that can cope with such changes and extensions right from the start and that are not limited from the start. Keyword: sustainability.

Leona J. Conway