If your network performance is struggling, the first solution many think of is to add more bandwidth. While that can help when you have a constant overload of traffic, it doesn’t address the root issue of poor bandwidth management. Quality of Service (QoS) and/or Quality of Experience (QoE) can give administrators the tools to direct the traffic, but the solutions need to start earlier in the process. Here are some of the best practices you can apply for sound bandwidth management.
Before adding more bandwidth or prioritizing any functions, you need to understand the current state of the network and gather a baseline for the types and amounts of data flows being processed. An assessment can also identify congestion, network misconfigurations, and other issues that may be contributing to latency. Then those issues need to be addressed before moving forward.
Identify and classify which data is mission-critical and which is not. This includes identifying latency-sensitive flows, like video and voice calls which can be a tremendous hindrance to efficiency if not prioritized. This traffic shaping establishes the rules for what gets the biggest lane in your data highway, as assigned. General web surfing, then, is likely to be in the least important class. When these controls are put in place, the important work can flow without hindrance and the non-value-adding activities are limited.
The way your users behave impacts your data flow, so they need controls just as your data does. IT hardware provided in the office is easier to monitor and establish built-in priorities for. BYOD can add some complexity because your controls don’t always translate. Establish clear policies and limits for user access, such as where they can access the network from, at what time of day, their traffic priority and which applications they can run. Then you can use network access control and identity management to enforce those policies.
As your business fluctuates, so do your bandwidth needs. The three previous best practices need to be applied like shampoo, rinse and repeat. Bandwidth management is critical to daily operations and the success of your business. Latency can be a major roadblock to productivity, and disastrous for customer-facing interactions.
Corporate Technologies Group conducts a thorough network assessment before determining the best course of action for its clients. We act as a partner helping you to find network performance perfection, enabling your business to grow without just tacking on more bandwidth.