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Comprehensive Guide To Network Monitoring, How Is The Process Of Monitoring Computer Networks?

The Number Of Local, Private, Extensive, Intercity And Campus Networks Is Increasing Day By Day. Today’s Businesses Can Transfer Some Of Their Traditional Activities To Cyberspace And Take Advantage Of The Potential Benefits Of Communication Networks

That’s why corporate networks need a variety of complex technologies and solutions to meet the growing needs of the digital world. To provide better customer service, organizations need to ensure that network speed and performance are in good condition, and therefore need network monitoring tools. Tools that provide accurate reporting on network status and performance.

To take advantage of the potential benefits of these tools, we need to be aware of important concepts that make reading and analyzing technical information easier.

What is network monitoring?

Network monitoring refers to the process of using software and hardware solutions for continuous monitoring of computer networks to find components and equipment that have caused problems or slowed down.

When monitoring systems are deployed in networks, they continuously monitor the network and the data transmitted by the various nodes, detect any network disturbances, and notify the network administrator.

Depending on the architecture used to monitor the network, devices may directly sample data passing through the network or use data stored in a network node, similar to when one of the switch ports is in Mirroring mode. And sends a copy of the data exchanged by a particular node to the network administrator for monitoring.

In network monitoring, data is analyzed and displayed in a dashboard to evaluate network performance instantaneously. If the network monitoring program detects any problems that indicate a network failure, it will notify the operator to resolve the issue quickly.

Why should we think about using network monitoring solutions?

Network monitoring solutions help organizations closely monitor network performance and status. In this case, IT teams can quickly identify problems and fix them. One of the most important applications of network monitoring tools is early detection of problems and saving time to identify the exact location of the problem. Statistics show that even small problems in the network can quickly become bigger problems.

In addition, network monitoring tools can be useful in identifying malware threats. Because malware can infiltrate networks by hiding from firewalls and security systems, it can cause minor changes in network traffic. In such cases, monitoring tools can identify and report the source of abnormal traffic.

Familiarity with network monitoring solutions

Various monitoring solutions are available to organizations, but most companies use the SolarWinds NMP and Zabbbix tools.

SolarWinds NPM 12

A network monitoring software consists of customizable web-based dashboards, charts aggregated in one place, and various profiles. The above software allows all network performance data to be provided to network administrators in a simple and understandable format. NPM allows network administrators to change software configurations to suit the needs of the business, the network topology, and the specific subtleties on which the network is built.


Zabbix is ​​open-source software for monitoring networks and software at the enterprise level, designed by Alexei Vladishev. This software is mostly used to monitor and detect the status of network services, servers, and other network hardware. Zabbix supports MySQL, PostgreSQL, SQLite Lite, Oracle, and DB2 for data storage.

Zabbix offers many options for monitoring equipment, including the following:

  •      Simple assessments report services’ stability and responsiveness to standard protocols such as SMTP or HTTP without installing software on the monitored system.
  •      Zabbix can install on Linux and Windows systems and reports CPU performance, storage space, network usage status, and more.
  •      ZBEX uses SNMP, TCP, ICMP, IPMI, JMX, SSH, Telnet protocols to monitor the network as closely as possible.

ManageEngine OpManager

ManageEngine OpManager is a comprehensive software designed by Zoho for complete network management.

The ManageEngine OpManager is a leading enterprise network management software that has tried to provide the most accurate technical reports by providing the simplest solution. It provides comprehensive network monitoring by providing tools for virtual and physical server monitoring, bandwidth analyzer tools, advanced firewall analyzers, monitoring configuration and changes, IP address management, and switch ports.

The most important features of OpManager software are:

  •   Network health monitoring using protocols such as SNMP, WMI, and CLI.
  •   VoIP monitoring.
  •  Ability to display and optimize the network map.
  •  RTT monitoring of wide-area networks.
  •  Manage network configuration.
  •  Ability to analyze advanced network traffic.
  • Complete monitoring of physical and virtual servers based on different operating systems.
  •  Close monitoring of system processes.
  •  Powerful network bandwidth monitoring.
  • Traffic routers for routers.
  • Cisco AVC and LPSLA‌ monitors.
  •  Possibility of NBAR reporting on Cisco equipment.
  •  Ability to back up various settings and configurations.
  •  Manage changes and instantly announce any changes via email.

Datadog Infrastructure

Another powerful tool in the field of networking is the Datadog tool. A meta-centric tool that tracks server resources. Datadog Infrastructure evaluates and tracks system performance issues.

 Indicative features of this software should include the following:

  • Collect performance metrics and transactions for system overview.
  • Group and monitor servers in different locations.
  • Provide accurate traffic analysis maps.
  • Detection of performance abnormalities.
  • Identify suspicious traffic that is inconsistent with defined policies.

What should be considered when choosing a network monitoring tool?

When choosing a monitoring solution, you must first determine the budget and the size of the network. For example, a local network analytics program or closed-loop tracking software that monitors the network for transmitting data are both in the group of monitoring tools. However, these tools do not have the necessary options for network management.

For this reason, when choosing the right tool, you should pay attention to the scope of operations and network, the configuration of network components, budget, and size of the network operations team (people located in the network operations center).

One of the most important things to keep in mind about the network monitoring process is the functionality provided by the tools. Typically, network monitoring tools should explore, map, monitor, alert, and report.

  • Exploration: This means identifying and find devices that are installed within the network. The first stage of network monitoring begins with exploration. Without knowledge of the equipment and nodes within the network, you have little chance of identifying problems. Network surveillance systems detect the information exchanged by these central components by identifying routers, switches, firewalls, servers, printers, intrusion detection systems, honeycombs, and other equipment. Network monitoring systems closely monitor networks based on predetermined policies. The performance of monitoring systems is such that after identifying the devices, they consider a suitable role for the device. For example, when two or more routers are deployed on the network, these systems consider separate plans for the main router that brings traffic into the network and the routers that act as developers. However, not all network monitoring tools can detect how devices are connected to the network. For example, advanced tools such as SolarWinds NMP can detect the server’s connection to other devices such as switches by detecting two / three layers when they detect a server on the network. In the exploration discussion, it is not enough to know what devices are on the network. Still, the information should be available on how the devices are connected, which helps to troubleshoot when one or more nodes in the network are lost quickly. Identified. For example, advanced tools such as SolarWinds NMP can detect the server’s connection to other devices such as switches by detecting two / three layers when they detect a server on the network. In the exploration discussion, it is not enough to know what devices are on the network. Still, the information should be available on how the devices are connected, which helps to troubleshoot when one or more nodes in the network are lost quickly. Identified. For example, advanced tools such as SolarWinds NMP can detect the server’s connection to other devices such as switches by detecting two / three layers when they detect a server on the network. In the exploration discussion, it is not enough to know what devices are on the network. Still, the information should be available on how the devices are connected, which helps to troubleshoot when one or more nodes in the network are lost quickly. Identified. 
  • Mapping: Mapping in the simplest definition refers to providing a graphical view of a network. Provides a graphical overview to help identify network problems in less time. Mapping helps network administrators gain accurate information about how nodes interact with the network by providing an overview of how devices are connected and a graphical view of device performance (whether ports on the switch are on or transmitting information). Network experts typically seek information about device ping, latency, CPU usage, main memory, and disk space usage when discussing network performance. 
  • Warning: A warning refers to information about a network failure or malfunction. Network monitoring systems send a warning to the network administrator whenever they detect a problem. Alerting can be done in general or in the form of a threshold-based alert. Whenever the operation of the equipment exceeds a certain point, an alert is sent to the network administrator. For example, if a company is active in providing virtual services and virtual machines, it can set the CPU usage threshold to a certain value to send a warning to the network administrator if usage increases. 
  • Reporting: Cloud service providers must provide accurate reports to companies to operate according to the service level agreement. These reports should be analytical and graphical so that companies know when they are most consuming resources. Typically, network monitoring solutions provide network administrators with information through web dashboards. 

What knowledge do we need to monitor computer networks?

In general, to monitor computer networks, you need to know enough about the types of computer networks, the OSI model, the basic components of networks, and the underlying network protocols.

A computer network is built based on various components that enable communication between different network nodes. These basic components are IP address, subnetting, domain name system, and dynamic host configuration protocol.

What is the OSI model?

The Open Systems Interconnection model describes the layers that connect two or more telecommunication systems or computer networks. The OSI model explains how two data transmission systems are connected based on different media types in a computer network.

The OSI model is not a network architecture because it does not define any services or protocols but a conceptual model for large protocols and architectures. This model has seven physical layers, data link, network, transmission, session, display, and application.

Datalink, network, and application layers are the most widely used layers in network monitoring. Network monitoring systems use layers two, three, and seven to identify network equipment and connect them to build structural drawings and monitor the network.

What equipment do traffic network monitoring solutions monitor?

Typically, network monitoring devices try to eavesdrop on information exchanged by core network equipment.

 These types of equipment are as follows:

  • Router: The main function of a router is to connect networks. For example, a private network connects to the Internet via a router. In addition, the router is responsible for resolving packets and is a layer 3 device. Accordingly, important information is transmitted by the router that must carefully evaluate.
  • Switches: Switches are used to communicate with computers, printers, servers, and other equipment on private networks. Switches act as a controller and connect devices within a local area network. In general, switches are known as second-layer devices. Since switches exchange information between nodes within a local network, any failures in the transmission process can be detected by the switches.
  • Firewall: Firewall is responsible for monitoring incoming and outgoing traffic based on specific policies. This prevents the information from a private network from being easily sent to an unreliable network such as the Internet. Firewalls typically provide good information about suspicious activity but do not provide very comprehensive information regarding monitoring.
  • Server: Computer networks are implemented to provide information and applications to users. Applications and information are stored on servers. The servers receive and process user requests and send the result to the user. Servers are one of the most important components of a network that provide good technical information to experts in monitoring.

What does FCAPS mean in network monitoring?

Network management and monitoring cover a variety of topics and aim to reduce costs and improve performance. FCAPS is the five terms Network Management and Monitoring for Fault Management, Configuration Management, Accounting Management, Performance Management, and Security Management.

The definition of each of them is as follows:

  • Error management: Error management refers to the process of identifying, sorting, and resolving problems in the network. Identification of potential network problems is classified under the error management subset.
  • Configuration Management: Configuration management refers to identifying, maintaining, monitoring configuration changes, monitoring user activity, and troubleshooting problems by performing error correction operations.
  • Audit and Audit: Resource consumption and network bandwidth are evaluated and calculated in the audit and audit discussion. Service providers perform most audits to calculate costs. In networks that use expensive communications such as fiber optics or cellular communications, auditing significantly reduces costs.
  • Performance Management: Performance management assesses the overall state of the network by focusing on throughput, packet loss rate, response time, consumption, and the like.
  • Security Management: In the discussion of security management, issues such as controlling access to data sources, settings, and checking the permissions assigned to users are examined, and any suspicious activity related to user accounts is investigated.

How does a network monitoring tool work?

In general, network monitoring tools and systems operate on an agent-based basis, without an agent or a combination of both. The agent refers to the software component that receives the performance data of the devices. This data is sent to a monitoring system based on requests made by the NMS or policies defined within the agent.

In the agent-free approach, the monitoring software lacks a specific component and uses remote application programming interfaces for monitoring. In the above method, SNMP is used to monitor network components.

And in hybrid mode, based on the network architecture and tailored to the situation, the software decides what solution to use to monitor the network.

Then in all three cases, network monitoring tools use the Simple Network Management Protocol (SNMP), Windows Management Instrumentation (WMI), and Secure Shell for Linux and Unix Servers (SSH). However, some of these tools use scripting languages ​​such as PowerShell for customization.

They use the process of monitoring networks, servers and performing custom dialogs on databases.

SNMP and WMI protocols are widely used in this field.

  • SNMP: The data packet transfer protocol is in the application layer on the TCP / IP protocol. Designed to facilitate the transfer of systems management packages, this protocol has only five commands, all of which are well-structured. Using these five commands, you can manage all the management needs of a device over the network. SNMP works in the application layer of the OSI model. To prevent inconsistencies in the performance of the TCP / IP protocol, the protocol exchanges data without implementing a link, i.e., the data sent with this protocol from the session layer, which is the connection host layer. It does not pass between sender and receiver, so there is no busy line for data transmission and no malfunction of the main network protocol (TCP / IP). In fact, the SNMP protocol does not create a path in the network to send data but directs data from one bus to another to reach its destination.
  • WMIWindows Management Instrumentation (Windows Management Instrumentation) consists of a set of peripherals for Windows management. It acts as a link between the operating system and the various departments. If you need any system information through these tools, communicate with different departments and receive the necessary information. WMI is the executable version of the Web-Based Enterprise Management System (WBEM), the Common Information Model (CIM), and the System Task Management Distribution Standards (DMTF). WMI for programming languages ​​(such as VBScript or Windows PowerShell) allows them to manage the operating system of PCs and servers locally or remotely. WMI provides detailed information about the operating systems, hardware or software data, status or features of local or remote systems, processes and services, and security information. 

Monitoring tools do not require precise management policies to function better. When implementing a network monitoring solution, certain rules are set by the network administrators.

These rules specify how the packets exchanged are intercepted by nodes and parameters that need to be monitored. In addition to the common rules, the network administrator must properly understand the design and requirements of the network and correctly identify and define important metrics for the software.

Network monitoring policies and rules are divided into different groups, such as accessibility monitoring, interactive monitoring, disk monitoring, and hardware monitoring.