Frank Carius

Author: Frank Carius
Enterprise Architect / Partner – connect on LinkedIn

In our last post, we explained why a Network Assessment should always be completed before the introduction of new products. Click here to learn more: Successful cloud adoption with a network assessment – Rimscout.

In this article, we explain how a Network Assessment with Rimscout is structured and the four steps you need to take to achieve a smooth network.

An assessment for an application typically involves multiple tasks and should ideally be broken down into four sequential steps:

Step 1: Knowledge transfer

Effective planning depends on exchanging information, and it is important for customers to understand the requirements of their applications to determine what their network must deliver.

Knowledge of bandwidths, protocols, ports, and the number of connections required is just as important as understanding IP routing and name resolution.

In turn, provide information about your existing environment and any planned or implemented adaptations. This fosters a productive conversation between the responsible application owner, the network operator, and the assessor.

Upon completion of this phase, I frequently discover suboptimal configurations in the network infrastructure. Clients often compare these with their own ideas during requirements communication and functionality explanations, leading to initial suggested corrections prior to setting up the first measurement in the Network Assessment.

Step 2: Volume model

A Network Assessment guarantees a hitch-free implementation and seamless daily operation of new applications, while preserving the stability of pre-existing software. To accomplish this, a network profile must be established with consideration for factors such as the number of users, location within the network, and intensity of use.

Many products offer prescribed empirical values and requirements provided by the manufacturer for this purpose. For audio-visual solutions, latency times of less than 100ms are necessary and the bandwidth can be estimated with precision. Firstly, determine the number of users at each location or Internet outlet and establish a percentage of simultaneous users for meetings or conversations. By taking into account the known bandwidths (recall that video requires approximately 2 Mbit, and audio about 150 kbit), it is easy to plan the bandwidth requirements accurately at this stage.

If data is transferred from local servers to the cloud, the measured values from the existing servers can be used to estimate the outcome after the shift. For instance, Exchange servers can identify http requests and bandwidths.

Step 3: Measure and simulate

To carry out a Network Assessment it is necessary to determine whether we are just measuring or whether we are simulating as realistically as possible. Working with Rimscout, we examine all users’ clients or just representative locations and individual clients. In case of an existing issue, Rimscout measures relevant parameters, including latency, packet loss and jitter. For simulation purposes, we utilise loads that produce equivalent data transmissions to the actual application.

In this phase, your current systems, including monitoring and firewall, are optimised and adjusted to ensure future functionality, particularly during regular operation.

Active measurement or simulation requires at least one standard working week, but it can be extended as necessary. This applies in particular if new errors and problems are detected in your network and need to be resolved at short notice or if the simulation is paused due to unexpected negative side effects.

Step 4: Evaluation and report

Once the Network Assessment is complete, the data collected is analysed to determine whether the application is performing as expected within the current network environment and configuration. The network assessment should ideally provide explicit statements. However, it is important to note that the assessment’s validity is reduced due to the limitations of sample size and changes to assumptions. Additionally, your network is not solely dedicated to the new application implementation.

After completing the four phases, you should be assured that no obstacles impede the project and its implementation. You will also receive clear recommendations for any significant changes and a concise summary of the expertise gained in a personalised report.

In numerous cases, a network appraisal is merely the primary stride towards a streamlined functioning network. I advise you to implement the knowledge gained into your daily operations and show you how Rimscout can improve the monitoring of your services and network. It can be more time-consuming and ultimately more expensive to analyse various fault scenarios with specialist expertise than to establish the prerequisites during a network assessment.

Is your network running smoothly?
Are you planning to introduce a new cloud solution or would you be interested in conducting a network analysis with me to identify potential areas for improvement? Schedule your personal Network Assessment with Frank Carius today.