How to Tell When Your Network is Stretched Too Thin

If you start having issues with your network, it can have a knock on effect for your entire organisation. This month we discuss how you can avoid any potential problems. 

A network is arguably one of the most important assets that your business has. It keeps your team connected to crucial information and mission-critical applications. This is perhaps why it’s so irritating when your network acts up. You should be on the lookout for even the slightest problem with your network, as even a small change could be a sign of bad things yet to come.

If your network is having trouble performing its duties, you run the risk of experiencing severe downtime and breaking your budget. Here’s a way you can identify network congestion and bottlenecks, and what you can do about them.

Defining Network Congestion and Bottlenecking
Network congestion is when your network is dealing with so much traffic that it can’t process it all and it collapses under the pressure. This can happen if you have too many devices accessing your network, and your network hardware or bandwidth can’t keep up with the increased demand placed on it. This is especially common when you start to implement bandwidth-heavy solutions like conferencing and VoIP. On the opposite end, bottlenecking occurs when your network’s resources are too restricted and aren’t being delegated properly, or if a network doesn’t have the bandwidth to support the data that’s being transferred.

What Causes Network Congestion?
The cause for your business’s network congestion might be something as simple as not having enough bandwidth to support your users. This is usually what happens if your business has grown significantly over its lifetime and you’ve onboarded plenty of new hires. If your network doesn’t grow to accommodate this change, you could be looking at an incredible amount of unexpected traffic, which could slow your network speed.

If your network congestion isn’t caused by too much internal traffic, you could be dealing with a Distributed Denial of Service attack (DDoS), in which a network or server is bombarded with an immense amount of traffic from an outside source designed specifically to take it down, or it could be something as simple as a failing piece of network hardware. Even something as simple as a faulty network card could put a damper on your business’s network.

What To Do
One of the most simple ways you can prevent downtime caused by network congestion is to plan for and accommodate growth. This means that you should always be aware of how many devices you plan on having connected to your network at any given time. How much data will you need to support peak hours? Depending on the maximum that you set, you should go above and beyond that. Doing so can help to ensure that your network is capable of functioning properly in all but the worst-case scenarios.