Best Practices for Pre Deployment Network Assessment
by July 19, 2011

Filed under: Networking Technology, Performance Monitoring

Many organizations underestimate the operational and business risk associated with deploying performance sensitive applications like VoIP, video conferencing, IP storage or virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) to remote locations. Other projects such as transitioning to a multiprotocol label switching (MPLS) network or integrating company networks due to a merger or acquisition can present significant performance problems for business critical services

Prior to making major infrastructure changes or rolling out new IP-based applications, it is critical to thoroughly test and assess your network’s readiness. This is especially true if your IT team was not involved in building out the network, and thus may not comprehensively understand the key performance metrics your business services depend on.

A complete baseline assessment is the only way to gauge the true scope of the project and accurately assess needs and costs. Analysts warn that a majority of companies will underestimate the impact of upgrades to their data networks when adding VoIP and other IP-based service.

Deployment Assessment ITSurveying a representative sample of network activity and making assumptions based on these results can be a costly mistake. For example, simply looking at Mean Opinion Scores (MoS), latency and loss measurements does not give you sufficient baseline information to ensure an error-free deployment and adequate post-deployment service quality – particularly because these tests do not assess variance in network traffic over time. Thus they can’t tell you everything you need to know about network capacity. Among the resulting problems can be increased costs of dealing with network problems, not to mention their business and productivity impact

Network assessments, when performed effectively, will save time and money by providing a holistic view of the network’s ability to handle voice and data traffic, validate SLAs, identify network problems, and accurately measure capacity. A successful network assessment requires a five-step approach:

  1. Pre-deployment assessment (Will it work?)
  2. Post-deployment assessment (Does it work?)
  3. Ongoing monitoring (How to keep it working)
  4. Troubleshooting (Unforeseen problems)
  5. Accurate reporting at each of the above stage

Once you have performed an initial network performance assessment, it is best practice to assess performance and throughput of LAN and WAN network circuits continuously, end-to-end, at the level of detail of the pre-deployment assessments. These assessments need to include dozens of targets at various locations, which are representative of the entire deployment. Further, assessment of targets should take place in each direction relative to key network locations

How can you seamlessly perform and review complex and diverse, ongoing network assessments? One cost-effective solution is to leverage the network assessment capabilities of AppNeta’s PathView Cloud technology.Pathview Cloud’s network assessment lets you acquire metrics on performance characteristics like jitter, latency and available bandwidth from any location to any IP-addressable target worldwide. There’s no faster, easier way to comprehensively and accurately measure the readiness and reliability of your network prior to deploying business-critical applications – or at any point in time thereafter.