What are network KPIs?
Which KPIs do you use to measure network performance?
Key performance indicators aren’t just for evidencing performance levels to others; they’re an invaluable tool for you, enabling you to measure and assess the quality and capability of your network.
When troubleshooting network degradation or outages, key performance indicators are essential for determining the root cause of network latency, such as packet loss, saturation, bandwidth hogs, or interface and network device outages.
Key performance indicators (KPIs) aren’t just for evidencing performance levels to others; they’re an invaluable tool for you, enabling you to measure and assess the quality and capability of your network.
You need to understand which network metrics provide the essential information required for measuring network performance. While there isn’t a defined set of universal standards, the following five categories tend to be the ones most commonly used.
1. Device health.
The most common KPIs are CPU and memory utilization, temperature, and fan status. You should be able to obtain and report on these metrics (or similar) from every physical or virtual device on your network.
(Statseeker default dashboard – Device)
2. Device availability.
Ideally, you’ll want to be able to see the availability of every device on your network, in as near to real time as you can get it. If you only become aware that a router or a managed switch isn’t working when someone calls you to complain, that’s too late.
(Statseeker default dashboard – Network summary)
3. Latency and packet loss.
Measuring device latency and packet loss together gives you an early warning sign and an indication of possible network problems. A trending increase in latency or packet loss usually affects the user experience and services delivered across the network. It’s time to investigate!
4. Network interface.
Using SNMP polling you can see common KPIs, such as volume of network traffic. You can also see errors and discards per interface, inbound and outbound. You can poll an interface for availability or inactivity.
Measuring the availability and utilization of interfaces on your network gives you insights into whether these critical links are delivering the expected service level. Any downtime on an interface during core service hours could translate into revenue loss and a reduction in user productivity.
You can also use link bandwidth data to assess the capacity of the network and predict the need for capacity upgrades.
(Statseeker default dashboard – Interface overview)
5. Device-specific metrics.
Most SNMP-enabled network devices provide some common key performance metrics. However, certain devices provide additional metrics for network functions which are as important for monitoring user experience as the universal data.
For example, identifying whether your UPS’s are being charged correctly; whether there is high latency in combination with variation in delay ( Jitter ) across your IP telephony network; or whether unusual spikes in VPN sessions that are causing poor user experience.
Being able to access this critical performance data in your NOC or single pane of glass is key to ensuring the networking team is able to resolve issues before they become problems.