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By: Hitsubscribe
November 29, 2023

Building a Network Monitoring Dashboard: A Guide

A smooth business operation hinges on maintaining a robust and efficient network. Proactively identifying and addressing issues before they impact users is critical. Network monitoring plays a pivotal role, and a network monitoring dashboard is a key tool in the arsenal.

What Is a Network Monitoring Dashboard?

A network monitoring dashboard is a graphical user interface that provides a single source of truth for network monitoring data. Users visualize a network’s key metrics and data, such as packet loss, bandwidth, network latency, device status, alerts and more. Users can also drill down into the details of each metric and data point and customize the layout and appearance of the dashboard.

Key Features of a Network Monitoring Dashboard

  • Up-to-date data: Dashboards should display the latest network data and update it automatically.
  • Visual and interactive data: Dashboards should have different kinds of charts and graphs to choose from. Line, bar and pie charts, plus gauges, heat maps and more should make data attractive and easy to understand. You should also be able to interact with the data by zooming in, zooming out, filtering, sorting and so on.
  • Flexible widgets: You should be able to add, remove, resize and move the widgets showing data on the dashboard. You should also be able to change the settings and options of each widget, including titles, colors, scale and thresholds.
  • Alerts and notifications: The dashboard should warn you when something goes wrong on your network, such as high packet loss, low bandwidth, high network latency, device failure, etc. Dashboard should also tell you how to fix the problem and send you messages via email, SMS and other ways.
  • Access and sharing control: You should be able to set different access and permission levels for different users or groups such as administrators, operators, analysts and more. You should also be able to share the dashboard with others and save it as a report or a file.

Benefits of a Network Monitoring Dashboard

A network monitoring dashboard provides the following benefits:

  1. Improved visibility: A comprehensive and holistic view of the network helps users identify and understand trends, patterns and correlations.
  2. Faster troubleshooting: Provides actionable insights from root cause analysis of network issues, enabling users to quickly rectify problems.
  3. Enhanced performance: The dashboard helps users optimize network resources, including bandwidth, devices, routers, switches, etc. This optimization leads to improvements in network speed, reliability and efficiency.
  4. Increased productivity: Easy access to network data and performance metrics improves efficiency and enables IT teams to focus on the core tasks and goals of network management.
  5. Better decision-making: The dashboard empowers users to make informed data-driven decisions on configuration, maintenance and optimization improvements.

Key Characteristics of an Exceptional Network Monitoring Dashboard

  • Relevance: The dashboard must display data that are directly pertinent to the user’s role, objectives, and context. Extraneous or unrelated data is to be avoided, preventing clutter and maintaining user focus.
  • Accuracy: Displayed data must be accurate, reliable, and consistent. Eliminating erroneous or outdated information ensures that users are not misled or confused.
  • Timeliness: Timeliness is imperative, so the dashboard should reflect the current state of the network. Stale or delayed data, with diminished value or significance, has no place on the dashboard.
  • Actionability: The data should be actionable, empowering users to take the necessary steps to enhance the network. Irrelevant, vague or ambiguous data has no utility and might leave users unsure about their next steps.
  • Clarity: The dashboard should offer clear and easily interpretable data. Complex, confusing or misleading elements must be omitted to prevent user misinterpretation.
  • Aesthetic appeal: An appealing presentation is crucial for capturing the user’s attention and interest. Data should be displayed in an attractive manner without dull or unappealing visuals that might lead to a loss of user motivation or interest.

Which Types of Data are Essential to Monitor? 

  • Packet loss: Packet loss is the percentage of packets that are lost or dropped and indicate network congestion, misconfiguration or other failures that affect network performance and quality.
  • Bandwidth: Bandwidth is the amount of data transmitted or received in the network per unit of time. Bandwidth indicates network capacity, utilization and availability, which negatively affect network speed and efficiency.
  • Network latency: Network latency is the time it takes for a packet to travel from the source to its destination and indicates network issues that can affect network responsiveness and quality.
  • Device status: Device status is the state or condition of the network devices, such as routers, switches, servers, etc. Device status can indicate the device’s availability, performance and health and can affect network functionality and reliability.
  • Alerts: Alerts are the notifications triggered when there are any anomalies, errors or issues, such as high packet loss, low bandwidth, high network latency, device failure, etc. Alerts help users identify and resolve issues quickly and effectively.

Identifying the Goals and Scope for the Dashboard

Before building a network monitoring dashboard, it’s important to first identify the goals and scope. Both can help users define the purpose, audience and requirements of the dashboard and select the appropriate metrics and data to display. Here are some of the questions to ask when identifying your goals and scope:

  • What is the purpose of the dashboard? What are the main objectives or questions that the dashboard should answer?
  • Who is the audience? What are their roles, responsibilities, and expectations? How will they use the dashboard?
  • What are the technical, functional, and aesthetic requirements? What are the constraints or limitations of including these requirements?
  • What are the key metrics and data that the dashboard should display? What are the sources, formats, and frequencies of the data? How will the data be collected, processed, and displayed?

Setting up Alerts and Notifications 

One of the key features of a network monitoring dashboard is alerting and notification, which can help users detect and respond to network issues promptly and effectively. Netreo provides a powerful and flexible alerting and notification system that can help users set up alerts and notifications for their network monitoring dashboard. Here are some things you need to do:

  • Define precise alert conditions: Specify the alert conditions with meticulous detail that encompass criteria such as thresholds, anomalies, trends and more. You have the flexibility to define conditions for each metric or data point on the dashboard, assigning severity levels such as critical, warning or informational.
  • Craft customized alert actions: Tailor alert actions to suit your specific needs, including tasks like logging tickets, running scripts and sending emails, SMS messages and webhooks. Define actions for each alert condition, precisely outlining recipients, content and the frequency of the actions to be executed.
  • Establish refined alert policies: Set up alert policies that govern the behavior and logic of the alerting system to cover aspects like escalation, suppression, correlation and more. Users can meticulously define policies for individual alert conditions or groups, specifying rules, conditions and exceptions that align with unique user requirements.
  • Thoroughly test and verify alerts and notifications: Ensure the accuracy and effectiveness of alerts and notifications through comprehensive testing and verification processes. This involves simulating various alert scenarios, scrutinizing alert status and history, reviewing reports and collecting feedback. Users can refine and enhance alerts and notifications for each condition or group based on the insights gained during testing.

Why You Should Set up Alerting on Your Netreo Network Monitoring Dashboard

  1. Swift issue detection: Setting up alerts enables you to promptly identify network issues as soon as they arise so that you won’t miss crucial events or changes.
  2. Rapid response: Alerts facilitate a quicker and more effective response to network issues, minimizing their impact and duration. Timely intervention is key to maintaining optimal performance.
  3. Efficient issue resolution: By leveraging alerting capabilities, you can streamline the process of resolving network issues, not only enhancing efficiency but also preventing the recurrence or escalation of problems.
  4. Clear communication: Alerting enables you to communicate network issues clearly and consistently. Keeping stakeholders informed and updated ensures that everyone is on the same page, fostering better collaboration.
  5. Enhanced accountability: Alerting allows for precise tracking and measurement of network issues with an objective approach and contributes to improved network performance and overall quality.

Kind of Alerts and Notifications in Netreo

Netreo provides various kinds of alerts and notifications:

  • Threshold alerts: Threshold alerts trigger when a metric or data point exceeds or falls below a predefined value or range, such as packet loss that’s greater than 10 percent, bandwidth that’s less than 50 percent, etc.
  • Anomaly alerts: Anomaly alerts trigger when a metric or data point deviates from its normal or expected behavior or pattern, such as network latency spikes, device status changes, etc.
  • Trend alerts: Trend alerts trigger when a metric or data point shows a significant or sustained increase or decrease over time, such as bandwidth growth, device degradation, etc.
  • Event alerts: Event alerts trigger when a specific or predefined event or condition occurs on the network, such as device failure, configuration change, SLA violation, etc.

How Does Network Monitoring Dashboards From Netreo Improve Business Operations?

Network monitoring dashboards from Netreo contribute to the improvement of business operations in a number of ways.

  • Minimized downtime and enhanced availability: Netreo and similar network monitoring dashboards empower users to proactively prevent, detect, and resolve network issues, mitigating downtime and service disruptions. Enhanced availability ensures continuous, uninterrupted operation of network services and applications.
  • Increased operational efficiency and cost reduction: Leveraging the capabilities of network monitoring dashboards such as Netreo enables users to optimize network resources, enhancing overall performance while reducing unnecessary overhead and costs. Optimization extends to IT team time, as well as bandwidth, device usage, power consumption and other resource allocations.
  • Strengthened security and compliance measures: Network monitoring dashboards play a pivotal role in safeguarding the network against cyber threats, breaches and violations. Additionally, dashboards help ensure compliance with network policies and regulations, encompassing crucial aspects like encryption, authentication and authorization.
  • Elevated customer satisfaction and loyalty: With network monitoring dashboards from Netreo, users can deliver network services and applications that not only meet but often exceed customer expectations. Performance improvement in the network’s speed, quality and reliability contributes to an enhanced overall customer experience, thereby fostering satisfaction and loyalty.

Achieving True Observability with Netreo Network Monitoring and Retrace APM

Observability allows you to monitor and understand the internal state and behavior of a system or application by using external outputs such as metrics, logs and traces. Observability is essential for modern and complex systems and applications that are distributed, dynamic and diverse and require high performance, reliability and scalability.

Netreo network monitoring and Retrace APM  are two complementary platforms that can help users achieve true observability. Netreo is a platform that provides full-stack monitoring, AIOps and real-time dashboards for network monitoring. Retrace, meanwhile, provides application performance monitoring (APM), error tracking, centralized logging, code-level application tracing and more. By using Netreo and Retrace together, users can get a comprehensive and holistic view of their network and application performance, health and issues, plus the tools to troubleshoot and optimize business infrastructures and applications effectively.

Final Thoughts

Building a network monitoring dashboard is not just a technical necessity—it’s a strategic imperative. Netreo, fortified by the ongoing integration of Retrace, stands at the forefront of providing a holistic solution. By customizing metrics, ensuring real-time visibility, integrating AIOps and seamlessly aligning with ITSM, Netreo empowers your team to not just monitor but also truly observe and optimize your network infrastructure.

For more insights into the world of network monitoring and observability, check out Netreo’s Single Source of Truth and the white paper Monitoring & Observability: Making Metrics Matter. Explore the capabilities of Netreo’s platform at Netreo Platform, and delve into the specifics of full-stack monitoring at Observe Full Stack Monitoring. For additional collateral and data sheets, visit Netreo Collateral and Data Sheets.

This post was written by Wisdom Ekpotu. Wisdom is a Software & Technical Writer based in Nigeria. Wisdom is passionate about web/mobile technologies, open-source, and building communities. He also helps companies improve the quality of their Technical Documentation.

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