Network Traffic Monitoring Tools: The Basics

Network traffic monitoring tools can help administrators or owners become more aware of the traffic that passes over their networks, ensuring safety and better policing of their network resources. Many times, a network can be compromised by a small number of users resulting in poor performance, which most network administrators wish to avoid at all costs. Furthermore, network traffic monitoring tools can assist administrators in catching individuals engaging in illegal or inappropriate activities.

One useful way to monitoring network traffic is by capturing all corporate traffic near the gateway. Using this method, all inbound and outbound traffic can be captured and analyzed – and since the gateway is often the bottleneck it is the ideal spot to monitor and police. Typically, inbound traffic volumes are significantly higher than outbound traffic however, outbound traffic provides a good indication of the various sites users have attempted to access.

There several software types of network traffic monitoring solutions available which allow IT staff to accomplish specific tasks with the data that was captured. For instance, you can identify which computers are sending and receiving network traffic through your network gateway along with the associated bandwidth rate and volume. Some programs will allow you to get visibility into the other activity that employees are participating in, including YouTube, Facebook, online gaming and so on. Other software solutions can detect anomalous network traffic which could be an indication of a security threat such a DoS attack.

A network administrator should empower themselves with a set of tools which permits them to track various application level activities in their networks. By doing so, any illegal activities can be prevented and if performance issues are encountered, traffic monitoring tools will enable the administrator to identify the root cause of the congestion problem. All network failure scenarios should be easily detectable using traffic monitoring tools.

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