Network monitoring is a technology that has been around for a long time. It is not just the equipment on your network. It’s the tools you use to monitor your network, even if it’s just a laptop or desktop computer. Network monitoring can be done on the Internet or on your internal network (the part of the organization you work for).
Network monitoring allows you to keep an eye on what is happening on your network. You can see what applications are being used, how much bandwidth they are using, and even how many devices are connected to your network. You can also check what kind of traffic is flowing through your network and who is doing it.
There are two main ways to monitor your network:
- You can install a packet analyzer program and monitor traffic on your network in real time (this is usually referred to as “headless” monitoring).
- You can set up an application like Wireshark or tcpdump and monitor traffic in real time (this is called “live” networking monitoring).
- If you need help setting up or using these tools, I recommend checking out Headnod’s book Monitoring Network Traffic with Network Monitor Tools .
Network Monitoring Software
“Network monitoring” is a catch-all term for a variety of different things. People often use the term to refer to the act or practice of monitoring or measuring network activity. This can include performance-based measurements, such as latency, jitter, bandwidth, and error rate.
However, it is sometimes also used as a synonym for “network security analysis” or “information security analysis”.
In the context of computer networks, “network monitoring” can refer to any form of security monitoring performed on one or more computers as part of a network infrastructure (such as firewalls).
Network monitoring is distinct from firewall inspection. Security information such as packet traces and packet flows are analyzed and then evaluated by network administrators against known threats and vulnerabilities in order to identify potential problems that may be present in the network (for example during an attack) before they impact other systems on the LAN (local area network).
There are many different ways that computers and other networking devices can be monitored in order to detect potential threats and vulnerabilities in them (for example during an attack). In this context, however, it is important that users understand which types of data collection are being performed by network administrators.
The differences between these two terms have been widely discussed over the years by many researchers who study computer and network administration. While often regarded as synonymous terms within some circles whenever these two terms are used interchangeably (and sometimes even interchanged depending on context), there has been considerable debate over the exact definition of each term within certain circles over the years (for example see for example this Wikipedia article ).
Some examples include:
● Network intrusion detection systems (NIDS): A type of computer security system that measures traffic flows across the Internet using packet traces generated by various types of firewalls routers. NIDS is traditionally deployed via software such as Snort , ProtonMail , and Sysdig.
However, some commercial NIDS were developed by vendors including Cisco Systems. This system monitors traffic on behalf of Internet service providers and government agencies.
Often combined with intrusion detection systems (IDS), these systems can often provide actionable intelligence about attacks occurring within an organization’s computer networks.
● Network intrusion prevention systems (NIPS): Another type of computer security system designed to detect intrusions into protected networks or protected databases.
The Different Types of Network Monitoring Tools
A network is a collection of devices that share connections to one another. The term network monitoring is used when the purpose of this type of tool is to keep an eye on the entire network using a single device, such as a web-based application or web server.
When it comes to gathering information about the network, all the devices that are involved in the system (such as routers and switches) can be monitored in order to gather data, but many other devices are also involved in the network’s operation such as firewalls and load balancers.
To monitor these devices you have different options available depending on your needs. What you need depends on what is being monitored and how you want to monitor them.
Network monitoring might seem like a simple task at first glance, but there are many different types of networks that vary widely in their characteristics and use. In order to see which type of network monitoring tool works best for your specific needs, it’s necessary to understand some basic terminology from networking:
A router is an endpoint device that uses link aggregation protocols (LACP) for its Ethernet interfaces to generate multiplexed forwarding across multiple links connected by a physical or virtual cable.
A switch is an endpoint device that uses link aggregation protocols (LACP) for its Ethernet interfaces to generate multiplexed forwarding across multiple links connected by a physical or virtual cable.
A load balancer (sometimes called a “concentrator”) works within a switch environment by distributing incoming traffic across multiple links through two or more switches connected together through one logical core.
Each switch has four ports labeled port 1-4 and has four VLANs assigned per port—VLAN1, VLAN2 etc – with each port belonging to one of the four VLANs assigned on the switch card itself.
Load balancing should not be confused with Network Policy Server (NPS), which can be used by Active Directory Domains Services roles such as DNSDs and DNSADs/DSUs configured with reverse lookups only or in conjunction with DHCP/PNS/RADIUS/PIM.
A load balancer also functions as an agent between two physical links connected together through one logical core throughout the infrastructure where it distributes incoming traffic across several ports into several VLANs assigned via DHCPv6(S) / PPPoE / IPv6(S). This type of network monitoring can be useful when you want to know.
What to Monitor With a Network Monitoring Tool?
The “what” of network monitoring is the technical aspect of it. The “how” is what you want to know about.
The “why” of network monitoring is easy. You want to know where your users are coming from, when they are coming from, and how long they are spending on your site.
The “how” is simple too. We have four main categories of things that can be monitored in a network:
- Hosting (Compute, Datacenter, Network)
- Applications (VMware, Hyper-V, Docker)
- Traffic (HTTP/HTTPS/SSH, FTP/SFTP/SCP)
- Sessions (Browser, Windows Live ID)
The first three categories deal with the technology side of it:
- the hardware and software that runs your web server or desktop application on your host machine;
- your operating system; any applications running on top of that hardware or software; and
- how much traffic you are allowing users to send through each application — all in real-time.
The last two categories relate to the people who use these applications daily — their behaviors when using these applications in regards to browsing their sites, uploading files using them for file sharing and so forth — all in real-time with incredibly granular detail that can tell you everything from minute-by-minute user behavior over a period of time to how long the person was connected to your site during a specific time frame while visiting your site — all in real time.
If you monitor this data over time you can track trends and receive reports giving insight into what users are doing on your site so you can see where they’re coming from or going away from it, who’s visiting them as well as what they’re doing there for a specific period of time — all at a granular level that’s impossible to get otherwise if you didn’t have this information!
Here’s a short list of things we monitor with our network monitoring tool:
- Sockets – When UDP traffic is over
- 1 Mbps – IP Hash Rate – This measures the number of login attempts per second per IP address
- Controllers – This measure load by looking at how many sessions are being received from each browser tab over a certain period of time
- Connectivity – This measures if an application is sending data over
- TCP or UDP Server Timeout – This measure if an application has been idle for an extended period of time Page Load Time
Different Types of Alerts
Monitoring the network is a critical part of security. As it relates to networks and computers, this article will cover network monitoring in many different ways. Here are some examples:
- Network monitoring is often used to detect and prevent malicious activities on your network. In this case, you are looking at the activity of the network instead of individual machines.
- Network monitoring is often used to detect and prevent malicious activity on your network that affects your users or system resources (such as files, memory, etc). In this case, you are looking at the activity of the network and not individual machines.
- Network monitors can be used to monitor your entire computer’s activities by receiving data from multiple devices within an organization or across an organization (such as file systems, email servers, web servers). In this case, you are looking at all machine activity with one central device called a server or database.
- Monitoring can be used to actively monitor computers for abnormal events that may indicate malign intent or anomalous behavior (such as data theft or account compromise). In this case, you are looking at all machines with one central device called a server or database regardless of what device actually initiated the event(s) under investigation.
- Monitoring can be used to passively monitor individual computers for abnormal events that may indicate malign intent or anomalous behavior (such as data theft or account compromise).
This method allows an administrator to manually interrupt service if they suspect a malicious attack has occurred but cannot confirm it through other means such as logging into a client machine using their username and password.
In this case, you are using one central device called a server or database regardless of what machine actually initiated the event(s) under investigation.
Network monitoring is the practice of collecting, downloading and analyzing data about network traffic, network activity, and network configuration. The data collected can be used to identify patterns of activity, investigate performance issues and identify security flaws.
As a networking professional or engineer you may already be familiar with some of the common tools used in network monitoring. For example, you may have heard of tools such as netstat which are used to display information about a computer’s internal network configuration.