CFOtech Asia logo
Technology news for Asia's CFOs and financial decision-makers
Story image

What is network optimisation and why is it so important?

By Contributor
Fri 17 Dec 2021

Article by Gigamon A/NZ Manager George Tsoukakis.

Network optimisation is an often-overlooked area of data security.

At its most basic, a network is a system comprising two or more computers sharing resources, data and communications, with the goal of accomplishing essential tasks more quickly and effectively.

A network is more than just the sum of its parts; it’s an essential infrastructure that facilitates everything from interoffice hardware solutions (such as sharing a wireless printer) to the very existence of the internet. It comprises hundreds of millions of smaller networks, all sharing information and resources.

Simply put, networks are a vital part of how we conduct business. As such, optimising network performance should be a significant goal for any modern business.

Network optimisation is an umbrella term that refers to a range of tools, strategies, and best practices for monitoring, managing and improving network performance.

In today’s highly competitive, dynamic business environment, it’s not enough for essential networks to perform adequately. As we move further into the digital age, the world depends more and more on reliable, fast, safe, available, 24/7 data transfer.

Unfortunately, outdated or under-dimensioned hardware or sub-optimal software can limit available bandwidth and introduce increased latency. Obsolete or underutilised network security options can impact performance and leave systems unprotected.

Sudden surges or spikes in traffic can overwhelm essential network functions and slow down response times. The list goes on, creating potentially hundreds of mounting issues capable of deteriorating the end-user experience.

The primary goal of network optimisation is to ensure the best possible network design and performance at the lowest cost structure. The network must promote increased productivity and usability and allow data to be exchanged effectively and efficiently. This is achieved by managing network latency, traffic volume, network bandwidth and traffic direction.

Network optimisation can happen only when the current state has been fully assessed. However, many parameters and components are involved in getting a clear picture of networking performance within an organisation. Here are five essential factors to consider:

Latency

Latency describes the time it takes for data to travel between two locations (such as between two computers on a network), with lower latency indicating a faster, more responsive network. This delay in data transmission may amount to only a few milliseconds at each point in the journey, but when combined can add up to a noticeable amount of network lag.

Although the absolute upper limit of data transmission speed is the speed of light, certain limiting factors, such as the inherent qualities of WAN routers or fibre optic cables, will always introduce some amount of latency.

Other causes may include increased data payloads, retransmission of duplicate packets, extensive inline security tools, proxies, switches, firewalls, and other network elements analysing and adding to network traffic, and retrieving stored data.

Availability

Availability measures how often relevant network hardware and software function properly. The flip side is downtime, where systems are not performing to the desired specifications. Optimal availability means that no hardware or software downtime negatively impacts network performance.

Network availability can be calculated by dividing the uptime by the total time in any period, with the most obvious goal being 100% availability and 0% downtime. That said, it is not uncommon for complex systems such as networks to experience problems occasionally, so 100% availability is not a goal that any business is likely to achieve.

On the other hand, striving for this lofty standard is an essential aspect of network optimisation. Achieving ‘five nines’ (99.999%) or better for availability is paramount.

Packet loss

A network packet is a small segment of data that may be transmitted from one point to another within a network. Complete messages, files, or other types of information are broken down into packets which are then individually sent and recombined to reconstruct the original file at the destination.

If a packet fails to arrive intact, the origin will need to resend only the lost packet instead of resending the entire file.

Although the occasional lost packet is seldom cause for concern, a large number of lost packets can disrupt important business functions and may be an indication of larger network-related problems. Packet loss is quantifiable by monitoring traffic at both ends of the data transmission, then comparing the number of sent packets to the number of packets received.

Network jitter

Jitter describes the amount of inconsistency in latency across the network, while latency measures the time it takes for data to reach its destination and ultimately make a round trip. When delays between data packets are inconsistent, it can affect a network’s ability to deliver real-time, and especially two-way, communication. This can create issues with video conferences, IP security cameras, VoIP phone systems, and more.

Network jitter is symptomatic of network congestion, lack of packet delivery prioritisation, outdated hardware, and overburdened network equipment. Other causes may include a poor internet connection or using lower-quality wireless networks.

Because network jitter may result in lost packets, dropped connections, network congestion, and poor user experience (especially audio, voice, and video feeds), it is an important consideration for network optimisation.

Utilisation

Generally speaking, whenever a network component is more than 70% utilised, slowdowns will occur due to buffering of packets, switch port head-of-line blocking issues, and their backplanes being overwhelmed. If the component is highly utilised for long periods, the slowdowns turn into serious delays.

Connection to the internet can become a bottleneck when the number of simultaneous interactions involving internet provider-based applications and services exceeds what service allows for. Measuring utilisation provides a big-picture view of a network to determine which sections are seeing what amounts of traffic and what times peak traffic is most likely to occur.

Correctly measured, utilisation can give you insight into which networks carry the largest load, where the loads are coming from, and whether utilisation is too high in certain areas.

In terms of measurement, traffic usage may be represented as a ratio between current network traffic and the peak amounts networks are designed to carry, represented as a percentage.

The benefits

Managed effectively, network optimisation is capable of helping organisations to build more effective and efficient internal and external networks. This carries with it many distinct advantages, including the following:

Increased network throughput

Network optimisation removes the hurdles that stand in the way of optimal data transmission speeds. This means decreased latency and jitter, faster response times, and a better-connected IT ecosystem, and, as a result, increased throughput.

Enhanced employee productivity

Latency, packet loss, and downtime in internal networks prevent employees from accessing and using vital tools and information when and how they need them most. Network optimisation keeps data flowing properly, so a workforce doesn’t have to sit on its hands waiting for the network to catch up.

Improved analytics and security

An important element of network analytics and security is traffic visibility. By keeping a close eye on what traffic is moving through the network, where it’s going, and what it’s doing, users benefit from being able to identify and respond to threats more quickly and track various crucial metrics, including those outlined above.

Armed with this information, organisations using network performance monitoring and diagnostic (NPMD), application performance monitoring (APM), and security tools can analyse captured data and turn it into valuable, actionable insights.

These tools can be further enhanced with advanced metadata, including attributes from the application layer, to solve more advanced use cases. Network analytics can likewise be employed in predictive modelling, providing accurate forecasts of future network usage.

Customer experience

Customer-facing networks likewise benefit from network optimisation, with faster, more available services. When customers enjoy full functionality without waiting longer than expected, they are more likely to want to continue doing business with a company.

Network performance

Obviously, the overall goal of network optimisation is to optimise the network’s operation. This means better performance across the board and improved returns from any and all services and systems that rely on network performance.

Effective network optimisation

To achieve this goal, seek a specialist vendor in network visibility solutions for the hybrid cloud, and an essential partner in enabling effective network optimisation. Ensure the vendor delivers the power to put a network and all network traffic under a microscope.

Tech can acquire all relevant workload traffic and, using NPMD, APM and security tools, identify which network elements and applications are consuming the most bandwidth or operating in a compromised manner. Seek a vendor that helps to ensure clear, comprehensive visibility and control across hybrid cloud deployments.

A hybrid cloud visibility and analytics fabric can provide a next-generation network packet brokering solution. This is essential to ensuring security and network performance monitoring tools can assist an organisation in making the most out of its networks and taking network optimisation further than ever thought possible.

Related stories
Top stories
Story image
Multi Cloud
Cloud is a tool, not a destination
For many years, “cloud” has been thought of as a destination which has led to a misguided strategy that sees an enterprise trying to shift all its applications to a single cloud provider – regardless of the specific needs and nuances of each individual workload.
Story image
Supply chain
Supply chains continue to be disrupted, enterprises embrace circular economy
“Businesses urgently need to find a solution that can help them to manage this disruption, and transition to a circular economy."
Story image
Tech job moves
Tech job moves - Bitdefender, Cohesity, Fortinet & MODIFI
We round up all job appointments from June 27-30, 2022, in one place to keep you updated with the latest from across the tech industries.
Story image
Digital wallets
NFTs are ready to disrupt the ticketing world
The last few months have seen NFTs wielded by digital creators to take ownership over their craft and content. Now other industries are beginning to understand the real-world value that these nifty decentralised tokens can provide.
Story image
Gartner
Gartner's top recommendations for security leaders
"Leaders now recognise that major disruption is only one crisis away. We can’t control it, but we can evolve our thinking, philosophy, program and architecture.”
Story image
Market growth
Salesforce unveils new offerings for consumer goods companies
Salesforce has announced new products for consumer goods companies to help brands navigate increasing market complexity more easily.
Story image
Robotic Process Automation / RPA
Salesforce announces latest generation of MuleSoft
Salesforce has introduced the next generation of MuleSoft, a unified solution for automation, integration and APIs to automate any workflow.
Story image
Amazon Web Services / AWS
Qualtrics goes live on AWS Cloud Infrastructure in Japan
Organisations across Japan will now be able to access the Qualtrics XM/OS platform locally via data centre in the AWS Asia Pacific (Tokyo) region.
Story image
Collaboration
IT and security team collaboration crucial to data security
Many IT and security decision makers are not collaborating as effectively as possible to address growing cyber threats.
Story image
Contact Centre
Customer service agents don't want to return to contact centres
A new report has revealed that 85% of customer service agents want to work full-time at home and not return to contact centre offices.
Story image
State Library of Victoria
State Library of Victoria entrusts Oracle support and security to Rimini Street
“Our finance team are very happy with the support and security that Rimini Street provides, which keeps our assets and our customers secure."
Story image
MarTech
Martech experts reveal the “buzz” on personalisation
In the digital age, innovative technology must be leveraged to power an efficient and effective relationship marketing strategy.
Story image
Music
Mastercard reveals first-ever album titled Priceless
Mastercard's music album Priceless has been unveiled at the Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity and features 10 songs by 10 artists worldwide.
Story image
Partnerships
Thailand announces launch of the Thailand 5G Alliance
It will promote collaboration between the public and private sector, through companies such as Huawei, to commercially drive Thailand's 5G development.
Story image
Artificial Intelligence
Juniper study reveals top AI trends in APAC region
Juniper's research shows an increase in enterprise artificial intelligence adoption over the last 12 months is yielding tangible benefits to organisations.
Story image
Infrastructure
New VMware offerings improve cloud infrastructure management
VMware has unveiled VMware vSphere+ and VMware vSAN+ to help organisations bring benefits of the cloud to existing on-prem infrastructure.
Story image
Cloud
Cloudflare outage in 19 data centers worldwide due to own error
Cloudflare says its outage for 19 of its data centers yesterday was because of a change in a long-running project to increase resilience in its busiest locations.
Story image
DNS
DigiCert acquires DNS Made Easy and affiliated brands
Greg Clark comments, says, "This combination enhances the security of certificate validation and enables the automation of future validations."
Story image
Data
How a single mandate changed software development forever
There’s conjecture about exactly when it was issued and by whom, but a mandate made twenty years ago is continuing to shape the software development process today.
Story image
Infrastructure
Global investment in data centers more than doubled in 2021
DLA Piper's latest global survey finds the total investment in data center infrastructure worldwide rose from USD $24.4 billion in 2020 to USD $53.8 billion in 2021.
Story image
Fintech
Corpay announces new collaboration with Triterras
Corpay and fintech firm Triterras have announced a new collaboration between Corpay’s Cross-Border business and Triterras Inc.    
Story image
Talend
Forrester names Talend Leader in enterprise data fabric
Forrester has named Talend a leader among enterprise data fabric providers in the Forrester Wave: Enterprise Data Fabric, Q2 2022 report.
Story image
Hybrid workforce
Why hybrid working is here to stay and how to ace it
Citrix's new report reveals hybrid workers are more productive and engaged at work than their office and completely remote counterparts.
Story image
Motorola Solutions
Motorola Solutions deploys communication system to 5th Japanese airport
Motorola Solutions with its partner, Nippon Airport Radio Services deployed the mission critical communication system to Kansai.
Story image
Digital Transformation
Apptio adds portfolio enhancements to promote digital strategy
"While digitalisation creates opportunities, it also makes budgeting far more complex, leading many companies to waste substantial funds."
Story image
Infosys
Preparing for the digital decade with the right workforce strategies
For a decade that started under the pall of the pandemic, the 2020s is poised to end with a bang with the digital economy swelling to a high across the world.
Story image
Data ownership
Brands must reclaim trust by empowering data ownership
According to Twilio's new State of Personalisation Report 2022, 62% of consumers expect personalisation from brands, and yet only 40% trust brands to use their data responsibly and keep it safe.
Story image
Orbital Insight
Orbital Insight solution set to drive better data-driven decisions
The company says the new Site Intelligence solution will provide granular visibility, behaviour analytics and deep insights about customers and competitors at any location. 
Story image
Cybersecurity
Vulnerable APIs costing businesses billions every year
Large companies are particularly vulnerable to the security risks associated with exposed or unprotected APIs as they accelerate digital transformation.  
Story image
API
Industry-first comprehensive risk-based API security enhances protection
Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) have become a crucial part of operating web and mobile application businesses and are causing significant economic growth in the digital sector.
Story image
Sustainability
Honeywell launches new carbon energy management software for buildings
The new Carbon & Energy Management service allows building owners to track and optimise energy performance against carbon reduction goals, down to a device or asset level.
Story image
Bandwidth
India's used international bandwidth to grow 38% from 2021 to 2028
TeleGeography says India is experiencing an influx of investment in its data centers due to its significant market potential and relaxed policies and regulatory environment.
Story image
Cybersecurity
Tech and data’s role in the changing face of compliance
Accenture's study found that 93% of respondents agree or strongly agree new technologies such as AI and cloud make compliance easier.
Story image
Public Cloud
Public cloud services revenues top $400 billion in 2021
"For the next several years, leading cloud providers will play a critical role in helping enterprises navigate the current storms of disruption."
Story image
Tech job moves
Tech job moves - Boomi, Limepay, Thales, VMware & Zoom
We round up all job appointments from June 6-16, 2022, in one place to keep you updated with the latest from across the tech industries.
Story image
Broadband
Singapore found to have the speediest internet rates in the world
New research from BanklessTimes has shown that Singapore has the highest recorded median internet speed in the world at 207.61 MBPS.
Story image
BitTitan
How to achieve your monthly recurring revenue goals
Monthly recurring revenue (MRR) is the ultimate goal, the most important issue on which anyone in the IT channel should focus.
Story image
Airwallex
How Airwallex helps businesses achieve globalisation success
As markets continue to shift, businesses need to be able to provide the same quality of service for customers regardless of where they are located around the world.
Story image
Open source
DataStax secures US$115 million to fund database expansion
DataStax has secured US$115 million in funding, which it will use to develop and expand its Astra DB multi-cloud database and Astra Streaming service globally.
Story image
Cryptocurrency
NOWPayments launches new service to analyse cryptocurrency fees
NOWPayments has launched a new network fee optimisation solution that analyses current network fees and picks the most profitable option out of the client's payout wallets.
Story image
Education
Microsoft Hong Kong partners with CUHK Business School
The collaboration sees CUHK Business School become the first business school as the authorised exam centre for Microsoft Certifications in Hong Kong.
Story image
Cloud
Automation a point of difference for APJ enterprises - report
There has been a massive shift in which departments are using automation tools and creating those automations, according to Workato.
Story image
Artificial Intelligence
Accenture shares the benefits of supply chain visibility
It's clear that gaining better visibility into the supply chain will help organisations avoid excess costs, inefficiencies, and complexity to ultimately improve their bottom line.
Story image
Testing
Video: 10 Minute IT Jams - An update from Tricentis
Tricentis provides software testing automation, and software quality assurance products for enterprise software.