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Maximizing Your Digital Network Uptime

Best practices for maintaining your communication network infrastructure

Maximizing Your Digital Network Uptime

The use of digital tools is essential to navigating business functions in modern organizations. Communication infrastructure, such as ethernet cables, switches, and Wi-Fi routers enable organizations to use these digital tools. For this reason, it is important to have a robust communication infrastructure to access the digital infrastructure that supports the functioning of your organization. Network uptime is one of the key indicators used to measure the performance of your network infrastructure.

Network uptime is crucial

Network uptime is a metric that measures the reliability of the communication infrastructure in your facility. It is the percentage of time that network connectivity was available in a given time period. The ideal network uptime is 100%, meaning the network connectivity was available without fail. 

The time for which network connectivity is not available is called network downtime. It is the inverse of network uptime. 

Network downtime causes several problems for the operations of your facility. Many modern buildings use digital tools and Internet of Things (IoT) devices that rely on network connectivity to function. Network downtime causes:

  • A halt in facility operations
  • Missed opportunities
  • Reduced productivity
  • Financial losses
  • Poor customer satisfaction.

Maintaining a resilient communication infrastructure should be a top priority in modern facility operations. Consider adopting the following best practices to maximize the uptime of your communication infrastructure.

Perform network monitoring

Most issues or faults in communication infrastructure do not happen overnight but rather build up over time. You can identify these symptoms before they become a problem by engaging in regular network monitoring. Some of the metrics you need to monitor are:

  • Network bandwidth
  • Network availability
  • Latency
  • Packet loss
  • Data consumption at endpoint devices
  • Bandwidth utilization
  • Health of devices in the network infrastructure.

Many tools are available to monitor and track network performance. With consistent monitoring, you are in a position to identify subpar network performance. Being on top of the network performance helps you avoid network downtimes and maximize uptime.

Schedule regular maintenance

Just like other facility infrastructure, communication networks need regularly scheduled maintenance to keep them working at peak performance. Replacing network components at regular intervals is one part of regular maintenance. You also need to clean the network devices and the enclosures in which they are housed, as an accumulation of dust and grime reduces their effectiveness. Regularly check if the heat dissipation from the devices is as expected. Don’t forget to install updates and patches to the software used to manage and monitor the communication infrastructure.

Be sure to maintain proper documentation of your network infrastructure. Documentation can include network diagrams, configuration files, and any other relevant information. Proper documentation ensures that network administrators and engineers have accurate and up-to-date information about the network infrastructure. They use this information to troubleshoot issues, upgrade hardware or software, and perform maintenance tasks.

Consider network design

Intelligent network design will significantly contribute to the resilience and reliability of your facility’s communication infrastructure. The network design must accommodate for potential failures, preventing them from manifesting a system-wide failure. Consider the following two designs to maximize network uptime:

  • Network segmentation entails splitting a facility’s communication network into smaller subnetworks that are independent of each other. With this design in place, issues in one subnetwork will not impact the performance of the remaining subnetworks. A failure will be limited to a small section of the facility, allowing the rest of the building to operate without any hindrances.
  • Equipment redundancy in network design entails installing backup equipment in the same area, such as additional Wi-Fi routers, ethernet cables, power supplies, and servers. When one piece of equipment fails, the backup equipment can kick in.

Protect from cyberattacks

One of the most common threats to network uptime is cyberattacks, which can lead to financial loss and reputational damage to your organization. According to estimates, global damages caused by cybercrimes amounted to US$6 trillion globally in 2021.

Cybercriminals commonly attack by disrupting networks. Cybersecurity hardware and software, including firewalls, intrusion detection systems, and zero-trust network access (ZTNA), will help protect your network infrastructure from external threats.

Perform regular security audits and penetration testing to expose the vulnerabilities of your network. This allows you to repair any security gaps before cybercriminals can exploit them. Prioritize the physical security of your network infrastructure, including structured cabling and Wi-Fi routers, to prevent attacks by infiltrating physical infrastructure.

Train for human error

Human errors are a major cause of network disruption. A bug in a code by a developer can suck out all the bandwidth of the facility. Similarly, employees directly or indirectly cause a large number of security breaches in organizations. This makes employee training critical for the resilience of communication network infrastructure.

Train employees in best practices for network maintenance and security. Include information on how to identify and report network issues, how to perform basic troubleshooting, and how to follow security protocols. Employee training ensures that everyone understands their role in protecting the network.

Invest in your network

Communication networks have become a crucial aspect of modern, well-functioning facilities. To maintain network uptime, make monitoring the network infrastructure your top priority.

With advancement in technology, the challenges of maintaining technical equipment increases. The same applies for the network infrastructure of your facility. You need to invest in continuous improvement of your network infrastructure and keep on top of your operational knowledge to remain competitive and resilient to threats that could affect network uptime.

 

           
Posted On March 15, 2023

Patrick Chown

Patrick Chown, Owner and President, The Network Installers and Safe and Sound Security

 Patrick Chown is the owner and president of network installation company, The Network Installers, which specializes in network cabling installation, structured cabling, voice and data, audio/visual, commercial Wi-Fi, and fiber optic installation for industrial and commercial facilities.

Chown is also the owner and president of Safe and Sound Security, a business security systems installation company. Safe and Sound Security specializes in integrating security cameras, access control, burglar alarms, and structured cabling for industrial and commercial facilities.

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