Maintaining the network health of a wired network is one of the most important aspects of an IT department, regardless of the size of the company. As an increasing amount of business operations are digital, the reliability and stability of a company’s network can have a direct impact on the ability of a company to succeed. Typically, over 65% of the issues reported on a newly installed WiFi network point back to the wired network in some form. Additionally, today’s applications also require much more bandwidth across the network than even a few years ago.
Fortunately, there are some warning signs that indicate the need for an evaluation of your wired network. The following are four of the most common ones:
Most of us expect that technology will gradually lose its efficacy over time. However, a wired network needs to be able to handle the tasks demanded of it on a daily basis. If you find that there is a rapid degradation in the performance of the network, or if it has simply degraded over time to the point that it can no longer handle day-to-day tasks, then it is imperative that the network itself be evaluated. There is often a point at which hardware is no longer reliable, or has adequate throughput for today’s more intensive applications, and if you notice rapidly diminishing performance, it is probably a sign that it is time to update the hardware, particularly before there is a potentially catastrophic loss of critical data, or an inability to perform business-critical tasks.
We are all familiar with the mass of cables that can build up in an IT closet. Some of that wiring is of course necessary, but there comes a point where it is no longer possible to quickly and easily access essential cabling and components. Sloppy cabling can pose network risks from fiber-optic breakage, the inability to trace a cable to an origin, and cable damage due to snags and tangles as work is performed. Not only that, but over time the number of switches and ports can increase to a far greater number than needed due to poor documentation and maintenance within the IDF.
It’s to be expected that a piece of equipment will fail from time to time. In many cases, a single component can be repaired or replaced with minimal disruption or inconvenience to the business. On the other hand, if you find that there are consistent disruptions to the workflow of the business, then it’s probably time to evaluate the entire wired network. Oftentimes, it is in times of a failure that you find out equipment is End-of-Sale, or End-of-Support, thereby requiring a new model switch or server at the time when your network is most vulnerable. Having a solid grasp on the age of equipment, software revision, End-of-Sale and End-of-Support dates, and a migration plan in place as equipment ages, is the best route to eliminating or greatly reducing downtime.
There are an increasing number of new components brought to the market every day. From Wi-Fi enabled devices like smartphones and tablets, to increasingly robust Internet services that demand equally robust data connections, there is no shortage of demands on a wired network. At some point, there will inevitably be issues with the ability of the network to connect to other components with the reliability and low latency that business applications demand. While certain steps can be taken to troubleshoot connectivity issues — such as verifying DHCP and DNS settings — more often than not the problem is that the growing number of hardware components in use simply do not communicate effectively with one another.
Technology – both its level of sophistication and its level of adoption – are only set to accelerate in the coming years, so it is important to not only have a wired network that can handle today’s needs but one that is future-proofed as much as possible.
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