Network monitoring is a best practice for any company. With it, you can ensure strong network performance so tat the user experience is as optimal as possible.
Healthy networking monitoring involves two types: active and passive monitoring. As you set up your business’ network, you will need both types in order to pinpoint issues and resolve them in a timely manner.
At Instatus, let’s take a closer look at active vs. passive monitoring, so that you understand when to use one or the other to achieve the best network performance and keep your website or product running smoothly.
Active and passive network monitoring have distinct scopes and purposes. To understand the difference between active and passive monitoring, check out these in-depth summaries below.
Active monitoring is all about predicting performance by simulating behavior across the network from end-to-end. The purpose of active monitoring is to get complete, real-time visibility into the network to identify issues before current users may be affected.
Because of the large scope of active monitoring, active analysis is best used for analyzing a specific metric, such as packet loss, jitter, HTTP response time, latency, etc.
Keep in mind that active monitors are based on predictive data, so they may not always be an accurate simulation of network performance. Active monitoring also involves a large amount of network resources because it creates constant, real-time data.
In contrast, passive monitoring or passive analysis gives insight into real user data from specific points in your network. It samples a large amount of data from the period selected, so you can cover a wide range of metrics. For this reason, passive monitoring is a more holistic view of your network.
Passive analysis is important because it involves real data, so you can see what’s actually impacting users and measure the quality of user experience. It’s especially good for analysis and communication after an incident to understand what went wrong. Some typical metrics you can measure include signaling protocols, application usage or top bandwidth, byte and packet transmit, etc.
Finally, passive analysis is less strain on your network because it’s not end-to-end and doesn’t run constantly. However, it does require specialized hardware to analyze user experience on a specific device.
Now that you know what is the difference between active and passive monitoring, here are some use cases that highlight how each type can be used to avoid blind spots in your network’s performance.
Because active monitoring is all about predictive, end-to-end simulation, some potential use cases include:
On the other hand, passive monitoring samples real user data, which makes it best for:
The short answer: both. Ultimately, you’ll require both active and passive monitoring to keep your network healthy. Your IT team should apply both so that you can monitor and improve your network’s performance over time.
As we’ve discussed, active network monitors give you predictive data to flag potential issues before they become apparent to users. Passive network monitors give you real user sampling so you can get a holistic look into your network’s metrics.
Your network’s performance is vital to providing top-notch service and user experience. To get the full picture of your network’s health and stay ahead of the competition, you’ll need both active and passive monitoring.
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