What the health is wrong with your Network?

Big concerns over you’re network’s health? It’s probably time for a checkup.  Pushing off regular maintenance can be bad for network performance, just as avoiding doctor’s appointments can be bad for your body.  There are important things to consider when checking on the network stability. What type of cable or media is being used to transmit data?  Are your cables certified (and what standards are being used for that certification)? Link budget – every wireless network should have this. Are your systems being cared for based upon the environment?  Lowering your risk of failure starts with management, maintenance, and documentation. 

Copper, Fiber, and Wireless

Let’s begin with media types:  each media type requires different care and upkeep.  Beginning with copper (the most common media type, the least in of maintenance), keep copper ports clean on devices – this helps to reduce zinc build-up in them.  Avoiding failure starts and stops with ending bending and odd angles of installation. Cleaning connectors after unplugging will help prevent dust build-up. Keep in mind, fiber bending is severely hampering to a network – just like copper.  Lastly, with wireless, aligning radio units to each other on a regular basis allows optimal radio performance.

Certification

How are you starting off the network construction?  Building a network starts with a solid layer one. Certification and link budgeting verifies work completed.  Begin with cable certifications – both wireless and wired networks contain and need them. The TIA standards are a great starting point for choosing a cable certification (assuming you are operating in North America; other options are available to other regions).  Being aware of particular standards is important because any cable can pass “little/no standards”. Creating that state-of-the-art wireless link requires regular engineering and performance checks to keep everything running smoothly. When expecting a result, look to the link budget calculator.  Verifying and proving connections starts and ends with certifications and link budgets.

Maintenance

Burying your head in the sand when it comes to network health is not a strategy.  “Nothing bad will happen to the network ever, it’s science!” are the words of a recently unemployed network administrator.  Wishing and hoping are great ways to run into network health issues. Keeping up with and performing health checks will keep the network up and running at the best possible performance.  Having an outdoor system will require waterproofing and/or weatherproofing – depending on climate – and is likely to need service more often. Installing a cable tray or cable management system during the initial installation is a great strategy; continuing to cable the network necessitates the cable management to grow.  A scalable scheme for installing new cable helps to keep systems in line. If the budget falls short, always labeling cable will allow for the implementation of solutions later but can include downtime of the system.

Network Performance Optimized

Management, maintenance, and documentation don’t start once the installation is complete.  Performing these health checks throughout the project helps keep things on track and going to a standard or check on quality. During the installation brushing aside maintenance can occur, because little to no issues arise.  Starting to see slow down or lag in network performance? Keeping network health in mind from the beginning of project implementation is absolutely necessary.

About the author: william elias

William Elias is a member of the TCG Engineering Department.
Currently he is into all things technology.
CCNA Route & Switch, BS in Information Technology and BBA in Business Management

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