A Deep Dive into the Network Performance Monitoring Metrics

7 min read
December 19, 2023

With the number of internet users in the United States projected to reach 0.34 billion in 2023 and annetwork performance metrics internet penetration rate of 93.73%, the demand for robust and reliable network performance is rising. 

$3.0 billion

The Network Performance Monitoring market is set for substantial growth between 2022 and 2027, estimated to reach USD 3.0 billion.

Simultaneously, the Network Performance Monitoring market is set for substantial growth between 2022 and 2027, estimated to reach USD 3.0 billion. This highlights an increasing recognition of the need to monitor and optimise network performance to meet changing user and business requirements.

Challenges emerge as the digital landscape expands, increasing demands on network performance. Users expect fast and uninterrupted access to online services, and businesses rely on stable network connections for their operations.

This article explores network performance metrics and their critical importance in this evolving digital landscape.

Table of Contents

  1. Why is network performance important?
  2. How to measure network performance?
  3. Key network performance metrics 
  4. Best practices for optimising network performance
  5. Embrace seamless integration and superior performance with Digital Samba

Why is network performance important?

Network performance is the measure of how well a computer network operates, including factors like speed, reliability, and efficiency in data transfer. Smooth corporate operations, strong security, satisfying user experiences (UX), and regulatory compliance all depend on network performance. 

UX  is directly affected by network service speed and reliability. Also, business continuity depends on a stable network to prevent downtime and keep operations running smoothly, ensuring productivity, revenue streams, and customer satisfaction.  

Moreover, a high-performing network enhances security, defending against cyber threats and unauthorised access. Additionally, compliance with regulatory standards necessitates a high-performing network, ensuring secure and ethical data handling.

To assess and maintain these aspects, organisations use network monitoring metrics, quantitative measures that provide insights into the health and efficiency of a network. These metrics enable proactive management and optimisation to meet the evolving demands of users and regulatory requirements.

How to measure network performance?

Measuring network performance includes running specific tests and assessments to quantify metrics like throughput, latency, bandwidth, packet loss, etc. Network  Performance  Analysis (NPA) entails gathering and analysing data to assess a network’s overall health and effectiveness to measure Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). 

As a critical part of network management, NPA identifies and resolves network issues to meet the organisation’s demands. These assessments can happen regularly or as needed, offering specific data points for a thorough analysis and proactive management.

Key network performance metrics 

Here is a list of the most essential network monitoring metrics

1. Latency

Latency is essentially the time it takes for data to travel from its starting point to its destination and back. This duration is typically measured in milliseconds (ms). Low latency is crucial for applications like video conferencing, online gaming, and VoIP calls. It is a critical factor that impacts the network performance and responsiveness of digital interactions. 

Low latency ensures that your virtual meetings are lag-free or your gaming moves are instant. A latency delay can result in sluggish interactions and disruptions, significantly affecting the UX. To measure latency, tech folks often use ping tests, aiming for lower values for a smoother, more responsive digital experience. In simple terms, low latency equals swift and seamless communication.

2. Bandwidth and throughput 

Bandwidth, a core network performance metric, refers to a network’s maximum data transfer rate.  In contrast, throughput measures the actual amount of data transmitted successfully over the network in a given timeframe. 

Monitoring bandwidth and throughput is essential for ensuring network efficiency. To measure bandwidth and throughput, use tools like speed tests and interpret the results against expected values. 

The key difference lies in bandwidth representing capacity, while throughput reflects actual performance. Analysing these metrics helps optimise network performance, meet user expectations, and maintain efficient data transfer.

3. Packet loss

Packet loss gauges the percentage of data packets that do not reach their destination, signifying potential issues in network reliability. Therefore, minimising packet loss is essential for seamless data transmission.

To measure packet loss, use network monitoring tools to analyse the ratio of sent to received packets. Calculated as a percentage, lower packet loss percentages are desired. Consistent or high packet loss may indicate network congestion, hardware issues, or suboptimal configurations.

Interpreting results involves identifying patterns and correlating them with network events. High packet loss can degrade performance and disrupt applications.

4. Jitter

Jitter, also called Packet Delay Variation (PDV), is the variation in latency, indicating the inconsistency in the time it takes for data packets to traverse the network. Low jitter is crucial for timing-sensitive applications such as audio and video communication. Fluctuations in packet arrival times can lead to disruptions in audio and video communications. 

Interpretation involves understanding the consistency of data delivery, measured in milliseconds; lower values signify stable network performance. Higher jitter values may lead to uneven voice or video quality. Effective network monitoring and jitter analysis contribute to maintaining a smooth, reliable communication experience.

5. Network speed

Network speed refers to the rate at which data can be transmitted over the network. It is a key KPI of network performance,  reflecting the network's efficiency and responsiveness. A slow network causes delays, unresponsiveness, and interruptions, while a fast network ensures smooth data exchange.  

Utilise speed tests and throughput measurement tools for accurate network performance measurement and interpret results against expected speeds while considering factors like latency and packet loss. Network speed is calculated in bits per second (bps) or megabits per second (Mbps), with higher values indicating faster network speeds.

6. Network availability

Network availability measures the percentage of time a network is operational and accessible. It is the percentage of time a network is functional and can be accessed by users. High availability is crucial for uninterrupted communication and business operations. 

To measure network availability, use tools that track downtime and calculate the ratio of uptime to total time. Expressed as a percentage, with 100% being optimal. Regular monitoring helps identify and address issues that could impact availability.

7. User Quality of Experience

User Quality of Experience (QOE) assesses users' overall satisfaction with network performance and the quality of the service or system. QoE reflects the end user's perception of the network's quality, which is critical for customer satisfaction.

Measuring user QoE involves collecting feedback through surveys, monitoring user interactions, and analysing response times. User QoE is a vital KPI aligning technical metrics with end-users perspectives, ensuring the network meets networking benchmarks and delivers a satisfactory experience. 

8. Network Error Rate

The Network Error Rate (NER) measures the frequency of errors in data transmission. A low error rate is essential for reliable data transfer and the integrity of transmitted information.

To measure the NER, analyse the ratio of successfully transmitted data to the total sent using error-detection mechanisms. Expressed as a percentage, lower values of Network Error Rate are desired. Consistently high error rates may indicate network issues or the need for error correction measures.

9. Round Trip Time (RTT)

RTT is the measure of the duration a data packet takes to travel from the origin to the assigned destination and back. As a key performance indicator, RTT reflects network responsiveness and efficiency. Low RTT is critical for real-time communication and responsiveness.

To measure RTT, tools like ping are used to calculate the time elapsed during a round trip. Measured in milliseconds, lower values of RTT suggest faster communication. Consistently high RTT may indicate network congestion, latency, or inefficient routing.

10. Network Response Time

Network Response Time (NRT) is a system’s time to respond to a user request. Fast response times contribute to a positive digital experience, especially in web applications and interactive systems. 

To measure network response time, track the time elapsed from initiating a request to receiving a response. Measured in milliseconds, lower values of Network Response Time indicate prompt system responsiveness. Consistently high response times may negatively impact user satisfaction and engagement.

Best practices for optimising network performance

Optimising network performance is crucial for maintaining seamless connectivity and ensuring efficient data flow within an organisation. Implementing best practices can significantly enhance network speed, reliability, and overall efficiency. Here are some of them. 

Embrace seamless integration and superior performance with Digital Samba

Mastering network performance metrics is essential for seamless integration and superior user experiences in our digital world. Enhancing user experiences, the GDPR-compliant Digital Samba video conferencing API seamlessly incorporates performance metrics to enhance network performance.

With features such as cloud recordings, high-quality video, real-time invitations, screen sharing, whiteboard functionality, AI captions, and customizable branding, we empower users with smooth digital experiences.  

As we navigate this digital era, the pursuit of superior network performance becomes not just a necessity but a gateway to unlocking the full potential of collaborative and impactful virtual experiences. 

Embrace Digital Samba video conferencing API to ensure secure, immersive, and branded virtual experiences. 

Transform your network — transform your digital landscape with Digital Samba!

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