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Equipment failure monitoring is important

Updated: Mar 23, 2023

Business IT systems had to change during the pandemic lock down. Employees began working from home and accessed the business systems remotely. There were two alternatives for business applications software that was installed on office servers. The first was to provide remote access to the office network and the second was to move the office applications to the cloud.

Office work, hybrid work, remote work

Business IT employees were very busy during this time. Many business applications like Quickbooks have #cloud versions so it was easy to move the business data to the cloud. Some applications were custom designed for the #business and so the task of moving these to the cloud was harder. Cloud vendors like Amazon and Microsoft benefited greatly from the pandemic. Employees no longer used desktops in an office environment and switched to using laptops and mobile devices for #home and #office use. Due to the switch to WiFi devices, businesses had to upgrade network WiFi installations.

Most business IT infrastructures are under stress. #Data #security has been weakened and reliability has been reduced. WiFi network #reliability is an issue that many businesses have not considered. With the change to the WiFi connection for employee devices the WiFi infrastructure has become critical to business operations. A failure in the WiFi network is usually not noticed. If one of the wireless access points fails then the users computer will connect to an access point further away. Network access will be slower and the overall #performance of the network will deteriorate.

A little additional investment can improve the reliability of the WiFi network, and of the components in the #network.

There are network component monitoring software products from many suppliers that use the Simple Network Management Protocol (SNMP) to monitor products and give an alarm when a failure occurs. The monitor can provide information about the type and location of the failed product to speed up the replacement.

A computer is assigned as the SNMP manager or host. The #SNMP manager software is installed on this computer and it is connected to the network so that it has access to all devices in the network. Each device in the network must have an SNMP agent installed. The SNMP manager polls or requests each agent in turn to provide the current operational status. The status is provided in the form of a management information base (MIB). The response can be one of three answers:

  • The data that is sent in the reply MIB is correct.

  • The data that is sent in the reply has errors; this might indicate a port failure.

  • There is no reply, which will indicate that the device has failed.

In the case of failure an alert can be sent to the administrator in for form of an email or SMS message. Some network components may not have a SNMP agent and in this case the components will have to be replaced. The SNMP status of network equipment will be a cost factor when planning to upgrade the network for monitoring. Businesses that do not have dedicated IT staff can outsource the network monitoring to an IT service company or managed service provider.

The diagram below illustrates a network design where SNMP #monitoring has been implemented.

The diagram illustrates a network design where SNMP monitoring has been implemented.

The cost of implementing monitoring can be reduced using a Managed WiFi product. A product such as the Guest Internet can monitor any device with a graphic user interface (GUI) which includes routers, managed switches and wireless access points. Basic switches and similar devices cannot be monitored. Implementation of monitoring using Guest Internet products is much simpler than configuring SNMP. Monitoring is done via a cloud account so the business staff can receive failure messages and the monitoring can be outsourced to an IT service company or managed service provider.

Network equipment monitoring with Guest Internet equipment is illustrated in the following diagram.

Network equipment monitoring with Guest Internet equipment is illustrated in the diagram.

Equipment failure monitoring that includes a support agreement with an IT service business is very important, as the IT infrastructure is business critical. If the IT network is not functioning the business stops. Monitoring plus a support agreement will solve the problem quickly and minimize the business downtime.


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