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5 Network Assessment Tasks That Auvik Makes Easier

Every IT professional knows the importance of conducting a thorough network assessment, especially when you're onboarding a new client. This assessment helps you discover potential areas of improvement in the network and identify any issues that may cause problems in the future.

However, since every network is complex in its design and implementation, network assessments can be challenging tasks—especially if you’re not familiar with the network you're auditing. So how do you use the network assessment to look like a rockstar in front of new clients?

Auvik Network Management can help you get some quick wins under your belt and set you up for future success with those clients.

In this blog post, we’ll show you five network assessment tasks that Auvik makes a lot easier.

1. Discover Unknown Devices

Discovering unknown devices in a network assessment is one of the most crucial tasks for every IT professional. This task helps you ensure that every device connected to the network is accounted for and within your scope of network management.

Some surprise devices might include:

  •       Unmanaged switches in employee cubicles connecting unauthorized devices
  •       Private Access Points for bypassing corporate Wi-Fi
  •       Forgotten series of switches in the building ceiling that were still active
  •       Unauthorized wireless cameras

Auvik's Inventory & All Devices grid displays all devices currently or recently connected to the network. It automatically categorizes devices using data from protocols like SNMP, WMI, and VMware. Additionally, it gathers important information such as serial numbers and firmware versions for your network devices. This intel is invaluable for compliance audits, ensuring up-to-date firmware.

2. Ensure Sufficient IP Addresses

In a dynamic environment with frequent device changes, ensuring an adequate supply of available IP addresses is crucial for client distribution. Insufficient addresses can hinder guest Wi-Fi access and cause dropped sessions for end users. Conducting a network assessment quickly identifies this issue.

In Auvik, networks are modeled as entities, with each entity having a dedicated dashboard. Within the network dashboard, you can view a comprehensive list of all currently utilized IP addresses for the subnet and sort by ascending order or even filter to see only devices currently up.

If you see high IP utilization (80–90%), consider using strategies like expanding the DHCP address pool, reducing lease times, and implementing MAC address spoofing protection.

3. Identify Broadcast Storms

Broadcast storms occur when there are excessive broadcast messages in a network, causing congestion and potential network outage if not addressed. Identifying and troubleshooting broadcast storms can be challenging and time-consuming.

Auvik provides multiple methods to detect broadcast storms. It offers a preconfigured alert for high percentage of switch port traffic being broadcast instead of unicast or multicast. Adjusting the threshold allows for proactive troubleshooting.

The troubleshooting view helps determine if a broadcast storm caused other events, like CPU spikes or issues in adjacent switches. Check the Device Packets or Interface Packets on the device or interface dashboard to analyze the broadcast, multicast, and unicast packet ratio.

To reduce broadcast storms, consider implementing storm control or similar protocols to limit broadcast packets. Disable IP-directed broadcasts on Layer 3 devices to prevent unnecessary broadcast packets from the Internet to private address spaces. Creating a new VLAN and migrating hosts can also distribute broadcast traffic evenly. While broadcast traffic is necessary, excessive amounts can degrade network performance.

4. Find Loops

Loops can occur when there is a misconfiguration or duplicate link between switches in a network. These loops can cause significant network congestion, degradation in service, and even a network outage.

Identifying and locating loops within a network can often prove to be a laborious task. However, with Auvik, you can receive automatic alerts for Layer 2 loops, provided that you have spanning tree enabled on your core (MDF) and access (IDF) switches. This not only saves you time but ensures efficient management of your network infrastructure.

5. Identify Configuration Problems

When a network changes ownership or has multiple interconnected components, it’s common to encounter outdated configurations. IT admins might hesitate to modify suspected stale code, fearing unintended consequences.

Devices might also not be correctly configured to begin with, either from user errors or lack of knowledge. As an administrator, how can you safely remove outdated route and port configurations while identifying current misconfigurations?

Enter Auvik, which meticulously examines the configurations of each device, automatically determining if applied configurations have corresponding entries across the network segments. Auvik offers a range of predefined alerts specifically related to configurations.

For instance, the VLAN with no interfaces alert triggers when a defined VLAN is not associated with any interfaces. This usually indicates that the VLAN has been retired but the definition was not removed.

Or, let's say a previous network administrator attempted to establish a link between two switches. Conventionally, this would be configured as a trunk link. However, on the downstream switch, the admin mistakenly configured the port as an access type. Consequently, the link would operate incorrectly, impeding two-way traffic.

And you can figure that out in minutes, just by turning on Auvik.

Next Steps

Conducting a network assessment is a critical task that every IT professional should prioritize. However, managing network complexities and configurations can be challenging without the right tools. That is where Auvik's network management comes in. It eliminates the headaches associated with network assessment tasks and provides IT professionals with a helping hand.

With Auvik, you can easily discover unknown devices, monitor available IP addresses, identify broadcast storms, find loops, and pinpoint configuration problems. Ready to make network assessments a breeze? Why not give Auvik a try?

And if you're looking for more insights, don't forget to check out The Ultimate Guide to Selling Managed Network Services for MSPs and by visiting our Marketplace page today!

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