There’s no denying that networks are becoming omnipresent. From the wired upgrades that are creating smart factories to the networking technologies that power international commerce and business, they are everywhere. With each network that comes up, there is also a need to manage and maintain them. The digital infrastructure is all data streams, but it still needs to be managed.

However, most people aren’t exactly sure what network management entails. What does it mean to manage a network? How is it done? What are the typical methods of doing it? And why should it be done? Well, let’s take a look at the answers to those three questions.

What is Network Management?

Network management is a broad term. It covers functions related to activities, procedures, methods, and tools. The purpose is to provide administration, operation, and maintenance of all computer network systems under the purview.

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The term doesn’t cover terminal equipment. The focus is more on making sure the network is reliable, efficient, and running at full capacity when it comes to data transfer. Maintaining and managing the non-network hardware is not an immediate concern unless it disrupts network operations. In simple terms, it concerns itself with routers and switches, but not individual computers.

How Do You Do Network Management?

What tasks does it cover, then? Answering this question also leads to figuring out how to do the maintenance, because it provides a complete set of goals. It is also important because the term is expansive, lacking a concrete definition.

The below tasks all cover a number of areas, often requiring a combination of software and hardware. Tracking data is integral, which often means that people tasked with network management have to work in shifts. This leaves no time of day when there is no one keeping an eye on everything.

Administration

Administration of a network involves the tracking and inventorying of the resources. These include transmission lines, switches, routers, and servers. Performance is monitored and the software is updated, particularly anything with a direct part in the management of the network and the distribution of software applications.

Operations

Network operations are also part of management. You want to keep things running smoothly, make sure everything is working as intended. Close monitoring of activities is also done, allowing for faster addressing of issues as they occur. In some cases, with the right data incoming, it is possible to address the issues before the users notice anything is wrong.

Maintenance

As we’ve mentioned, maintenance is also involved. You’re looking at timely repair of things like the LAN cable layouts, along with prevention and correction of any issues that appear. This part of the job entails close collaboration and sharing of information with network administrators, who have a bird’s eye view of the digital side of the equation.

Network maintenance is also a broad term, with various possible tasks included in it. This includes any repairs of the hardware, along with upgrading them. Switches, routers, and damaged transmission cables are among the most common things that need repair or maintenance.

Physical maintenance can take on a whole new, more important dimension in a harsh environment. Factories, for instance, have any number of potential causes of damage. This is particularly true for the cables, which tend to be the parts of a network that are the most physically exposed to hazardous conditions.

Provisioning

Provisioning also falls under management. This involves configuring the network to allocate resources in an efficient manner, while still supporting the requirements of various services. An instance of this would be accommodating voice capabilities in a data network, or increasing broadband access to scale for a larger amount of users.

Provisioning can also include allocating access. Some data might be open to everyone, while others on the network need to be restricted to specific user accounts or devices. This is part of the security procedure for a network and one that can be important for protecting sensitive data while still keeping it accessible in a limited fashion.

Why Do Network Management?

At this point, network management seems like a hassle. Why would anyone go through that sort of expense? The main reason is that managing your data network is important to keep it running smoothly.

Without proper management, a network can break down over time. It is also subject to potential issues with limited options in the way of either prevention or repair. In simple terms, the network will fall apart if you don’t manage it properly, taking any benefits it provided your office or factory along with it. Just like any other complex system or machine, networks require someone to keep it tuned up and ready to serve.

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Conclusion

Network management is an important part of the modern age. With so many things being linked together in networks, it becomes important to have professionals who can come in and make sure everything is working correctly. It is a broad set of tasks, all meant to keep things going and provide all of the benefits of the modern networked age.

Richard is an experienced tech journalist and blogger who is passionate about new and emerging technologies. He provides insightful and engaging content for Connection Cafe and is committed to staying up-to-date on the latest trends and developments.