Reliable And Effective Ways Of Testing Your Network Performance

Reliable And Effective Ways Of Testing Your Network Performance

Networks are never steady. They keep changing as they evolve. You can perform network testing to know how your network performs regarding speed, performance, and application. Network testing can be done using network testing and monitoring tools designed for the purpose.

Network Testing, also known as Network Performance Testing, is performed on the same lines as software testing. It involves evaluating and testing your network by running it through a network performance test. Network Testing helps identify bugs and any issues that may hamper performance. It also helps measure the overall performance of the network.

It is generally observed that even the most robust networks face problems. That’s precisely why a network performance test is recommended for every new service deployment or even when you migrate from one network to another. It must be inculcated as a routine practice so that problems can be detected early and appropriate measures applied instead of waiting for the problem to worsen and affect your work processes.

Setting up network testing is easy. It can be done in a few minutes.

Choose A Dedicated Network Testing Software

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Knowing how to test a network involves using a substantial number of resources and some manual effort. Additionally, your job will become easy if you choose the right network monitoring tools.

It is important to understand that the commonly used network monitoring solutions are passive. They are designed to monitor devices and inform you if they are in good shape. But you need something more than these basic systems to actually test your network.

The ideal network performance monitoring software will

  • Monitor your network from the end-user standpoint
  • Carry out network performance tests on an ongoing basis
  • Measure key network-specific metrics

When you choose an advanced and reputed network testing system or process, you can expect more detailed information. You will also get an analysis of the problems affecting your network performance and how it impacts end users.

Deploy Monitoring Agents for Network Testing

Network monitoring systems test and monitors your network performance on an ongoing basis. Generally, this is done by monitoring data packets through your network using network monitoring agents. They create artificial traffic for

  • Measuring central metrics of the network
  • Identifying the key problem areas in your network
  • Collecting historical data
  • Providing a real-time view of the network performance

Before you begin, make sure the monitoring agents are correctly installed in key network locations such as the workstations, data centers, leading branches, and private and public clouds.

Collect All Network-Related Data

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The next step involves collecting network data. To achieve this, use the best monitoring agents in key network locations and test and measure the most critical network metrics, such as:

  • Latency
  • Packet loss
  • Quality of VoIP
  • Network speed
  • Level of jittery
  • Throughput

These metrics will allow you to identify loss of performance in the network. It can also point out issues that may flare up in the future and affect your critical processes.

Understanding Network Metrics

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Network metrics are crucial indicators of the performance, health, and efficiency of a network infrastructure. They provide tangible data that IT professionals can analyze to ensure the network meets the required standards and supports business operations effectively. In this section, we’ll delve into the significance of various network metrics and how they contribute to a comprehensive understanding of network performance.

1. Latency

Latency refers to the time it takes for a data packet to travel from its source to its destination across the network. It is typically measured in milliseconds (ms). Low latency is crucial for real-time applications like video conferencing, online gaming, and VoIP services, where delays can result in poor user experiences. High latency can indicate network congestion, improper routing, or other issues needing resolution.

2. Throughput

Throughput measures the amount of data that can be transferred over the network in a specific timeframe, usually expressed in bits per second (bps), megabits per second (Mbps), or gigabits per second (Gbps). It is a critical metric for assessing the capacity of a network and understanding how well it handles varying loads. Throughput can be affected by factors such as bandwidth limitations, network congestion, and packet loss.

3. Packet Loss

Packet loss occurs when one or more packets of data fail to reach their intended destination. It can result in disrupted services, poor audio and video quality, and an overall decrease in network efficiency. Packet loss is often caused by network congestion, hardware failures, or errors in data transmission. Monitoring packet loss helps identify and rectify issues that could severely impact network performance.

4. Jitter

Jitter measures the variation in the delay of received packets. In other words, it’s the inconsistency in packet arrival times. It is particularly important for interactive and real-time services, where a consistent stream of data packets is crucial for maintaining quality. High levels of jitter can lead to choppy audio or video, uneven streaming, and an unreliable connection.

5. Bandwidth Utilization

Bandwidth utilization refers to the percentage of available bandwidth being used at any given time. It helps network administrators understand how efficiently the network resources are being utilized. Monitoring bandwidth utilization can reveal peak usage times, bandwidth hogs, or underutilized links, allowing for better bandwidth management and planning.

6. Error Rates

Error rates measure the number of corrupted packets over a total number of packets sent during a specific period. A high error rate can indicate problems with network hardware, interference, or signal quality. Keeping error rates low is essential for maintaining the integrity and reliability of data transmission.

7. Availability

Network availability refers to the percentage of time the network is operational and available for use. High availability is crucial for business continuity and user satisfaction. Availability metrics help identify network downtimes, their causes, and their impacts on business operations.

Analyze Historical Network Data

When you notice a perceptible change in your network performance, it’s time to run network testing and get to the root cause of the problem.

Analyzing historical performance data helps decode network functioning and its performance before, after, and during the distinguishable changes to your network infrastructure.

The system will measure and collect historical network performance data for you so that you can compare and analyze the performances and initiate troubleshooting measures.

You can compare network performance before and after a new service migration by going back in time to locate a time range to find the problems and initiate measures to fix them.

Identify Network Problems

Network issues and bugs can be found even in the best-performing networks. By installing an end-to-end testing and monitoring setup, you can gather the data needed to identify and troubleshoot the problem areas. You can get your network back to optimal performance mode quickly.

The system is primed to initiate alerts automatically when there is packet loss between specific sites or when there is a high level of jitter during VoIP calls, etc.

Various types of troubleshooting solutions are available to help you locate the route and latency between two sites and find the exact spaces prone to network problems. Speed tests are generally a good measure of validating the bandwidth needed for your tasks.  Network device monitoring tools can provide detailed information about the health of a network. They can check the performance of routers, switches, Wi-Fi points, and firewalls.

The Significance of Network Testing

Owing to the central role networks play in virtually every aspect of modern business operations, network testing transcends the realm of mere performance evaluation. It acts as a quality assurance mechanism for business processes delivered over a digital infrastructure. Here are five reasons that underline the importance of network testing:

  1. Detecting Performance Bottlenecks – Testing helps pinpoint areas where the network’s speed and capacity do not meet expectations, leading to network issues.
  2. Risk Assessment – Network testing assesses the risks associated with a partial or total loss of network service and connectivity.
  3. Compliance Verification – Security testing validates network compliance with standards such as PCI or HIPAA.
  4. Assessing Network Controls – Network testing verifies that proper network controls such as access lists and firewalls are correctly configured.
  5. Continuous Improvement – Continuous network testing generates historical performance data, aiding in long-term trend analysis and proactive capacity planning.

A Glimpse into Network Testing Tools

A successful network testing process hinges on the effective use of several tools. These range from basic diagnostic utilities to advanced security scanners and performance monitoring platforms. Here, we outline some commonly used network testing tools:

Latency and Packet Loss Testing with Ping

Ping is a fundamental network performance test used to verify network connectivity, latency, and packet loss. By default, a ping test works by sending one packet every second and waiting for a reply. Each reply reports the round-trip time (RTT), which is the time taken for one exchange of packets. Lower RTT values signify a more stable network with consistent packet delivery.


Traceroute is another core network performance test that determines all the intermediate routers between a source host and a destination. Each intermediate router is referred to as a hop. For each hop, traceroute reports its IP address, hostname (if available), and three RTT measurements. It aids in diagnosing routing issues.

Path Analysis

Path Analysis, like traceroute, is a network performance test that discovers multiple paths between a source and a destination. It’s particularly valuable in network environments that deploy Equal-Cost MultiPath (ECMP) routing.

DNS Testing with Nslookup

DNS is a vital network service that translates hostnames into IP addresses. Nslookup is a command-line tool that performs a DNS query with a specific server, providing information about the DNS server’s response time and availability.

Iperf for Throughput Testing

Iperf is a bandwidth testing tool that generates TCP or UDP traffic between a source and a destination. Once the test concludes, it reports various statistics such as throughput, packet loss (UDP), jitter (UDP) and retransmissions (TCP), providing valuable insights into network bandwidth.

Internet Connection Testing with NDT and Speedtest

Network Diagnostic Tool (NDT) and Speedtest are popular tools used to test an internet connection. Both tools run a download and upload test with a server located on the internet, providing valuable statistics like download speed, upload speed, and latency.

Network Monitoring Tools

Network monitoring tools, such as NetBeez, play a pivotal role in enhancing network testing processes by providing real-time insights and comprehensive analysis of network performance. They enable testers to monitor various parameters such as bandwidth utilization, latency, packet loss, and device health, allowing them to identify potential bottlenecks and performance issues.

Practical Network Testing Use Cases

Network testing can be performed ad-hoc, such as after a network configuration change, or continuously to monitor the network’s health. Here are some common use cases for network testing:

  1. Validating Configuration Changes – After making a change to the network configuration, running network tests can verify that the change was successful and didn’t cause any unforeseen issues.
  2. Circuit Turn-up or Site Go-live – When setting up a new network site or link, running connectivity and throughput tests can verify that the new setup is functioning as expected.
  3. Troubleshooting – Network testing is instrumental in isolating a problem and collecting all the necessary data to identify the root cause.
  4. Service Assurance – Continuous network testing helps monitor and enforce Service Level Agreements (SLAs), enabling proactive issue management and speedy troubleshooting.
  5. Proactive Monitoring – By running network tests continuously, you can monitor key performance metrics like latency and packet loss, enabling proactive identification of issues that could degrade network performance and the end-users’ experience.

Implementing a Network Testing Strategy

A well-defined network testing strategy is crucial for ensuring the reliability, efficiency, and security of an organization’s network infrastructure. By systematically implementing a network testing strategy, businesses can proactively identify and address potential issues, thereby minimizing downtime and improving overall network performance. Here’s how organizations can develop and implement an effective network testing strategy:

1. Define Clear Objectives: Begin by establishing clear, measurable objectives for your network testing strategy. Determine what you aim to achieve, such as improved network performance, enhanced security, or reduced downtime. Objectives should align with your business goals and address specific concerns or challenges within your network.

2. Identify Key Network Metrics: Based on your objectives, identify the key network metrics that need to be tested. These may include latency, throughput, packet loss, jitter, error rates, and bandwidth utilization, among others. Understanding which metrics are most relevant to your network’s health and performance will guide the testing process.

3. Select Appropriate Testing Tools: Choose the right network testing tools that align with your objectives and can accurately measure the identified metrics. Tools should be capable of simulating realistic network conditions, monitoring performance in real-time, and providing detailed reports for analysis. Consider tools for automated testing, performance monitoring, security assessment, and protocol analysis.

4. Develop a Testing Schedule: Create a schedule that outlines when and how frequently network tests will be conducted. Some tests may need to be performed continuously, while others might be scheduled during off-peak hours to minimize disruption. The schedule should also include provisions for ad-hoc testing in response to network changes or issues.

5. Create Testing Scenarios: Design specific testing scenarios that mimic real-world network conditions and challenges your network might face. This could include high traffic loads, security attacks, hardware failures, or software updates. By creating realistic scenarios, you can better understand how your network will perform under various conditions.

6. Execute Tests and Collect Data: Carry out the planned tests according to the schedule and scenarios. Ensure that tests are conducted in a controlled environment to maintain consistency and reliability. Collect data on the identified metrics and document any anomalies or issues encountered during the testing process.

7. Analyze Test Results: Analyze the collected data to assess network performance and identify any bottlenecks, vulnerabilities, or inefficiencies. Compare the results against your objectives and benchmarks to determine whether the network meets the required standards.

8. Implement Improvements: Based on the analysis, develop and implement strategies to address identified issues and improve network performance. This may involve reconfiguring hardware, updating software, enhancing security measures, or optimizing network configurations.

9. Document Findings and Adjustments: Document the results of the tests, the analysis conducted, and any changes made to the network. This documentation will serve as a reference for future testing and can help track the impact of the improvements over time.

10. Review and Iterate: Regularly review the effectiveness of your network testing strategy and make adjustments as necessary. As your network evolves and new technologies emerge, your testing strategy should also adapt to continue meeting the organization’s needs.


Businesses increasingly depend on a high-performing network to manage cloud applications and virtual communications. They also assist in operating several key areas of your business better. In today’s highly competitive business environment, network testing and monitoring is vital for all types of business. Choose advanced network monitoring systems designed for testing your network on an ongoing basis. This will give you instant visibility to any changes in network performance and identify the areas that need improvement.

Network Testing FAQs

1. What is testing in networking?

Testing in networking involves evaluating and verifying the operational capabilities of network components and connections. This includes assessing the performance, security, and reliability of network infrastructure such as routers, switches, and communication channels to ensure they meet specified requirements and can handle intended traffic volumes.

2. Which tool is used to test the network?

Several tools can be used for network testing, with Wireshark being one of the most popular. Wireshark is a network protocol analyzer that can capture and display the data traveling back and forth on a network in real-time. Other commonly used tools include Ping, Traceroute, Netcat, and Network Performance Monitor for more in-depth analysis.

3. Which type of testing is needed for network applications?

Network applications typically require several types of testing, including but not limited to performance testing, security testing, load testing, and stress testing. These ensure that the network application can handle expected traffic and protect against vulnerabilities.

4. Why do we need to do network testing?

Network testing is essential to ensure the reliability, performance, and security of network infrastructures and services. It helps identify potential issues that could cause network downtime or security breaches, ensuring that the network can handle its intended load and function as expected.

5. What are the 4 types of networks?

The four main types of networks are Local Area Networks (LAN), Wide Area Networks (WAN), Metropolitan Area Networks (MAN), and Personal Area Networks (PAN). Each has its own characteristics and is used for different purposes based on geographical coverage and functionality.

6. What is TCP/IP testing?

TCP/IP testing involves assessing the suite of communication protocols used to connect hosts on the Internet. Tests ensure that data transmission over the network is accurate and efficient, following the rules established by the TCP/IP standards. This can include testing individual layers, such as the application layer, transport layer, internet layer, and link layer.

7. How do you test network protocols?

Testing network protocols involves verifying that communication between devices adheres to set protocols and standards. This can be done through protocol analyzers, simulation, and sending specific types of data packets to see how the system responds, ensuring that the protocols are correctly implemented and function as expected.

8. What are five types of testing techniques that can be used to test network security?

Five common network security testing techniques are:

  • Penetration Testing: Simulating cyber-attacks to identify vulnerabilities.
  • Vulnerability Scanning: Automatically scanning a network for known security weaknesses.
  • Security Auditing: Checking systems against a set of established criteria.
  • Ethical Hacking: Employing an ethical hacker to find and fix security flaws.
  • Risk Assessment: Evaluating the network for potential risks and their impact.

9. How many types of testing are there in QA?

In Quality Assurance (QA), there are numerous types of testing, including but not limited to Functional Testing, Non-Functional Testing (such as Performance and Security Testing), Manual Testing, Automated Testing, Regression Testing, Acceptance Testing, and Load Testing. The specific types used can vary based on the project’s requirements and the product being tested.