Introduction

The Network Admin’s Guide to Synthetic Monitoring

CATCHPOINT’S NETWORK ADMINISTRATOR’S GUIDE TO SYNTHETIC MONITORING
Introduction

The Network Admin’s Guide to Synthetic Monitoring

As a network administrator, you are well acquainted with the Simple Network Management Protocol (SNMP), as well as a number of paid tools used to monitor private local and wide area networks. Monitoring traffic as it traverses the internet, however, is a different type of challenge -- one that can’t be monitored with SNMP. Instead, administrators must use other methods to isolate performance bottlenecks scattered across the vast and complex web of public network components known as the Internet.

Synthetic monitoring triangulates problems by testing performance and reachability from hundreds of vantage points. It also complements your Domain Name Service (DNS), Content Delivery Network (CDN), and Border Gateway Protocol (BGP) monitoring to provide a comprehensive perspective.

You can find a free, detailed technical explanation of DNS and CDN concepts in our guide to synthetic monitoring.

In this guide, we’ll cover the technologies that make the Internet tick, such as:

  • Internet Exchange Points (IXP)
  • Software Defined Wide Area Network (SD-WAN)
  • Border Gateway Protocol (BGP)
  • IP Transit

This guide also includes a list of sixteen free online tools available to help network engineers troubleshoot internet performance problems. The following diagram provides context for the concepts that will be covered in the  chapters that follow.

The Internet is made up of internet exchange points (IXP) and Autonomous Systems that exchange routes via the border gateway protocol (BGP)
The building blocks of the internet

Chapters

Internet Exchange Point

In our overview article, you’ll learn about tiers of Internet Service Providers (ISP), Autonomous Systems (AS), and the Internet Exchange Points (IXP) ISPs use to exchange traffic via the BGP routing protocol. You’ll also be given some context for related technologies (such as SD-WAN and IPv6) and troubleshooting tools (such as ping and traceroute).

IP Transit

This chapter tackles the ISP arrangement known as “IP transit,” which is used to transport traffic to its destination, and understand how it differs from IP peering. You’ll also learn about supporting concepts like AS path, dual-homing, BGP communities, and Resource Public Key Infrastructure (RPKI), which helps protect against threats such as BGP leaks and hijacking

SD-WAN

Software-defined wide area networks (SD-WAN) are the most popular way to connect remote corporate networks. In this article, we present the benefits and challenges of SD-WANs, and compare SD-WANs to dedicated connections based on the Multiprotocol Label Switching (MPLS) protocol.

BGP Attributes

Become versed in the inner workings of the Border Gateway Protocol by following diagrams and examples to understand BGP attributes, path selection algorithms, AS path, and Multi-exit discriminator (MED).

Online Network Tools

Put your newfound knowledge to use by accessing 16 free online tools. Each tool has a specific and useful functionality, such as testing website speeds from global locations, checking MX records, performing Organizationally Unique Identifier (OUI) lookups, browsing the most updated BGP route servers list on the internet, and more.

Like what you’re reading?  We’re always adding new chapters to our guides, so stay tuned for more topics!

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