The Digital Agency for International Development

Network Management Basics

By Chris Wilson on 07 April 2010

I've been asked for some advice on how schools and universities can take advantage of the increased bandwidth available with the arrival of the TEAMS and EASSY submarine cables in East Africa.

Management of Internet connections is a big subject. Whole books have been written about it, including the freely downloadable How To Accelerate Your Internet (BMO Book). However, for anyone who doesn't have time to read it, I will briefly summarise the most important points that I can think of:

  • have a clear, simple and strict Internet access policy, and enforce it.
  • have enough bandwidth, AT LEAST 3 kbps per computer, uncontended. So if you have 1000 computers, you should have 3 MBits dedicated bandwidth, or 60 MBps if it's shared or contended with a 20:1 contention ratio (typical ISPs).
  • have competent network administrators. If you don't have them, then hire or train them.
  • implement good network management practices, e.g. by following the advice of the BMO Book.
  • start by solving the problems that users complain most about, to give them the best possible service.
  • monitor your network to understand how Internet bandwidth is being used.
  • block misuses of Internet access that are causing problems for legitimate use of the Internet connection.
  • ensure that client PCs have good, fast antivirus, perform well, are regularly reformatted and reimaged, and have strong local security to prevent unauthorized software installation.

Far more information on all of these topics can be found in the BMO book. I suggest starting with the Introduction if you're interested.

April 7, 2010, 9:18 a.m. - Tweets that mention Network Management Basics «...

[...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Aptivate and Tariq Khokhar, Mark Skipper. Mark Skipper said: Great simple guidelines for good bandwidth management from @aptivateuk [...]

April 7, 2010, 8:47 p.m. - Bandwidth Management

Great article, thanks. The importance of the fundamentals of network management cannot be under emphasized.