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How can we reduce time spent troubleshooting networks?

Learn how making the right choices at the beginning of a networking project can reduce the amount of time troubleshooting networks later.

How can we reduce time spent troubleshooting networks?

The most important thing is to buy the right equipment. This equipment will scale to work with growing network complexity, and it is more reliable and higher performance than commodity equipment. That's why knowledgeable service providers sell the customer a device that costs $300 or even $1,000 more than a lower-end one.

Take the case of peer-to-peer file sharing. A lot of routers let you identify that traffic, but if you want to block it, it's a lot harder to do so, and you probably have to upgrade the router. With Cisco-grade equipment, you can set up network policing right on the router and it just blocks peer-to-peer traffic right there.

In addition to using the right equipment, make sure to use good, solid network architecture. Really spend some time learning about subnetting and routing and making sure that the network is as sound as possible. Take the time at the outset to set up the firewall rules, access control lists and settings to prevent many network traffic problems from even happening. To take the peer-to-peer example, you can block that traffic from the outset. Make a template of all the ports and services you block and all the ports and services you allow. Then take that list to your customer and highlight the ports services you want to allow. Work with the customer to tweak the list based on their specific business needs.

This was last published in May 2008

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