WAN monitoring with PRTG
Two main PRTG components for successful WAN monitoring
Local probe for your hub
Install PRTG in the environment which is primarily used to manage your IT infrastructure. Once the PRTG server has been installed, a local probe will automatically be created on the same computer. This local probe performs the monitoring and transfers data to the underlying core server.
Remote probe for your WAN
Install a remote probe on a computer in another location. This remote probe will monitor the network in that location and send data back to the PRTG core server. The installation takes a few short minutes.
Simple local networks to those spanning the globe: 3 best practices
How PRTG defines sensors
In PRTG, “sensors” are the basic monitoring elements. One sensor usually monitors one measured value in your network, e.g. the traffic of a switch port, the CPU load of a server, the free space of a disk drive. On average you need about 5-10 sensors per device or one sensor per switch port.
Many colleges, cities, and public utilities have distributed infrastructures that are confined to a specific area. One such example is Stadtwerke Frankenthal in southern Germany, which is responsible for the region’s waterworks and swimming pools. PRTG is used to monitor this organization’s 80 servers and 200 devices. ➔ To the case study [German/l]
Many companies have locations around the world, which they wish to monitor with a single WAN monitor tool. One such company is Pepe Jeans, whose IT department uses more than 6,000 PRTG sensors to monitor its LAN – as well as its WAN in over 350 locations worldwide. ➔ To the case study
IT service providers
Even IT service providers use PRTG. Example: managed service providers (MSPs), who monitor customer networks remotely and are responsible, among other things, for VoIP, network security, and other technical support. Many MSPs use PRTG for their monitoring ➔ More information for MSPs
Why WAN monitoring makes sense
Distributed networks are infamous for crashing. When crashes occur, all work at the respective location comes to a halt. WAN monitoring software lets you keep a constant eye on all your networks and optimize your WAN. You'll therefore maximize the uptime and availability of your entire IT infrastructure, and ensure your company works with the utmost efficiency.
Save time, energy, and money
When the network is down or malfunctioning, it doesn’t take long before the first help tickets start piling in. Most administrators access the computers and systems of a location remotely. But sometimes it’s not that easy. Certain problems make it necessary for sysadmins to travel to the location, which can cost a great deal of time and money. This expense can be reduced with WAN monitoring tools.
Take prompt action
Most problems start small. Let’s look at hardware: it’s quite common for routers or switches to fail for short periods of time. But these malfunctions accumulate – until the network crashes entirely. With PRTG, you'll recognize the very first signs of errors or disruptions and can take action at once. At the same time, you can configure the alarm feature to ensure you are not notified for every little disturbance.
Why PRTG is the perfect WAN monitoring tool
A hub for your WAN
PRTG is a centralized WAN monitoring tool for your entire IT infrastructure. It monitors systems, devices, bandwidth, and applications. All information is consolidated on an easy-to-read dashboard. You can therefore keep a constant eye on your network.
Agentless WAN monitoring
PRTG is agentless WAN monitoring software. You don’t have to install any software on your target computers. Simply install a remote probe on a computer in one of your distributed networks. This remote probe will collect your data and send it to the core server upon which PRTG is installed.
PRTG WAN monitoring is fully customizable. You get to decide which – and to what extent – hardware and applications in your wide area network get monitored. PRTG licenses can be upgraded at any time. This means you won’t have to set up your monitoring all over again.
LPWA stands for Low-Power Wide-Area. It does not refer to any one specific technology, but rather serves as a generic term for any network designed to communicate wirelessly with lower power than other networks such as cellular, satellite, or WiFi. Moreover, LPWANs communicate over greater distances than other low-power networks that use Bluetooth or NFC, for example.
Monitoring WAN traffic and devices: Some sensors for immediate results
SNMP sensors allow you to monitor all your hardware, including servers, routers, and switches. PRTG comes with a variety of preconfigured SNMP sensors designed for several different manufacturers.
More on SNMP monitoring
PRTG NetFlow sensors let you monitor your bandwidth and traffic. The NetFlow protocol is mainly used on Cisco devices. PRTG is also compatible with other Flow technologies.
Traceroute Hop Count sensor for your WAN
How many hops does a data packet need to reach its destination? This is especially valuable information when dealing with wide area networks – for if data packets take “detours,” then delays are bound to arise. The Traceroute Hop Count sensor lets you monitor these "hops.”
Click here for an overview of 250 pre-configured sensors. You can also set up sensors individually.
3 easy steps for installing a remote probe
Set up your PRTG core server
To configure your probe connections, first click on “Core & Probes” in “System Administration.” Then set the PRTG server to allow remote probe connections.
Install the remote probe
Search for the “Remote Probe Installer” in Setup | Download and Tools. Download the installer on a computer in the part of your WAN where you wish to set up your monitoring, then run the program. The remote probe automatically connects to the PRTG server once you have confirmed the connection in PRTG. Be sure the firewall isn’t blocking the remote probe. The default port number is 23560.
Finally, set up your monitoring in the location housing the remote probe. You will find the remote probes in your device tree. You can now create the devices from the target network and add the necessary sensors.
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FAQ: Four questions on WAN availability
Bad VoIP connections are usually a sign of insufficient bandwidth. If bandwidth is too low, the network can become overloaded by certain applications or programs. PRTG lets you identify the applications and data that are putting the greatest strain on your network. You can subsequently make a sound decision on the best way to improve your VoIP – e.g. by increasing your bandwidth.
More on VoIP monitoring with PRTG
Every sysadmin should know the latency values of their WAN, for latency is often the cause of poor WAN performance. Latency always has consequences. It must therefore be kept within reasonable limits. Latency spikes lead to malfunctions or lost connections. With PRTG, you can monitor latency continuously and be immediately alerted in the event of a drop in performance – giving you plenty of time to fix a problem before users catch on.
You can of course enter an individual ping command to obtain a one-time measurement of latency. But such a test will only provide you with a single measurement point. PRTG lets you monitor WAN latency around the clock, and thus gives you the bigger picture. You'll be able to tell, for example, if latency tends to spike at certain times and not at others.
With ping monitoring, you can monitor availability at any time of the day or night.
Data packets may get lost in a WAN as they make their way from one computer to another. Overloaded routers or switches are two possible causes of packet loss. But which router or switch should you replace in the WAN? You'll need an overview of your entire network to know for sure. That’s where PRTG comes in.
PRTG makes your job easier
Our monitoring software frees you to focus on other tasks by promptly notifying you of potential issues.
PRTG gives you one central monitoring tool for your servers and entire network. Enjoy a quick overview of your whole infrastructure via our dashboard and app.
Getting started with PRTG is a breeze. Setting up or switching from another network monitoring tool is easy thanks to the auto-discovery and pre-configured device templates.
“Easy to implement and configure with good technical support.”
R. v. S., ICT Manager at Heinen & Hopman Eng BV
PRTG: The multi-tool for sysadminsAdapt PRTG individually and dynamically to your needs and rely on a strong API:
- HTTP API: Access monitoring data and manipulate monitoring objects via HTTP requests
- Custom sensors: Create your own PRTG sensors for customized monitoring
- Custom notifications: Create your own notifications and send action triggers to external systems
- REST Custom sensor: Monitor almost everything that provides data in XML or JSON format
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Paessler AG conducted trials in over 600 IT departments worldwide to tune its network monitoring software closer to the needs of sysadmins.
The result of the survey: over 95% of the participants would recommend PRTG – or already have.
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