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Keys to Avoiding Contention

New applications like VoIP and web-based SaaS apps demand robust and reliable bandwidth. The increased use of applications like video conferencing, web-based programs, and VoIP is pushing contention to the forefront as a common cause of delay.

Network contention occurs when an application’s bandwidth use spikes to the point of interfering with the performance of other applications on the network pipe. Communications and web-based applications often require high and consistent network bandwidth to avoid these interruptions, which immediately impact user experience.

Pinpointing Contention Causes

To identify points of contention, first look at overall bandwidth utilization and utilization per application. The key is to identify whether applications are consuming more bandwidth than expected. Once the offending application has been identified, identify top talkers using the application. The final step is to look into IP Pairs to identify conversations consuming the most bandwidth. From this information, you can identify not only the offending culprit and cause, but whether the contentious traffic is legitimate. For example, if the contentious application is a back-up mistakenly occurring during work hours or misconfigured QoS settings, you can identify this from looking at utilization trends and then drilling into specific applications and users.

Here are three keys for avoiding contention issues that could plague your next roll out.

Pre-Deployment Assessments

Because of the challenges inherent with UC applications, understanding your basic network environment is vital to ensuring a successful roll out. Conducting a site survey before installing UC services can identify and eliminate many performance problems before deployment.


Regularly monitor performance to establish expected application performance and normal network activities. Run weekly and monthly comparison reports to pinpoint slowly degrading applications. Configure alarms for instant notification of performance anomalies.

QoS and Precedence

When implementing communication or collaboration applications, QoS is mandatory for ensuring adequate bandwidth. Configure precedence settings appropriately for all application components. A frequent mistake is to leave out or misconfigure precedence for portions of an application, which then results in contention.

This article was published by Network Instruments

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