Top Challenges for Today’s Network Engineers

Top Challenges for Today's Network Engineers

Table of Contents



Whether it’s backups and cables or firewalls and viruses, it’s the job of a network engineer or administrator to know what to do at any given time. All these responsibilities revolve around ensuring that information travels smoothly across the network so that employees can concentrate on what matters to the business. One thing is sure, however: as IP-based technologies such as VoIP and cloud services become more widely adopted, the size and complexity of networks inevitably increase. The result of this is that every network engineer’s job will only become more challenging as time goes by. For this reason, we’ve decided to analyze the top challenges for today’s network engineers.

Network engineer working on a challenging server issue.

1. The Growing Capacity of Network Solutions

Capacity is a significant challenge for all parties engaged in supplying network solutions. Companies must cope with increasing volumes of data generated by various sources. The expansion of video content and the number of deployed IoT devices providing more data than ever before is a crucial influence. We’re also dealing with data monetization. Many emerging business strategies revolve around monetizing knowledge rather than selling products. 

As a consequence, network bandwidth will continue to be in high demand. For this reason, network engineers can’t afford to rest on their laurels. They need to keep learning and adapting to keep up with this demand increase.

2. The Need for Increased Security

Increased security threats and shifting capacity need both necessitate network expansion. As people become more reliant on data and online services, their tolerance for disruptions in service decreases rapidly. For this reason, tools for replicating and safeguarding enterprise data are essential. However, one of the most significant challenges for today’s network engineers is that it’s exceedingly hard to guarantee the network’s safety. The main reason is that boundaries are no longer as clear as they used to be. Threats can quickly enter a network through seemingly harmless channels, such as phishing emails. Although encryption helps keep a network secure, it may make monitoring and managing it more challenging because of the increased difficulty of observing network activity.

3. Network Traffic Maintenance and Monitoring

As a network engineer, monitoring and maintaining the network will be what you’ll do most of the time. Your goal is going to be to reduce the MTTR. This is the only way you’ll be able to get a clear picture of the network over time. We cannot overstate the importance of monitoring for achieving goals, network security, and performance. However, a lack of efficient tools can stymie monitoring and troubleshooting efforts. As the variety of IP-based traffic grows, from video streaming to SaaS applications, many network professionals have to deal with the challenge of acquiring, storing, and analyzing massive volumes of monitoring data.

Another issue that stems from this is that it’s much more difficult to gauge customer satisfaction. For most enterprises, measuring customer satisfaction is one of the most critical metrics, and if they know how they feel, businesses can better adjust their strategy. That being said, while you cannot directly influence customer satisfaction as a network engineer, your goal should be to lay a solid foundation so there are no roadblocks.

4. Network Performance Monitoring

One of the top challenges for today’s network engineers is ensuring optimal network performance. The variety and quantity of IP-based services on which modern businesses rely necessitate adequate network performance. When there is even a slight decrease in bandwidth, jitter, packet loss, or latency, services start to fail quickly. A network’s performance may also suffer if it must deal with excessive traffic or if there are too many intermediate nodes between individual users and the services they require. Large traffic volumes are the leading cause of application slowdowns and lost productivity. However, a good network engineer will be able to prevent these issues by:

  1. Monitoring network performance parameters in real-time.
  2. Knowing how to troubleshoot software-as-a-service (SaaS) applications.
  3. Being able to determine which application instances use what proportion of available bandwidth and which IP addresses are linked with them.

5. Migration to the Cloud

Nowadays, many companies are struggling with cloud migration. By moving their operations to the cloud and running them on a virtualized platform managed by a third party, they effectively outsource everything from the underlying operating system to the applications themselves. Businesses need to decide what kinds of information, software, and operational procedures to move to the cloud. This requires a fresh look at security, compliance, and controls fundamentals. Furthermore, transferring and integrating data is fundamental to any cloud migration strategy. Data migration is something that only a network engineer can help them with. For this reason, it is crucial to have a good understanding of cloud computing in general.

6. Adapting to the Needs of Hybrid Networking

Many businesses have switched to hybrid networking because of its adaptability, durability, and scalability. Because of hybrid networks, cutting-edge networking practices like cloud services have become very popular for today’s businesses. Adapting to the requirements and challenges of different networking models can be challenging without the proper management tools. Additionally, hybrid networking has made it more difficult for network administrators to manage the growing network components, such as end-user devices, servers, and routers. They are now tasked with locating, authenticating, and configuring networking equipment in addition to establishing performance benchmarks and troubleshooting issues. To top it all off, network engineers must always be able to assess and reduce the risk vector in their networks. But not only that, but they must also fortify network security and guarantee the availability of services at all times.

Conclusion

Needless to say, today’s network engineers face numerous challenges. However, none of these problems are insurmountable. All it takes is time, persistence, and a little cooperation, and you can resolve most of these issues. Hopefully, this list of the top challenges for today’s network engineers can help you figure out what you need to work on to improve your craft and help your company succeed.

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James Conway

James Conway

James Conway worked as a system administrator and network engineer before moving to a managerial position. Using his unique insight and skills, James hopes to educate young people looking to enter the IT field. When he isn’t trying to negotiate with a hostile server, James loves spending his time away from the keyboard playing boardgames and enjoying craft beer.

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