Two different ways to manage a network are used in today’s systems. They are in-band and out-of-band (OBM) systems. In-band management involves local management through the network using a telnet connection to a router. This is the most common type of network management system seen in the world. In-band management works well, as long as nothing goes wrong. It is possible for something to go wrong which would prevent access to the network using network itself. This is where OBM comes in. If the network cannot be accessed in-band, OBM provides an alternate way to access the network from the outside. This research will explore the need for the OBM versus in-band approach to network management.

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The first reason for OBM has already been mentioned. OBM provides and extra layer of security should the in-band network go down. For businesses with critical operations, in-band is not enough. OBM means the difference between being able to maintain business if the main system should go down. In addition, there might be systems that are not on the network, such as PBX phone systems or uninterruptable power supplies. These devices cannot be managed through the system and must be managed using and OBM approach.

There are several different software packages available that can perform both in-band and OBM network management. The main reason for using OBM is for system resiliency in the event of an emergency. An out-of-band network can also help to alleviate congestion on the main network. This allows the company to be able to route customer traffic through the out-of-band network instead of through the in-band network that is for users inside the company Tulman, 2010). This set up has several advantages. The first is that customers are never on the main network, which reduces the potential for security breaches of the main system. The second advantage is that users inside the company get access to the full bandwidth that they need. This helps to prevent network slowdowns due to volumes on the system (Tulman, 2010). Keeping customers out of the main server has many advantages, including serving as an extra layer of security.

Out-of-Band networks can be used to authenticate remote devices without putting the main network at risk. This approach can be used to go beyond a simple firewall. This is important when there are many devices, such as devices owned by individuals that must access the network. The out-of-band network can be used to add an extra layer of protection in making certain that these devices meet the requirements for network access, without tying up bandwidth on the network (Mirage Networks, 2015). The out-of-band network can be used to test the device that wishes to access the internet to run extensive compliance protocols before allowing access to the network (Mirage Networks, 2015). The out-of-band server can then decide to allow access or deny entrance into the in-band network. When personal devices are used to access the network, there is no way to verify that the device is being kept up to date and that it has sufficient virus protection installed. The out-of-band network can serve as a quarantine area to run tests on the device before allowing it into the network (Mirage Networks, 2015).

When deciding to install an out-of-band network to an existing system, the first step is to examine the existing system and decide which assets are crucial for visibility and how much information needs to be seen in-band (Downer, 2016). When the enterprise uses only an in-band system, all of the information is on the main server and could potentially be accessed by anyone who has the right level of authentication, or who manages to obtain it through unscrupulous means. Using an out-of-band network, not all of the information even needs to be on the same server, creating another way to restrict access to certain information (Downer, 2016).

One of the ways in which installing an out-of-band network can improve and existing enterprise system is through reduced downtime (Downer, 2016). This can ensure the ability of the system to survive an attack or other disaster. Each organization has unique needs in terms of what needs to be on both networks. Critical elements of the infrastructure are the most important things to be placed on an out-of-band network (Downer, 2016). The design of the system needs to first determine what the business could not do without and make sure that there is a clean copy available out of network. Those assets that directly influence revenue generation are also high priority items (Downer, 2016).

Now, in-band and out-of-band networks are not the only choice. They can be exclusive, but many enterprises are choosing a hybrid system (Downer, 2016). In some cases, there are advantages to having two systems that never cross and are mutually exclusive (Downer, 2016). In other cases, a hybrid system might offer the best solution, allowing certain assets that are common to both of the networks (Downer, 2016).
Having an out-of-band network means duplicate purchases of things such as terminal servers, and other equipment needed. These items add to the cost of the system, but they can literally save the life of the business if something goes wrong. Out-of-Band management has many advantages over the in-band system that most enterprises uses today. It can provide backup should the main system go down and it can perform many functions that do not need to be done on the in-band server. This helps to save bandwidth on the main server, eliminating slowdowns due to too much traffic. The out-of-band network can also serve as an extra layer of security, allowing more remote testing of non-managed devices when they are used to access the network. These are only a few of the reasons whey out-of-band networks can be expected to grow in the next several years. They solve a number of problems that have confronted enterprises for many years. They are one of the more inexpensive solutions to how businesses can meet the demand of increasing network volume in the future.

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  • Tulman, B. (2010, May 18). In-Band and Out-of-Band Network Management. Retrieved from