Applications are used at the endpoints of networks. Many tools and infrastructure components are designed to ensure that these applications are available to users. Data from applications travels over a network. Increasingly access is via wireless or cellular networks as well as the traditional Ethernet cable-based networks in offices. Ensuring that the network provides the maximum throughput for application traffic is key to delivering an excellent application experience to users.

NPM tools are a core part of ensuring that the network is performing optimally. They provide visibility of how all the network hardware and software (in SDN & NFV environments) are performing in real-time. Any issues that might be causing network bottlenecks are proactively identified, and actions can be taken to prevent the "slow-network" problem. NPM tools also allow the tracking of network performance as use increases over time, thus providing the ability to predict network trends and prevent future issues.

When choosing an NPM solution look for one that is multi-vendor so that it can be used to monitor, fix, and report on network infrastructure that includes hardware and software components from multiple vendors. A multi-vendor compatible NPM solution also provides a unified view of the whole network.