Welcome to Brown’s Bytes! Your weekly insight from Mobliciti’s CTO Andy Brown. Follow #brownsbytes
18th March 2022
For regular readers expecting a fix of my chunterings about Mobile, you’re in for a shock! I’m not talking about Mobile!!
(Warning – Shameless Plug Alert!) If you do want my thoughts on a mobile subject, then please head over to the Security Insights Podcast where myself and Stephen Pritchard discuss Mobile Security.
Instead of Mobile, my thoughts this week relate to the world of Wi-Fi and Networking, and in particular about how to best measure the performance of the network.
As I have mentioned before, the return to the office is bringing with it changing working practices, especially relating to how all staff have adapted to using technology for communication and collaboration far more than before. The era of Video first and VOIP replacing desk phones has finally arrived! Considering it has been nearly 15 years since I first started using this tech in anger (does anyone else remember Tandberg Movi??) this has been a slow burn with ‘business’ adoption always the challenge (while IT users like me loved it).
Anyway, the genie is now firmly out of the bottle and all that video first and VOIP has hit the office with the Laptop & Mobile at the heart of it. When combined with new enthusiasm for flexible desk booking and the need to dive off to take a video call in private etc and you have a Wi-Fi perfect storm brewing:
- More staff than ever are now on a laptop
- The laptops increasingly are Wi-Fi only
- Switching between LAN and Wi-Fi often creates more problems than it solves
- Video is bandwidth-hungry
- Video / VOIP show up any latency or packet loss instantly to the end-user
- And… the office space is often being reconfigured
Wi-Fi feels like it is as much an art as a science sometimes. The way the technology has to deal with the available frequencies, the clients moving around, competing Wi-Fi changing all the time (think phone hotspots, new printers being added with Wi-Fi left on etc) and also RF noise all over the place and the fact it ever works at all is actually pretty amazing.
The challenge is simply staying on top of this as conditions change around the Wi-Fi. Network admins face it on a daily basis, and it is also one we face when dealing with it as a service for our customers.
Monitoring an environment like this is hard. Everything could be up and working exactly as designed, but the users are telling you the Wi-Fi is rubbish…
This often results in considerable back and forth to ‘recreate the problem’ etc. etc. as IT try to troubleshoot what’s going on, with a real possibility that the end result could be nothing to do with Wi-Fi anyway.
Every now and again a technology comes along that just does it better. Juniper Mist is one of those technologies for Wireless and Network… and the key reason why it’s better is that it actually monitors and measures every end user’s experience, all the time.
It tells you when there is a problem, keeps logs if a problem occurs, and even predicts that a problem is brewing. This is a massive step forward if you run a network. If you don’t believe me then take a look at the latest Gartner Magic Quadrant, or even have a look at our recent news about why one of our customers agree with me!
The shift to monitoring User Experience is now a crucial part of any technology implementation and doing it at the network level transforms the visibility and experience for everything!
Get in touch if you’d like to have a look into this further.