Wireless networking monitoring (WNM) helps you answer important questions about how your network is functioning and performing. Without it, end users may experience problems before they can be addressed by IT managers. Coverage may be spotty because of access point placement or interference. And data, even if collected, won’t be analyzed in accessible ways to help future strategy.
So, what is WNM and how can it be implemented in a successful way? What follows is an overview of how wireless network monitoring works, and tips for getting it done the most effective way possible.
What is wireless network monitoring?
WNM consists of tools and strategies that allow network managers to be alerted of performance problems. It’s a proactive approach to Wi-Fi management that provides information about an issue before it escalates and is experienced by the end-user.
WNM tracks and addresses network aspects like:
- Access point placement to ensure adequate coverage
- Client throughput
- Connection and data rates
- Packet latency
- Voice quality
- Signal strength
- RF interference
All aspects of the network are monitored continuously, whether they are devices like smartphones and laptops or access points and routers.
Wireless network monitoring is especially important for complex network environments, such as university campuses, large retail complexes, or hospital systems, where there are hundreds of devices trying to receive a high-quality connection. With all of these unique users and devices, it’s easy for a Wi-Fi network to become clogged and slow.
When these devices are constantly being monitored, however, downtime and outages are often avoided altogether. Here are tips to successfully conduct WNM for your organization:
1. Know your facility
It’s a good idea to obtain a map of the facility, if possible, to better understand what you’re working with. This will show you where there are walls and walkways or anything else that could get in the way of Wi-Fi’s ability to work properly.
You’ll be able to plan out exactly where access points should go, and you’ll have a better idea of how large or small common spaces are, where there will be many users trying to connect at once. This is a crucial aspect of monitoring—being aware of the space and using it in the most effective way.
2. Place access points adequately
Another crucial factor for adequate WNM is access point placement. Make sure that access point placement is based on where the network will be used the most, such as high-traffic areas. And make sure that access points are mounted according to the manufacturer’s instructions. This will ensure that they’re working as they were meant to work.
3. Document and analyze
Develop a system for recording information and analyzing the data that’s being gathered. For instance, record how much bandwidth is being used by the network as a whole as well as in specific areas to strategize and plan for the future. This helps you to monitor the capacity of the network and add more access points and other tools when necessary.
Without a system in place for analyzing data and incorporating it into network plans, gathering and monitoring won’t do you much good in the long run.
4. Monitor the client experience
While it’s, of course, important and necessary to track the network infrastructure, it’s just as vital to monitor the end-user experience. Doing so allows network managers to make decisions based on facts while gaining visibility into the actual impact of any changes they’re making.
5. Use the right tools
Monitoring efforts will go nowhere if you aren’t using the right tools. At 7SIGNAL, our measurement tools help you achieve consistent and high-performing coverage. The benefits of our Eye devices and WNM services include:
- 50 to 100 percent baseline network performance improvement
- Reduce troubleshooting by 80 to 90 percent
- Monitor the client experience, not just the network infrastructure
- Respond to issues before users complain
- Less service disruption
- Reduced operational costs
- Real-time data access
- Analytics that will nail down problem areas and improve performance
- Historical performance reports
7SIGNAL provides the right tools to empower your WNM efforts, giving you the consistent, high-quality coverage that your organization depends on.