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Analyzing Client Performance with 7SIGNAL

The 7SIGNAL platform can be used to analyze Wi-Fi connectivity issues at the client level, including those stemming from particular manufacturers, operating systems, adapter-driver combinations, etc.

In order to optimize Wi-Fi connectivity experiences for your users, you need to understand what’s happening at the client level. With the 7SIGNAL platform, you can zoom in on connectivity roadblocks by auditing device performance and identifying patterns across operating systems, adapter-driver combinations, manufacturers, and more. Then, you can take these insights and address them in a proactive fashion.

In this article, we touch on the various client monitoring features that come with the 7SIGNAL platform. Here’s what we cover in this blog post:

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Auditing Adapter-Driver Combinations

At the core of the 7SIGNAL platform provides the ability to reveal crucial data about the performance of your Wi-Fi environment. It provides insight into everything from access point placement to client-related issues. For example, on the client side of things, 7SIGNAL enables you to effectively pinpoint and address roaming issues by examining different wireless LAN adapter-driver combinations.

Take a look at the image below. It's a screenshot of the 7SIGNAL platform’s Client Adapters: Roaming Problems dashboard. This dashboard provides an overview of every client device that attempts to connect to your network, with insight into adapters, drivers, Wi-Fi quality scores, roaming insights, and more.

The information provided enables you to quickly scan for roaming issues as they occur. If anything appears out of the ordinary, you can dig a little deeper and address the problem before it becomes a chronic user experience issue.

Examining Individual Client Performance

To delve a little deeper, click the link labeled “(Show All Clients With Roaming Problems)” next to the dashboard’s title. Here’s what you should see:

With this dashboard, you’ll be able to distinguish whether roaming issues are common to particular platforms (Windows, Mac, etc), manufacturers (HP, Dell, Intel, etc), adapter-driver combinations, etc.

You can even determine the severity of the problem by hovering your cursor over the performance indicators in the Roaming column. As you can see below, you’ll be able to get a quick status update on SLA Achievement percentage for specific clients:

Just like the previous dashboard, this one makes it easy to scan for connectivity problems and identify the source of the issue.

Monitoring Device Types with Sapphire Eye

Alright, now let’s take a look at how you can use Sapphire Eye to monitor and analyze device types. First, here’s what the Sapphire Eye platform looks like:

In effect, Sapphire Eye enables you to compare the behavior of different devices within your network by sniffing packet captures associated with these devices. It enables you to single out certain client types and analyze things like retry rates, in-air performance, and other metrics using OUIs (organizationally unique identifiers) and MAC (Medium Access Control) addresses.

Let’s look at an example of how to use Sapphire Eye in the real world…

Example: Comparing Intel and Apple Devices

Let’s say you want to compare the performance of Intel devices and Apple devices over your network. With Sapphire Eye, you can run a report to compare their behavior in a given time frame.

In the example below, we adjusted the filters to home in on Intel devices. Moreover, we focused on connections that occurred over the last six hours, with 10-minute averages.

Each of the colored lines represents the signal level of a specific device over time. By hovering over the dots, you can see how the device performed in a particular moment. See here:

In this case, we found that the lowest performing Intel device received a signal strength of -70 dBm at 9:30 am on May 3rd, 2023. Not ideal, but it’s definitely an outlier among the Intel devices.

Now let’s look at Apple devices with the same parameters:

First off, you can see immediately that there are substantially more Apple devices (e.g. MacBooks, iPhones, etc.) accessing the network. In addition, if you look at the scale on the left-hand side of the chart, you’ll notice that it’s decreased. This is because there are Apple devices accessing the network with signal strengths of -75 and -76 dBm, significantly lower than the worst-performing Intel device. Incidentally, this accords with Apple’s own specifications, which aim to keep devices on access points at low signal strength until they decide to roam.

And there you have it. By using Sapphire Eye to compare the performance of devices by manufacturer, you can gain valuable insight into how these devices handle connectivity. Armed with this knowledge, you can fine-tune your network to cater to the unique needs of various devices, ensuring an exceptional user experience for all.

Hear It From Eric: 7 Minutes With 7SIGNAL

Eric Camulli, VP and Customer Success Officer at 7SIGNAL, covered the subject above in a recent segment on our weekly webinar. You can watch the full recording here:


Learn More From the 7SIGNAL Experts

We’re always here to answer your Wi-Fi questions at 7SIGNAL. Our enterprise Wi-Fi optimization platform helps you plan and execute a healthier network. Contact us to learn more.

7SIGNAL® is the leader in enterprise Wi-Fi optimization, providing insight into wireless networks and control over Wi-Fi performance so businesses and organizations can thrive. Our cloud-based platform continually tests and measures Wi-Fi performance at the edges of the network, enabling fast solutions to digital experience issues and stronger connections for mission-critical users, devices, and applications. Learn more at www.7signal.com.