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Revamp Your Wi-Fi Strategy: Focus on Visibility

Learn how to increase visibility into your network for optimized performance and reliability

Ask employees in an office what the IT team is responsible for and you’ll get a variety of answers—but Wi-Fi is a common answer. That’s because its consistent use and performance are vital to everyone.

Every person relies on Wi-Fi to do their jobs, whether it’s the receptionist sending calendar invites or the product engineer developing and testing a new app. And they all expect IT to be on top of things, so their work isn’t interrupted.

But Wi-Fi management isn't a set-it-and-forget-it project. High-quality network performance requires ongoing strategy, maintenance, and development. This means that network visibility is crucial so that dedicated staff can successfully manage the network and provide security for everyone depending on them.

According to a 2019 study of over 250 large enterprises, 90% of executives and IT staff cited having insufficient visibility into network activity as a significant challenge. Without this visibility, there’s no way to get a full picture of what’s happening on the network, leaving it vulnerable to threats and weaknesses.

This could be due to a lack of monitoring tools, a lack of staff, outdated equipment, and a host of other issues many teams face. But that doesn’t make visibility any less important.

Here are some strategies businesses can employ to get a better handle on their network performance and revamp their Wi-Fi strategy:

Monitor performance from the end user’s perspective

Have you ever seen a commercial for a product and thought, “What were they thinking?” The person who produced that commercial probably thought it was a home run, but it just fell flat. The message didn’t resonate with consumers because their point of view wasn’t taken into account.

The same failure can apply to network performance. The overall strategy may seem foolproof from planning and IT perspectives, but end users may still be experiencing connectivity and performance issues. Being proactive and monitoring the end user’s experience will highlight shortcomings that you might otherwise not see, and allow network managers to tackle these issues head-on.

This means monitoring all end-user devices, from standard equipment to the range of IoT devices that enter the network boundary. Issues experienced here are detected early on, which means they can be fixed before they become a bigger headache down the road. These resolutions only add to the toolbox, improving overall network strategy.

End-user experience monitoring gets more important as the number of devices increases exponentially. Users now have phones, laptops, tablets, and multiple IoT devices online at once. Each piece of hardware interacts differently with the network and can provide a different perspective on performance.

Visualize your Wi-Fi coverage

Designing a Wi-Fi network should account for things like the number of users and devices, the construction of the space, and the desired application and usage. Assuming all of these factors are taken into consideration, the initial design and implementation should go relatively well and provide good coverage.

Standard monitoring tools will measure speed, connectivity, and bandwidth usage across the organization. But getting a complete visualization of your business’ Wi-Fi coverage and how it's impacting end-users is more difficult.

Heat maps that outline Wi-Fi visibility allows network managers to identify problems before they spread. These issues include dead zones, poor configurations, and outdated or insufficient hardware.

Use a quality wireless network monitoring service

With the increase in devices and evolving technology, traditional network-monitoring tools have a hard time keeping up with business needs. Monitoring needs to go beyond the organization’s infrastructure and address what’s happening at the endpoint.

An effective monitoring tool can identify dead zones or areas with slow performance. It can also alert managers to security threats or unwanted users on the network. Even if issues are minimal, monitoring can still point out areas for improvement associated with access points and signal strength.

It’s important to evaluate tools before committing because they are not all created equally. The right tool should not only improve Wi-Fi performance and reliability, but it should reduce the time involved to fix issues. It should also help IT, teams, to scale and plan for the future of their organization to continuously optimize network performance.

7SIGNAL’s monitoring tools

7SIGNAL takes a proactive approach to network monitoring. The Mobile Eye is a mobile sensor installed directly on end-users’ devices. The sensor tests performance in the background and reports back on the Wi-Fi experience.

The Sapphire Eye is a sensor that measures performance and connectivity from the access point to include latency, packet loss, success rates, and voice quality. All data is transferred to and stored in the cloud for easy access.

Achieving sufficient network visibility is a challenge across every industry. If you don’t expect to see an increase in budget or personnel any time soon, proactive network monitoring will put your organization in the best position possible to deal with network challenges.

7SIGNAL® is a leader in enterprise Wireless Network Monitoring. The 7SIGNAL platform is a cloud-based Wireless Network Monitoring (WNM) solution that continuously troubleshoots the wireless network for performance issues – maximizing network uptime, device connectivity, and network ROI. The platform was designed for the world’s most innovative organizations, educational institutions, hospitals, and government agencies and is currently deployed at Booz Allen Hamilton, IBM, Kaiser Permanente, Walgreens, Microsoft, and many others. 7SIGNAL continuously monitors the connectivity of over 4 million global devices. Learn more at www.7signal.com.