“Is the WiFi Down?” Why This Question Matters More Than Ever
by October 4, 2016

Filed under: Network Performance Management

It happened gradually, but at some point WiFi networks moved from a nice-to-have bonus feature in the office to become a standard part of a business’s IT infrastructure. Now that mobile devices are such a critical part of work, WiFi is essential. It needs care and attention as other networks do.

Strong WiFi performance is also necessary in a business’s infrastructure. User tolerance for slow or down WiFi is extremely low. It’s an area ripe for complaints, even if it’s not always work-related activity happening on the wireless network. But meetings, conference calls and other daily tasks all depend on the WiFi network running at an acceptable speed.

And WiFi’s importance will likely keep growing. One prediction finds that by 2017, WiFi and mobile-connected devices will generate 68% of all internet traffic.

Of course, WiFi networks are now just one of many networks that IT is trying to keep a handle on. As IT and work become more distributed, network topologies have grown quickly, with the IT network team bearing the brunt of the back-end changes that growth brings. The network team used to manage just the on-premises network to connect data center apps and services to users. Now, their domain extends from the LAN to WAN connections, VPNs, cloud networks and WiFi. They’re all important to the business’s success.

Embrace the WiFi

If you’ve been trying to ignore your wireless network’s performance issues, you’ve probably found that doesn’t work so well. It’s time to bring WiFi networks into the fold to be addressed like the other important networks. Performance monitoring tools can and should see WiFi networks. Good monitoring that includes WiFi brings another nice benefit: Finger-pointing between app and network teams disappears.

One AppNeta customer, the Bon-Ton Stores, had a whole host of guest WiFi networks in its IT domain, without any visibility at all. These off-site guest networks formed a tech black hole of major proportions. The user complaints and service tickets piled up, until Bon-Ton’s network team implemented AppNeta and started to see the WiFi networks a lot more clearly. They can now see network performance from the end-user perspective, and see the full network from the central location through the WAN and the “last mile” to each retail location.

AppNeta’s technology measures network performance, including wireless performance, over the actual network paths. It performs end-to-end, active monitoring in a lightweight way to see over WiFi to local servers, as well as over the VPN and internet into web apps and cloud services. You can look at every app delivery path from start to finish to take any mystery out of what users are doing and how they’re experiencing any network. That’s especially useful with WiFi monitoring so IT can understand usage data and other metrics that can inform configuration or other changes to make overall performance better.