How IoT Devices Can Help to Gain Insight into Network Challenges

On April 19th, NetBeez was invited by the Connectivity and Infrastructure Working Group at NetHope to co-host a webinar! Myself (Alex Trader, an Account Manager at NetBeez) and our CEO and co-founder, Stefano Gridelli, presented a webinar on “Using IoT Devices to Gain Insight into Network Challenges”. The goal of the webinar was to educate attendees about the benefits of using IoT devices, like the Raspberry Pi, to verify connectivity and network performance over a distributed network.

NetHope Connectivity and Infrastructure Working Group

I originally connected with Duncan Drury, Co-Chair of NetHope’s Connectivity and Infrastructure Working Group, last November. Duncan was interested in learning more about NetBeez and in seeing how our solution was using hardware sensors (the Raspberry Pi in particular) to detect remote connectivity and network performance issues. For this reason, I offered him a trial period so he could test our dashboard himself with his own Raspberry Pi. In asking for his feedback on the trial, he told me how he appreciated the fact that he could easily push monitoring tests (via the dashboard) and immediately get real-time data from his sensor (something he was not able to achieve with SNMP based tools). Duncan thought that such solution would be very useful to many NetHope members that need to gain remote network information. For this reason, he suggested that we work together on a webinar.

If you are unfamiliar with NetHope, it’s a “consortium of American non-governmental organizations that specializes in improving IT connectivity among humanitarian organizations in developing countries and areas affected by disaster” (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/NetHope). Currently, NetHope members include fifty non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and nonprofits such as the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, Medecins Sans Frontieres, and the WWF International. Due to the nature of their mission, these organizations face many challenges every day to provide a reliable and well-performing network connection in more than 180 countries worldwide. Since many of these areas may have been recently affected by a natural disaster, or are just located in troubled regions, the option of using a low-cost hardware, like the Raspberry Pi, which only costs $35, is very attractive.

During the webinar, we gave a brief introduction of our company, reviewed the server-client architecture, and shared some use cases in which NetBeez has repeatedly proven its value; a few of which are as follows: remote office monitoring, WiFi performance monitoring, and end-user experience monitoring. In the last part of the webinar, we also went through a product tour of the dashboard. If you are interested, you can watch the recorded webinar video and/or download the webinar slides on NetHope’s website or watch the recording here!

Lastly, I’d like to personally thank Duncan, as well as other key members of the NetHope staff, such as Fredrik Winsnes, Senior Director of Global Programs, Madeleine Noe, Manager of Operations, and Seth Otto, Digital Communications Specialist, for putting together this webinar. It was a great opportunity for us to share our story and to get to know this incredible consortium of humanitarian organizations.