Wireless Monitoring

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WiFi is everywhere

With the number of WiFi clients outpacing wired workstations, it is becoming a real challenge for network engineers and administrators to assure good performance and quality of service to wireless users. The problem exists across the board, but it is even bigger for enterprise environments like higher education, healthcare, or large public venues, like stadiums or shopping malls. As result, performance degradation of a WiFi network has a serious impact on business and mission critical operations.

WiFi users demand the same performance as wired ones

Compared to traditional wired networks, a wireless infrastructure has more moving parts that can impact the end user experience. When a performance issue affects the end-users, the engineer has to quickly understand if the problem is. However, how is it possible to tell if WiFi users are getting good performance?

With NetBeez, network engineers can rely on dedicated devices (WiFi beez) that simulate end-users on the network and get real-time performance data.

 

beez

The WiFi beez is a small form factor device (2.5” x 3.7” x 1.2”) that can connect to a wireless SSID. The NetBeez WiFi agent is dual-mode and supports 802.11abgn/ac networks.

 

The data from the NetBeez WiFi agent complements metrics from the wireless infrastructure with signal strength, noise level, and TX/RX traffic from wireless clients. This data will help determine the quality of the services offered to WiFi users, capturing the end-user experience. On the NetBeez dashboard the network engineer can review network analytics like:

Wireless metrics

  • Transmitted and received bits on the wireless interface
  • Signal strength and quality as detected by the wireless NIC
  • Associated channel number and BSSID
  • Bit rate established with the access point
wireless-monitoring-metrics

Screenshot of Link Quality, Signal Strength, and Bit Rate received in real-time from a WiFi beez.

Performance tests

  • PING
  • DNS
  • HTTP
  • Traceroute
  • Iperf
  • Internet Speedtest
  • Voice-over-IP Quality
Example of an automatic speedtest run by a WiFi beez.

Example of an automatic speedtest run by a WiFi beez.

Benefits of monitoring the wireless from the client’s perspective

To summarize, wireless networks require proper tools to be well managed and deliver service quality to its users. Monitoring the network from the end-user perspective means:

  • Review historical and real-time performance data from multiple areas of the network
  • Verify wireless service availability from the client perspective
  • Test SSID association
  • Test BSSID, channel, and frequency
  • Discover local broadcasting wireless networks

Do you want to learn more?

Schedule a product tour with one of our engineers:

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Read more about wireless monitoring

If you want to learn more read the paper on wireless monitoring from the client’s perspective as well as the following articles:

1: WiFi Monitoring Survey in Higher Education [ NetBeez blog post ]

2: Monitoring Wireless Networks from the Client’s Perspective [ NetBeez blog post ]

3: InteropNet Live: Behind the scenes with NetBeez [ InformationWeek ]

4: Four use cases for WiFi end user monitoring [ Packet Pushers ]

5: Turn your Raspberry Pi into a wireless monitoring sensor

6: Sensor-based WiFi monitoring [ NetBeez blog post ]