A key responsibility for IT is ensuring that employees have a good experience with the network and applications they use at work.
The trick is to have relevant information on hand so that if a complaint comes in—for example, the network is slow—IT isn’t starting from zero. An even better state of affairs would be to have the ability to anticipate and remediate issues before they have a significant impact on users.
That’s Nyansa’s goal. Its product, called Voyance, measures a user’s experience of network access and basic application performance by using mobile devices (laptops, tablets, smartphones) as the sensors. Voyance combines on-premises software with cloud-based analytics and reporting.
The Voyance software, which the company calls a crawler, gets installed on a virtual machine on the customer premises. The customer then configures its WLAN controllers (currently Aruba and Cisco are supported) to send SNMP data to the crawler. Customers can also configure closet and core switches to send packets to the crawler via SPAN or monitoring ports.
What’s Going On?
The on-premises software correlates and aggregates these inputs and extracts metrics from them. These metrics are then sent to Nyansa’s cloud to be analyzed. The company estimates that for every gigabit per second of traffic sent to the crawler, approximately 500 kilobits per second is sent to the cloud.
No packets are sent to the cloud, just the metrics. However, note that these metrics will include user names, and device IP and MAC addresses.
The Voyance service tracks and measures a device’s ability to connect to the wireless network via APs, and also monitors and measures the device’s interactions with key services such as RADIUS, DHCP, and DNS.
It will correlate the device type and OS with wireless and RF information, and statistics from the above-mentioned network services for each client transaction. Using this data, the system creates an overall performance baseline.
The upshot is that IT teams can get a clear picture of performance issues that can be tied directly back to a client device.
If a user complains that the network is slow, a help desk staffer or network admin can quickly see where the problem resides: Is it RF contention at an AP? Is a DNS server not responding? Did RADIUS authentication fail?
With this information in hand, IT can then better address the problem.
IT and network operations teams can also use long-term reporting to identify persistent problems on the network that may require changes or upgrades to address performance problems.
Customers can also compare their own performance baselines against industry averages in sectors such as healthcare, education, and retail.
Nyansa recently presented at Network Field Day 14. You can get more details about the company and its technology, use cases, and other information, in these videos.