Anyone supporting a wireless network no matter how well it has been designed have heard something similar to the phrase “the WIFI sucks” and we all know quite often the WIFI is not to blame. Keith Parsons did a really good WIFI troubleshooting session at a number of conferences detailing how there are many other things that could be wrong that would be seen as a wireless issue
Now how do you manage to confirm it’s a wireless issue? Well you could have thousands of different systems (DHCP/ DNS/ etc) monitored by various dashboards but this only tells you that the system not working not what the client is seeing. Various vendors have their own monitoring systems either built into their cloud system or as a stand alone setup but what happens if you are running a network not really big enough to invest in one of these systems – think the local coffee shop.
I recently thanks to Jussi found a startup company called Kubicon who have a wireless sensor not too much bigger than a smart phone. The idea is you place these sensors close to where users would be accessing your WIFI and setup a bunch of tests to run.
The sensor then runs the number of tests against your wireless and reports back in a nice to use dashboard showing the health of the network in a nice easy to understand traffic light system – Green Good, Orange Minor Issues and red bad.
What I like about this system is that out of the box it can test various different wireless networks types – 802.1x authentication, PSK authentication and the dreaded captive portals. It then runs tests against KPIs for DHCP/ DNS as we all know a large number of issues are the DHCP pool has been exhausted, DNS doesn’t resolve URLs. Other things it can do is poll performance of various websites built in are ones like DropBox, Youtube but then you can add custom URLs to monitor various externally and internally hosted webpages.
As an FYI the reason a number of the test are showing outside the KPIs is I deliberately put the sensor in the worst position in my house to see what an issue test would look like.
Now the system is still in startup phase and there are a number of features I look forward to be implemented in the solutions are:
- Tenancies – so a manage service provider can manage multiple companies from a single login
- Dynamic Packet captures – so when something fails it captures a PCAP of it to review in greater detail
- WIFI Explorer integration as a sensor
- Custom website testing so not only does it test how long to load a page but it does things like how long to click some links, load a cart and process an order
- ServiceNow integration
But that being said the sensor is looking really good, and can defiantly aid you in finding the issues and alerting to you before you hear the dreaded words “the wifi sucks” and you having to reproduce the fault and physically go to site.
If you would like to learn more about the Kubicon Sensor: