3 min read

[Customer Story] Wi-Fi User Experience Testing Solves Problems Faster Than Network Monitoring

 

Most businesses experience issues with their Wi-Fi network connectivity at one time or another. Employees and IT teams accept intermittent Wi-Fi performance as “business as usual” due to the challenges in identifying and fixing the root cause of an issue. As wireless networks become increasingly complex from adding more connected devices, new demands from remote or global workforces, or updated standards like Wi-Fi 6 or 7, so do the challenges in providing a good user experience for a company’s day-to-day operations.

One of Technium’s customers, a growth-phase bioscience start-up with multiple office sites and a need for advanced computing capabilities, experienced ongoing, bothersome Wi-Fi network issues at one of their sites. While their business offering may be unique, their Wi-Fi network challenges are quite common.

Challenge:

Intermittent Wi-Fi network performance issues were experienced and reported by users multiple times over a few months. These issues were at an office location that housed a highly sensitive lab and most of the executive team, making poor network performance highly impactful.

The IT Team traveled to the site on multiple occasions to replicate and identify the issue but found it challenging to identify the route cause.

Did you know that Gartner estimates that network downtime could cost a company $300k per hour on average?

Solution:

This customer recently decided to try Technium’s Wi-Fi Assurance service to help improve stability and increase visibility into Wi-Fi issues. After hearing of the ongoing issues at this lab location site, a Wi-Fi Assurance device was sent to the location to see if they could identify the source of the issue.

Result:

Once the sensor was put in place the data quickly illustrated the following:

  • Drastic performance fluctuations throughout the day
  • Bad latency results
  • The root cause was specific to the Wi-Fi connection as all wired equivalent tests were operating within normal parameters.

Upon further investigation, the Technium team identified the root cause of the issue:

  • Air-time utilization was often at 100% leaving no room for Wi-Fi traffic
  • Issues were caused by spectrum interference (non-Wi-Fi transmitters)
  • Network and Wi-Fi infrastructure tools and monitoring were not alerting the issue correctly

The Technium team made the recommendation to move the APs off the impacted channels to alleviate the spectrum interference and improve the user experience, without requiring a site visit and travel by the team to fix. Continuous testing with the Wi-Fi Assurance device proved that the changes had resolved the issue. This fix illustrated how ongoing monitoring and management of the Wi-Fi network could have saved time and resources that could have been redirected to more business-critical tasks.

The bioscience customer wondered why their existing cloud infrastructure tools didn’t identify this issue as they expected it might. The simple answer is one of perspective, Wi-Fi, and all network infrastructure, looks at connectivity from the infrastructure’s point of view. In this case, the network infrastructure was not experiencing connectivity problems and it perceived the client connections to be healthy as they were not losing connection to the Wi-Fi. When User Experience testing was performed from a client-equivalent device, the result was entirely different, and a severe issue was identified and solved in a few hours.

While manufacturers of Wi-Fi network hardware indicate they have visibility into all wireless issues without the need for 3rd party tools, without an external audit or ongoing monitoring it is challenging to fully understand what is happening within the network. With each generation of Wi-Fi, visibility into the network improves however, this case illustrates an example of when manufacturers cannot accurately monitor the Wi-Fi. Today’s wireless networks work hard and the demands on them are dynamic and changing every day, so a good user experience depends on ongoing, proactive monitoring to ensure optimal performance.

 

The Technium Difference:

Technium has partnered with our customers for over 20 years to understand their business needs and network infrastructure to provide a holistic view of how the network is functioning regardless of the hardware or software the company is using. By combining Artificial Intelligence from data collected across hundreds of networks, with Human Intelligence, Technium is able to understand the nuances of a network's configuration, capture comprehensive data, and make ongoing adjustments to optimize network performance.

Want to speak with one of Technium’s Wi-Fi and cloud network experts? Let us know and we’d be happy to schedule a time to discuss.

 

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About Ben Russell: As a self-proclaimed "Wi-Fi Nerd" Ben Russell's passion is to help organizations reach their full potential with optimized Wi-Fi. In his 20-year career, he has designed and built thousands of enterprise networks, outdoor metropolitan Wi-Fi networks that serve hundreds of thousands of users daily, designed large public venues with challenges of thousands of fans simultaneously uploading a half-time show, and helped dozens of schools achieve live virtual instruction for all students in 2020, including those without internet access at home.