Stay ahead of the game with network user experience monitoring – Q&A with Softsource Chief Technology Officer, David Small

Stay ahead of the game with network user experience monitoring – Q&A with Softsource Chief Technology Officer, David Small

The advantage of user experience monitoring

There are plenty of things that can go wrong within a network, particularly when it comes to wireless connections. To help organisations get to the bottom of these issues, Aruba has developed the Aruba User Experience Insight (UXI) sensor and dashboard for testing Wi-Fi connections from a user’s perspective.

To help us understand how this solution works, and what the benefits are for network administrators, we spoke to Softsource’s Chief Technology Officer, David Small to ask him a few questions.

Why is it so important to understand what’s happening from a user’s perspective?

The network is the backbone of all our technology today, if we do not understand what our customer/user’s experience is, how do you know if your service is working? There’s never any shortage of finger pointing that goes on when people can’t connect to the network, the business applications run slow or internet access speeds are poor. Is it the software they’re running, or the device, or the cloud service, or the network? It could be all of these factors at once.

As an IT person, it can often be difficult to get this level of clarity. We can understand what’s going on at the network level and where traffic is moving, but this doesn’t always help us to understand why the end user experience is poor.

What is the worst-case scenario of not having visibility across the user experience?

In short, lower productivity. If people can’t use the applications or systems they need to get their work done they waste valuable time trying to either connect, attempt to troubleshoot connections or worse still, just tolerate the poor performance.

They also expose themselves and the organisation to unseen risks by using other less secure connections out of desperation. We have seen many people simply resorting to using mobile hotspots or public WIFI.

The other result is that employees lose confidence in the IT team, the network, and generally the organisation itself. This lack of confidence leads to increased use of shadow IT as people seek their own workarounds to simply stay productive.

What does the Aruba UXI tool show us?

The UXI solution enables any IT team to proactively simulate their real-world user experiences. They can install the tool to continuously monitor network connectivity and the performance of wireless and wired connections in critical, high-value locations.

Customisable test scripts and easy to deploy sensors then create application and network insights for any vendor-agnostic wireless and wired network that is dealing with an influx of user devices. The sensor is placed at the same height that user’s devices are placed, to continuously run simulated tests over wireless or wired connections for:

  • LAN and WLAN connectivity
  • DHCP
  • DNS
  • Authentication
  • Captive portal response
  • Cloud and internal applications

 

Once they have the data, what can organisations leverage from it?

It enables them to accurately determine where their issues actually lie. They can target their efforts and investments on upgrading the network. Examples like updating naming services may resolve poor performance when accessing cloud/SaaS applications.

The intuitive monthly reports provide detailed understanding of how the network is being consumed by users. This enables planning of network capacity over the long term that leads to cost-efficient upgrades when it is required.

Armed with real data, the IT Team can use the UXI reports to explain to end users where the problem lies for their experience. This improves confidence in network administrators, and the network as a whole.

What is the ideal network solution for improving end user experience?

The HPE Aruba range provides a secure, flexible and cost-effective service delivered under a consumption base as a service model from Softsource.

This Network as a Service (NaaS) solution enables our clients to free themselves from solving avoidable network issues for a simple monthly fee. We believe this is the ideal way for organisations to solve their network capacity planning issues while removing the headaches of network management and enabling IT teams to focus on more value-added tasks.

Contact Softsource today to get a free one-month trial of Aruba’s User Experience Insight (UXI) sensor. You can discover the inner workings of your network from your user’s perspective and begin planning the network investments that will improve productivity and engagement across your organisation.

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