The most important resource in a workplace today is the Wi-Fi. From something that was nice to have, Wi-Fi has graduated to the status of critical asset. The quality of an enterprise Wi-Fi network is synonymous with the digital experience of the customers. But modern Wi-Fi networks despite all the advancements in the field of mobility, have good days and bad days and that frequently affect the business outcome. At the recent Mobility Field Day event in Silicon Valley, 7SIGNAL returned to showcase their network monitoring platform and its constituent solutions that help mitigate connectivity issues by monitoring the Wi-fi network from client perspective.
Companies Often Struggle to Provide Employees Reliable Wi-Fi Connections
Nothing brings a workplace to a stop like bad Wi-Fi. On the client-side, a lot of issues can happen that can bring down the overall Wi-Fi performance. The source of the problem can be anything from poorly configured or defunct endpoint devices to drivers and adapters with backdated versions. Commonly encountered problems include poor roaming, bad coverage, network service issues, Wi-Fi and non-Wi-fi disruptions and WLAN design flaws.
These are not problems unique to poorly designed infrastructures alone. They can happen with perfectly built ones too. And these problems aside, routine Wi-Fi disruptions can also happen on account of the general decline in network quality happening over the network lifecycle. Irrespective of the reasons or the issues, low-performing Wi-Fi can potentially reduce workplace productivity and the quality of digital experience.
Founded in 2007, 7SIGNAL is a network monitoring company headquartered in Cleveland, Ohio. 7SIGNAL was born in Finland and in 2012, the company set up its first US base in Ohio. Since then, it has expanded its footprints globally, entering markets like southern Europe and India. The 7SIGNAL platform today has real world varied use cases in sectors like retail, healthcare, manufacturing and distribution.
7SIGNAL’s network monitoring solutions are built with the purpose of enhancing network observability and maintaining availability of mission-critical applications and devices. As of today, 7SIGNAL has two patented solutions, namely Mobile Eye and Sapphire Eye that together make the 7SIGNAL platform. Sapphire Eye is its proprietary line of Wi-Fi appliances and Mobile Eye is a SaaS application designed to monitor performance in mobile devices.
Since 2013, the year they last appeared on Tech Field Day, 7SIGNAL has moved from on-premises to a cloud service model with Sapphire Eye, and now with remote work a staple in the way companies are organizing their workforces, it is furthering the movement of mission-critical Wi-fi.
Looking into the Network from the Clients’ POV
7SIGNAL approaches Wi-Fi monitoring a bit differently than others. Simon Renouf, VP of Product Services and Support explains, “We’re different from other monitoring tools as we monitor from the clients’ perspective in the network. We are an outside-in solution and our sensor products in Sapphire Eye and software products in Mobile Eye sit on the outside of the network and monitor it from the clients’ perspective that gives us the ability to really see what’s going on in the Wi-Fi network as well as to test end-to-end performance and correlate those things.”
Mobile Eye, a lightweight network performance monitoring agent sits inside network devices and delivers visibility into all wireless IoT and mobile devices, regardless of where they are or if they are static or moving. Sapphire Eye is a high-performance wireless sensor that does L1/L2 environmental and active testing to monitor client experience 24/7.
Outside-In Network Monitoring with 7SIGNAL
On July 14th at Mobility Field Day event in Silicon Valley, 7SIGNAL introduced its twin solutions. Renouf opened the presentation by giving a high-level overview of the company and their current market position. He was joined by Jim Barter, Chief Wireless Office, 7SIGNAL in the later presentations where they showed the use cases.
The 7SIGNAL platform does what a lot of the monitoring tools available with the vendors or app performance monitoring tools don’t do. Most solutions perform either of the two – monitor the infrastructure or monitor the applications over Wi-Fi. What they often miss is looking at Layer 1 and Layer 2 environments and analyze the connectivity. The 7SIGNAL platform closes that network visibility gap with outside-in monitoring.
7SIGNAL does two types of monitoring- Passive and Active. The scope of passive monitoring includes investigating the versions of drivers and adapters, Wi-Fi scans, operating systems, spectral and packet capture analysis and such. Active monitoring is included in both Mobile Eye and Sapphire Eye. This involves testing association, connectivity, traffic, packet loss, throughput, voice quality and web downloads. Combined, this data brings about a holistic visibility into the user experience.
The software-only Mobile Eye is very light and completely non-intrusive. It can run in the background without causing any jitters. It automates root cause analysis and delivers visibility into remote workforce by monitoring devices both remote and mobile. It comes in flexible licensing. The Sapphire One has easy ceiling mounted installation, is vendor-agnostic and performs over-the-air testing which includes a wide range of devices including embedded antennas.
In the BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) era, using a tool that can monitor the network not from the inside, but outside-in from the perspective of the clients is not optional, but an absolute essential. It’s a digital wildness out there, and understanding the Wi-Fi network and its complex ecosystem is key to delivering an experience that people enjoy. 7SIGNAL offers complete visibility critical to gaining that understanding but from the valuable end users’ point of view.