The Challenges of Wireless Monitoring
As an IT manager, you’ve seen wireless networks quickly evolve from a convenience offered to employees to a mission-critical component of your IT infrastructures. Wireless users now expect comparable performance and availability to wired networks. With BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) and more people expecting to use their wireless devices at work, getting control of and being able to ensure the performance and security of your wireless network has become a key challenge.
Organizations enjoy the flexibility of wireless network access; however it poses a host of challenges for network managers. Most managers lack the tools and visibility to effectively monitor their wireless networks, much less make informed planning decisions and proactively manage their performance.
Wireless Network Performance
Monitoring wireless performance is more complex than wired networks. The range of wireless access points (APs) can be affected by a number of issues, including building materials. As more users connect to a wireless access point and it is oversubscribed, performance begins to degrade. And as APs age, their performance begins to decline.
Impact of wireless devices on core network
Once a wireless user connects to an AP, they use bandwidth and resources on your core network. More wireless clients, with all of the email sync-ups and Facebook updates, begin to saturate resources and clog Internet connections. Understanding wireless network usage is important for capacity planning of your wired infrastructure.
Wireless networks are particularly vulnerable to security issues, such as those introduced by rogue devices. A common problem is an employee plugging their own AP into your network. The rogue access point bypasses your wireless security policies, possibly without encryption or requiring a password. Someone with more malicious intent can put an AP within range of your office, hoping a wireless client inadvertently connects with it so they might get a password or access sensitive data.
WhatsUp Gold’s Integrated Wireless Infrastructure Management Solution
WhatsUp Gold Premium Edition addresses these challenges with vendor-agnostic wireless monitoring and management that is fully integrated into its IT management solution. WhatsUp Gold allows you to monitor your wireless infrastructure performance historically and in real-time, track wireless access point (AP) and client history and alerts you to problems with wireless equipment.
- Discover, map and manage all wireless equipment and devices for your Cisco or Aruba wireless networks
- Improve the performance of your wireless network by reporting on key metrics including bandwidth consumption, client count, rogue count, RSSI* data, CPU utilization and memory utilization
- Get alerted in real-time when thresholds are breached for metrics such as wireless access point oversubscription, CPU and client bandwidth
- Keep your network secure and be alerted in real-time of rogue wireless access points
- Quickly isolate client issues with accurate maps of client locations and network paths
- Pinpoint the source of connectivity issues using wireless metrics such as Signal-to-Noise ratio
- Investigate unusual client bandwidth consumption both in real-time and via historical data
- Enforce wireless device restrictions by determining exact device counts per user
Real-time and Historical Wireless Monitoring
WhatsUp Gold keeps you in control of your wireless network with real-time maps of who is connected to your network and where. You have the ability to manage and exclude wireless devices identified as possible rogues. Performance data is stored historically so you can go back to a specific point in time to troubleshoot a problem. View performance over time to optimize your wireless configuration by using client signal strength to determine where you need more wireless APs, if a wall may be limiting an AP’s range or if equipment is functioning properly. The historical data is invaluable for capacity planning and optimization of your wireless and core networks.
All wireless monitoring alerts are integrated into WhatsUp Gold’s Alert Center. You have one location to set up thresholds, configure notification policies and monitor events across your entire IT infrastructure. Within Alert Center, you have a number of user-configurable alert thresholds for wireless devices:
- Wireless Access Point Over Subscription, RSSI*
- Wireless Banned Client MAC Addresses
- Wireless Client Bandwidth
- Wireless CPU, Excessive Rogues, Memory
- Wireless Rogue Access Point, MAC Addresses, Hidden SSID, Specific SSID, Unknown
WhatsUp Gold and Flow Monitor
WhatsUp Gold can tell you who’s on your wireless network, where they are connected and how much bandwidth they’re using. By adding the WhatsUp Gold Flow Monitor plug-in, you can also see what they are doing. Whether you need better visibility into the traffic on your network, want to police high-bandwidth users or are interested in monitoring for suspicious activities on your network, Flow Monitor adds a powerful dimension to WhatsUp Gold’s wireless monitoring capabilities.
* Received Signal Strength Indicator