7signal | The Wi-Fi Performance Company

Find Wi-Fi Device Performance ‘Hidden Gems’ with 7signal’s New Report Builder™ Module

by Eric Camulli
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According to our customer base comprising of over 150 hospitals, universities and enterprises, 80% of WLAN issues reported to the IT Help Desk are due to Wi-Fi device performance problems. Meaning, the network looks fine, it’s your device. It’s frustrating to the Help Desk because handheld devices, whether they be smartphones, tablets or laptops feel outside of your control. In a BYOD environment, this fact cannot be any more true.  It’s equally frustrating if you are an end-user, desperately seeking connectivity or greater throughput in order to serve customers.   If you too are tormented by Wi-Fi device performance issues, and need a way to see and track how different devices with different configurations in different locations perform differently…then keep reading.

No one is imagining Wi-Fi connectivity or poor throughput problems. I assure you the problems reported are real. But where’s the proof?  When the access points show ‘green’ and corporate Wi-Fi client performance hidden gemsbandwidth looks fine, then the problem is concealed and the finger pointing begins. However, our customers have revealed hidden gems inside our new Report Builder that point directly to client device performance issues, and not coworkers, routers or switches.  Issues relating to:

  • Device software and hardware versions
  • Device location and signal strength
  • Device roaming

When Mobile Eye runs on client devices, it discretely gathers configuration data, SSID or GPS location data and active test results in the background.  This occurs  periodically throughout the course of the day, with negligible impact on battery life and without any user intervention.  The advantage to this proactive approach is the ability to crowdsource Wi-Fi device performance data from thousands of Wi-Fi clients from all four corners of your network.

Think of 7signal’s new Report Builder like a pivot table for Wi-Fi client performance data, where you have the ability to slice-and-dice the data in a myriad of ways to reveal hidden Wi-Fi performance insights. Below is a simple report demonstrating the difference between iOS and Android device performance on the same network. Here, you can clearly see out-of-the-gate the deficit in Android performance.

android v ios wifi performance

Using Report Builder, it’s easy to identify the Android devices having the most trouble on the network.  In looking at the Throughput metric below, clearly, the Asus Nexus 7 and HTC Desire fall short. When users who own these devices call, you can report back to them the evidence that shows how certain devices perform better than others on the network due to hardware and software differences.

android-model-performance

This next example of Report Builder in-action demonstrates the ability to zero-in on a particular user’s device and identify all of the networks and access points he or she has connected to throughout the day or week. This is particularly useful in identifying roaming issues. Often times, a user will report a Wi-Fi performance issue and not even know that their device has “stuck” to the guest network.  As a result, the blame for slow Wi-Fi device performance is misdirected.

individual wi-fi device performance

Finally, I can zero-in on a particular access point and identify the Wi-Fi performance of all the devices connected to it. You can see from Report Builder below that Veli-Pekka Ketonen’s Asus Nexus 7 is having an issue where no other device is.

wifi device performance

The possibilities are endless and that’s the point of Report Builder. But to help our customers, we’ll be building the best most valuable reports for them and these reports will be saved in a Favorites folder.  Without insight brought to light from the crowdsourcing of Wi-Fi device performance data, frustration brews due to a lack of visibility and culpability.  A customer recently said to us, “When someone calls and complains about the Wi-Fi, we ask them about five or six different questions to try and identify the issue. Unfortunately, they usually get most of the answers wrong and a wild-goose-chase ensues.”  What kinds of questions are we talking about?

  1. Where exactly were you when you had Wi-Fi issues?
  2. When exactly did this happen?
  3. What precisely do you mean by, “The Wi-Fi sucks”?
  4. What kind of device do you have?
  5. What version of software is on the device?
  6. What network were you connected to?

7signal’s EyeQ with Report Builder can answer all these questions.

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