Managing Campus Wi-Fi Like a Strategic Asset
January 6, 2015
We are pleased to announce that 7signal has been featured as one of CIOReview’s 20 Most Promising Campus Tech Solution Providers. I was interviewed by CIOReview’s editors and below is the resulting article that they recently published. You can also link to the published article and read it on their website here on page 18.
Wi-Fi has moved from being nice to being a must-have in a campus environment. With scores of laptops, tablets, smartphones and gaming consoles filling every dormitory, lecture hall and student union, the Wi-Fi network has reached a mission critical status. Students and faculty depend on Wi-Fi every day to co-ordinate, teach and learn, and they grow increasingly frustrated in the case of network delays or slow throughput. “IT professionals waste time and energy chasing down these issues all over campus. The usual set of WLAN troubleshooting tools may help isolate and fix issues on a particular day, but do nothing to assure, track and proactively monitor the quality of the Wi-Fi experience for students and faculty,” says Jeff Reedy, President and CEO, 7signal. This is where 7signal steps in. The company provides a Wi-Fi performance management system that assures Wi-Fi services so that the campus WLAN can meet all the needs of students and teachers.
The 7signal Sapphire system includes a set of patented sensors called Sapphire Eyes that connect to the network like wireless clients and perform continuous Wi-Fi experience testing from the clients’ point of view. Wi-Fi analytics software included with the system continually benchmarks the data collected against targets for acceptable Wi-Fi performance to quickly identify where students and faculty may be having a poor Wi-Fi experience. In addition, the software provides a list of WLAN action items for improving the performance of the Wi-Fi network. “As a permanent system you put in place, Sapphire keeps close watch through continuous testing and alerts network administrators when there are any changes to the Wi-Fi experience, before students and faculty raise a complaint,” states Reedy.
Unlike other WLAN monitoring systems that measure performance from the central controller out to the clients, 7signal designed their Sapphire system from the outside-in, with the end-user experience at the center. “Our user experience testing simulates real-world Wi-Fi network usage in the form of 24×7 HTTP, FTP, SIP, voice over IP and URL testing,” remarks Reedy. Through this continuous testing, 7signal experiences the true performance of the network from end to end, just like a client would, and measures throughput as well as the latency and jitter that cause poor VoIP system call quality.
7signal has helped many universities proactively manage campus Wi-Fi services amidst limited technical resources and constrained budgets. The University of Northern Iowa (UNI), one of the company’s clients, had only one network engineer and hence it was difficult to manage, monitor and troubleshoot transient Wi-Fi issues. Many times, the undiagnosed problems left high density areas with chronically poor signals. UNI implemented 7signal’s Wi-Fi Performance Management System to capture the real-time data to address Wi-Fi performance and connectivity problems. The solution relieved the pressure on UNI’s wireless network engineer to troubleshoot problems as they occur. Adding to it, UNI has also been able to address performance and connectivity issues campus-wide and take steps to ensure that its infrastructure will be capable of supporting growing numbers of users and devices.
You can download the University of Northern Iowa case study by clicking below.
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Besides the Education sector, the company’s offerings are equally sought after by other market verticals including hospitals, distribution centers and other enterprises. To facilitate sales, 7signal has introduced the Sapphire Cloud, which removes the need to install and manage servers on client premises. “Our cloud services centralize Wi-Fi performance management. This is an excellent solution for organizations with many locations who need visibility into remote wireless networks,” concludes Reedy.