International language education leader adopts system to manage Wi-Fi user experience
7signal, the Wi-Fi Performance Company, today announced that EF Education First, the world leader in international language education is adopting 7signal’s Wi-Fi performance management system to manage the Wi-Fi user experience at its regional centers, classrooms and campuses around the world. EF Education First (EF) has been a pioneer in language training and educational travel since 1965, when founder Bertil Hult escorted a group of Swedish high school students to the UK to learn English during their summer holiday. Fifty years later, the organization serves hundreds of thousands of students and teachers annually.
EF students, teachers and 40,000 staff depend on Wi-Fi daily. But, in recent years, along with rising demands, several locations have run into frustrating, sometimes persistent Wi-Fi performance problems such as connection issues, unreliable roaming, and low throughput. “Troubleshooting intermittent Wi-Fi issues remotely is very time consuming, and not always successful. Sometimes we can fix a problem only to have it reappear weeks later, other times we just can’t crack it [without dispatching an engineer with an analyzer]” says Ashar Niazi, EF’s Network Architect for the Global IT Team, whose role it is to set standards and support the global IT infrastructure. The Global IT team based in London, UK felt that they had exhausted all options, and were often frustrated because traditional network management tools lack visibility of the user experience. So they investigated using 7signal as a better alternative. “The system is the only solution we have found that gives us an accurate measure of the client view” Niazi notes.
EF needed a solution that was both practical and cost-effective for a wide range of different sized locations – anything from a one-room classroom in a Beijing shopping mall to a New York campus for 2,000 students. In addition to fixed sensors for medium and large sites, the recently announced Mobile Eye App provides a software only solution for small sites that is fast and easy to deploy. The app will enable Global IT to capture Wi-Fi performance directly from users’ iOS and Android mobile devices, and for anyone to perform ondemand troubleshooting from the actual device they are using.
Because the system performs its tests from a client’s perspective, it is network vendor agnostic, so it doesn’t matter whose WLAN equipment or whether a cloud or controller-based solution is used at each location. EF can freely mix and match WLAN vendors and topologies globally to best suit the needs of each location, while still being able to centrally manage the Wi-Fi user experience against Service Level Agreements.
So far Global IT has deployed four Sapphire Eye Wi-Fi performance sensors to monitor the WLAN in their London office. “One by one, we are clearing through the backlog of unresolved issues on this network, and we are charting every improvement based on the Wi-Fi performance data we get from the system.” Niazi explains.
They will use this showcase to demonstrate the effectiveness of the solution to the business units they support, so they can decide how extensively and when to roll it out to the locations under their control. EF has a long history of leveraging technology to deliver the highest levels of language education worldwide. “Preserving the reliability and performance of Wi-Fi is now critical to our success. This new ability, to monitor the user experience against the Key Performance Indicators we most care about, allows us to manage the networks proactively and resolve issues before they impact the Wi-Fi user experience for our students, teachers and staff.” Niazi concludes.
7signal develops cloud-based Wi-Fi performance management software that enables enterprises and service providers to manage the Wi-Fi user experience on their networks, against Wi-Fi performance Service Level Agreements. 7signal sensors and mobile agents collect Wi-Fi performance data across the enterprise and the analytics engine presents the data as Key Performance Indicators in a browser dashboard, giving network administrators immediate visibility of Wi-Fi health and performance, enterprisewide. The system enables businesses to significantly improve Wi-Fi baseline performance without adding access points, reduce troubleshooting 80-90%, and lower the total cost of ownership of maintaining reliable, high performance WLANs.
Established in 1965 with the mission to open the world through education, EF Education First (EF) is the world’s leading international education company. EF has helped millions of students learn a new language and travel abroad. With a network of 500 schools and offices worldwide, EF specializes in language training, educational travel, academic degrees, and cultural exchange programs. EF publishes the annual EF English Proficiency Index, which measures the English ability of adults in countries across the world. EF recently released the EF Standard English Test , the world’s first free standardized English test.