When your workers’ mobile devices disconnect from the Wi-Fi network or data streams slow to a crawl, you probably have multiple resources working as quickly as possible to diagnose the issue. The success of your workflows is contingent on the perfect, just-in-time execution of each step, meaning every second of downtime has the potential to cascade and lead to extensive operational delays.
Yet, troubleshooting Wi-Fi-related performance issues is a notoriously tedious process. Many of the current tools used to root out issues are fragmented, and it’s not always clear whether the issue lies with the device, access point or other network component. Many organizations utilize a mixed infrastructure design, so there’s no single dashboard interface providing visibility into the entire Wi-Fi system architecture. As a result, workers and IT teams can spend hours, days and, sometimes, even weeks running through diagnostic checklists, ruling out potential causes, to find the source.
To complicate things further, many Wi-Fi performance issues are difficult to replicate. If a worker reports an issue and it self-resolves before the IT team can get to that queued ticket, it may not be something that can be addressed until it happens again. Even if the source of the issue is clear, it’s quite possible that someone needs to be on site to fully troubleshoot and repair.
That’s why Zebra software engineers have been diligently working to strengthen our MobilityDNA capabilities specific to Wi-Fi. Zebra’s Android mobility solutions are used in production facilities, warehouses, retail stores, restaurants, hospitals, government buildings and hotels all around the world, and our customers choose Zebra solutions because of their reliability. However, there are a lot of variables that can impact a mobile computer’s performance – namely the performance of the wireless network to which it is connected.
Introducing Worry-Free Wi-Fi Edge Insights
Customers who rely on Wi-Fi to power data capture and distribution at the edge of the enterprise need a better way to manage those networks – and the devices dependent on them. So, we have been collaborating with a number of Wi-Fi access point vendors and other partners to ensure curated insights about Zebra’s Android devices are integrated into their Wi-Fi management dashboard. This new feature, which we call Worry-Free Wi-Fi Edge Insights, is designed to eliminate the ecosystem challenges that exist today and provide a collaborative multivendor Wi-Fi solution, as previously described.
It offers a holistic, live view of mobile device performance on the network in a single dashboard experience that can be accessed from anywhere. This is important given that, in today’s geographically dispersed operating environment, technical experts might be remoting in from across the country (or globe) to help walk users on the ground through the troubleshooting and resolution process.
Customers’ IT teams – or even partner support teams – can proactively monitor the health of their networks to identify early issues and help mitigate disruptive incidents. They can also pull up deep data and voice analytical insights for an entire fleet of Zebra devices in mere seconds, including:
- Roaming analysis – Determine why an issue occurred through visibility into a wide range of data, including access point handoff performance during roaming, network traffic, and general performance and health of the access points.
- Voice analysis – Combine roaming analysis with VoIP metrics data from automatically-detected VoIP Application Call traffic or test results of simulated voice packets to confirm the mean opinions score (MoS), packet loss, jitter, latency, and quality of the Wi-Fi link between the mobile device and any endpoint (among other factors).
The synthetic and passive monitoring of user devices via Zebra’s Worry-Free Wi-Fi Edge Insights service also saves packets going to and from Zebra devices for additional offline analysis. This includes packets no other on-device tool can see. And, unlike standard external over-the-air sniffers, you do not need multiple sniffing adapters for each channel.
In Other Words
This new service, which is part of the Zebra MobilityDNA suite, gives you real-time visibility into your entire Wi-Fi network from anywhere. You no longer have to dispatch anyone for a costly onsite visit to look into the issue or spend time or money engaging a Wi-Fi expert to interpret raw data every time. Nor do you have to worry about who is accountable for resolving the issue. The root cause can be quickly confirmed by the admin. Of course, you can still escalate to Zebra (if it’s a device issue), the access point manufacturer or another solution provider for additional support if needed. It just won’t be the default first step.
If you’d like to learn more about how Worry-Free Wi-Fi Edge Insights can help your organization more efficiently manage your Wi-Fi network, I encourage you to visit our website or contact your Zebra representative.