Wanted: 20-20 Vision into Mobile Networks


One of the IT manager’s most important jobs is to understand how well IT assets are performing. The mobile infrastructure is no different.

To ensure optimal user experiences and productivity, IT needs real-time visibility into how mobile devices, apps and networks are functioning. If a mobile app is misconfigured or out of compliance, automated systems should alert admins about it right away.  For troubleshooting, IT needs tools that let them quickly find and fix root causes of any performance slowdowns so they can eradicate them for good.

You can’t manage what you can’t see, and any network experience is only as strong as its weakest link. Yet in a mobile environment, you might not own all the assets involved (such as the cellular network or a cloud app). So troubleshooting the root cause of a degraded mobile experience can be tricky: how do you know where the problem lies if you don’t have end-to-end visibility?

If users are connected to your own enterprise-grade Wi-Fi networks, you’re in pretty good shape: Most IT groups have some solid Wi-Fi experience under their belts. Plus, the Wi-Fi network vendors provide sophisticated and automated RF management tools that allow wireless LANs to self-adjust to avoid interference and to prevent wireless access points from becoming overloaded. However adding new devices and upgrades in general can cause problems. Companies like Citrix are adept at foreseeing these issues before they become full-blown problems.

When users venture onto the cellular network, troubleshooting gets more difficult. Historically, the only folks able to see into that network have been the mobile network operators who own the mobile spectrum.

But in a BYOD world, it might not be sufficient to leave it up to the user to troubleshoot performance issues up with the carrier. After all, it’s in the best interests of the company to keep that user productive.

So managing network performance is a top of mind concerns when building out a mobility strategy, and some mobile WAN analysis tools are hitting the market to address it. At a minimum, a mobile enterprise needs tools that do the following:

  • Provide WAN optimization capabilities. This includes granular visibility into WAN traffic so that it can be prioritized according to importance and resource requirements.
  • Enhance the performance of applications. This is the task of application delivery controllers, which optimize very complex application environments.
  • Identify trouble spots. This includes alerting admins about any budding mobile app performance issues, such as response time and availability, before users encounter them; pinpointing where and what the issue is; is it a network, server or data center issue?
  • Deliver rich reports for fast issue resolution. This includes real-time root cause analysis and resolution.
  • Capture end-user experiences. This involves device monitoring to provide insights into what end-users are actually experiencing so you can determine the quality of the mobile experiences and learn what resources are being used.

If you can get these tools in an integrated fashion so you don’t have to view multiple displays and correlate raw data yourself, you are ahead of the game, given the complexity of today’s networks.

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