WiFi as a Service: What Managed Network Services are Included?
If you’re considering partnering with a company that provides managed network services—or you already have—what precisely would they be doing, and what kind of value would it bring to your business?
Modern business or enterprise-grade WiFi networks are complicated systems that require advanced WiFi designs that combine both hardware and software to support the ever-increasing amount of devices and cloud-based applications.
Some businesses, schools, or hospitals (who have the money, time, and specialized expertise on staff to properly manage this intricate puzzle) don’t require help from a third party.
However, businesses like these are the exception, not the rule.
At SecurEdge, we offer an all-in-one WiFi as a Service platform (managed wifi subscription) that includes managed network services.
Below we will work to dispel some of the mystery around managed network services and explain what exactly you’re getting (or should be getting) with these services, and why they are important.
Let’s look at the SecurEdge process behind our managed network services, comprised of the three Ms: Monitor, Manage, and Measure.
Once your network is up and running, we provide software that allows you to see your network coverage in real time and allows us to connect to each networking component we’ve deployed. Think of us like nosy detectives trying to understand the who, what, when, where, why, and how of your network.
- Network Monitoring — SecurEdge has built network monitoring tools that monitor your system 24/7 (the when) and can proactively alert you when equipment goes offline or threshold limitations are exceeded. In addition, the monitoring collects system performance data over time, allowing for insight into trend analysis. Without this insight (the what), it is difficult and most times impossible to chart your system’s performance and understand where it is having challenges and why.
- Devices — The monitoring that SecurEdge provides for your network also captures information about connected clients (the who). This information is invaluable for understanding the makeup of the devices on your network, how they are using the network, and what impact they have on it. This insight also helps with troubleshooting the connectivity issues that inevitably happen to these devices. Understanding where the connectivity issue is happening or why it is happening drastically reduces the troubleshooting time needed to resolve the issue. Without this insight, WiFi troubleshooting methods are scattershot, and end users get really frustrated, really quickly.
The right management process is proactive rather than reactive. We have found that many WiFi performance problems are actually preventable with the right software tools, and we’ve folded those tools into our management process to ensure a stable WiFi network.
- Network management — Whether you have one site or one hundred, our management service can oversee all of them. Network management is crucial to maintaining high performance and, as a result, user satisfaction. Our network management identifies system outages, works to correct them, and notifies the responsible parties for remediation. Network management also includes reviewing configurations and running firmware to ensure the network is up to date and performing the best it can.
We measure from two critical viewpoints: that of the network and of the end user. This helps us paint a complete picture of how your network is actually performing for your real-life customers, employees, and guests.
- Network based — WiFi Performance tests that are network based are important to establish a baseline and then regularly measure against it in an effort to ensure optimal performance. SecurEdge uses tools that track the performance of the network by measuring underlying network services and tracking how they affect client device experiences. By uncovering what services are lacking, we are better able to proactively identify sources of poor experience and work with our customers to fix these issues.
- Sensor based — While wifi tests that are network based are important, we realize that they can be a little biased. To provide a different perspective and round out the complete picture mentioned above, we recommend and use sensor-based performance tests to “fact check” what the network reports to us. The sensors we use for this imitate client device usage behaviors and run batteries of tests to show how the network is performing from the end-user viewpoint. We then correlate these results with what the network tests show to get the complete picture about your network performance.
A Supportive Relationship
At SecurEdge we often say that a wireless network is a living thing. Too often we see business leaders take a “set it and forget it” approach to their WiFi network installation, sometimes spending premium dollars on high-end WiFi equipment but failing to have a strategy in place for supporting their network on an ongoing basis.
Months or years later, they call us because their WiFi performance is lousy and their end users are not happy, and a quick assessment reveals why: they’ve treated their network as something that’s static, when really it’s dynamic.
Your WiFi network is always subject to changing variables: devices, users, applications, and the physical environment. So it’s critically important to adjust and optimize your network on an ongoing basis.
The SecurEdge WiFi platform realizes this, and that’s why managed network services are included as part of our subscription offering to our customers.
Not only do we offer it, but we communicate with our customers so they have insight into these ongoing support services and the information they yield. We provide weekly usage reports and monthly health checks to ensure customers are aware of the changes to their network and what adjustments we recommend to keep it purring along.
Having a trusted partner to oversee your wireless network and provide ongoing support is a key part of a successful WiFi strategy. If you were to pull back the curtain on your current or future wireless partner’s managed network services, what would you see? And how would it stack up against the SecurEdge process?
Dana Adams blogs regularly for SecurEdge and other tech companies. She believes technology should serve people, not the other way around. When she's not blogging, you'll find her enjoying the outdoors with her family and two rescue dogs.