Good, consistent wireless performance is the expectation in all locations, including busy venues like airports, concert halls, and professional sports stadiums. Many users experience slow service when a large number of devices are trying to connect to the Wi-Fi. Network performance monitoring gives you the ability to glean valuable information from consumer usage trends, allowing you to anticipate system overloads and resolve issues before they arise.

Ongoing Fluctuations in Network Access

The demands on the system of a busy venue are highly varied over time. Early morning may only see a few people connected to the network, but in an hour, that could change to hundreds. This constant fluctuation leads to high volatility, making service unreliable.

Network usage is both a capacity and environmental issue. In regard to capacity, too many people trying to connect to the Wi-Fi can overwhelm the system, and for the environment, the system is only as strong as its weakest link. In that case, your equipment may need to be upgraded.

Wireless Coverage as Related to Business

Most modern businesses run their applications over Wi-Fi, including basic communications like email and other business critical functions. An organization’s level of productivity depends on the speed and consistency of your Wi-Fi; if your Wi-Fi is performing poorly, business operations are directly impacted. For example, airlines may not be able to check in passengers as quickly without Internet access, leading to massive delays and frustrated customers.

The Best Way to Monitor Network Performance

One of the best ways to monitor network performance in busy venues is by sampling the service during low usage periods and peak times. Try experiencing these situations from the user’s point of view–stream a video, send a text message, place a phone call… You will very quickly see how well your service is performing after those exercises.

Notably, tasks may respond differently during high traffic times depending on the amount of bandwidth required. Services with high bandwidth, such as video streaming, will be the first to lag.

A network monitoring system will give you insight into the quality of service over time, key performance indicators, as well as how the Wi-Fi responds during high traffic times. Based on those metrics, you could determine if you need to provide higher capacity for certain locations during different times of the day.

Avoid Catastrophe

Ultimately, you need to know how your network performs at moments of peak stress. Most tend to fail catastrophically, so it’s important to make sure that when you’re testing your network’s capacity, you’re at the upper limits so you can make the appropriate adjustments. Essentially, you’re looking to answer the question: is the service I’m providing sufficient, and if not, how do I improve it?

If you missed it, take a look at the best practices for monitoring network performance.