The Next Generation of Network Analytics: Client-Side Network Monitoring Tools

Network inefficiencies and outages can cost enterprises hundreds of thousands of dollars. With the right network monitoring tools, IT teams can address problems before they interrupt essential workflows.

CISOs, security directors, and IT professionals across a range of industries face a similarly daunting challenge: how can you manage networks that simultaneously offer employees the benefits of cutting-edge, emerging technology while still providing dependable service around the clock? While the network architecture that works best for your particular organization will vary depending on your specific needs, investing in network monitoring tools has become a necessity for IT teams regardless of their field or the size of their operation. Indeed, a recent survey shows that network downtime caused by critical outages cost nearly 25% of respondents between $301,000 and $400,000 per hour.

With this in mind, gaining end-to-end visibility into your network should be a priority. The onus is on network administrators to resolve issues before they cause widespread outages, and provide their colleagues with the support they need when they need it. To do that, they need the ability to understand how the network is performing overall, where systemic bottlenecks are occurring, and what can be done about it.

However, not all networking monitoring tools are created equal. In order to manage your network as efficiently as possible, traditional tools either need to be updated or replaced entirely with platforms that reflect the evolving ways in which enterprise employees actually work. By investing in network monitoring tools that can provide key insights into tomorrow’s IT infrastructure just as effectively as today’s, you’ll be better positioned to proactively manage your network rather than reactively moving from one crisis to the next.

Traditional Network Monitoring Tools

Up until now, many platforms have taken a fairly straightforward, centralized approach. This means that IT professionals have been able to tap into a main interface that helps them understand how their network is performing, a process which typically involves tools engaging with essential network hardware in order to understand real-time status and resource usage. In this system, network monitoring tools identify issues when certain assets are nonresponsive, if bandwidth is approaching capacity, or if other related issues are popping up.

While this model of network monitoring has worked in the past, it’s not as well suited for today’s increasingly advanced network architecture. From the rise of IoT to the proliferation of BYOD, IT professionals are now responsible for the performance and security of an ever-expanding web of internet-capable devices and user endpoints. Given these challenges, traditional network monitoring tools — tools that usually just monitor the signals being sent — may come up short. For instance, existing platforms can help network administrators locate issues with their hardware and better understand what the center of their system is pushing out toward the edge. However, they typically can’t provide the comprehensive end-to-end visibility that IT professionals need if they’re going to keep up with the working habits of their organization’s employees.

If an enterprise relies on team members who often work remotely, for example, they'll need to be able to understand what their experience is like as they try to access the network. Similarly, if your organization is based in an office that has employees moving from one conference room to the next and from their desk to group workspaces, it’s vital that your IT team can monitor how your system is functioning throughout the workplace.

Client-Side Network Monitoring Tools

With the next generation of networking monitoring tools, network administrators can do just that. Rather than just track network performance as it radiates outward to an unknown array of assets and devices, client-side network monitoring tools look at every device your enterprise’s employees are using while connected to your network. As opposed to traditional tools that only monitor what your network is sending out, these new platforms view the network from the perspective of its users by monitoring what their devices are receiving.

Client-side network monitoring tools collect that information and make it readily available and digestible in a centralized user interface. In this way, they provide network administrators with end-to-end visibility, real-time performance tracking, and — crucially — clear recommendations of next steps in the event of network dysfunction or other related issues.

“Client-side network monitoring tools provide network administrators with end-to-end visibility, and real-time performance tracking at the device level.”

What’s more, the most sophisticated of this new wave of network monitoring tools are easy to set up and even easier to use. While the product you choose will depend on what your enterprise is looking for, you won’t have to face costly capital expenditure outlays just to get a better look at your network performance. Instead, top-of-the-line client-side networking monitoring tools will involve minor hardware setup with the rest running as software in the background.

So what client-side network monitoring tools are available for IT professionals ready to invest in the next generation of systems management? Let’s take a look at two platforms that can help you understand the ways in which client-side network monitoring tools can boost performance and drive growth.

Voyance by Nyansa

Voyance, a new client-side network monitoring tool from Nyansa, aims to provide IT professionals with the visibility they need to make informed decisions for their network. By using every client and IoT device connected to a given network as its own kind of sensor, Voyance allows network administrators to sift through easily-digestible data to better understand why performance is degrading and what steps they can take to fix it.

“Voyance leverages machine learning to support IT professionals with visibility into what’s actually going wrong.”

With on-site software that pairs Nyansa’s Cloud analytics capabilities with client-side information, Voyance simultaneously pulls actionable insights from network performance and pinpoints areas for improvement. All users have to do is install the product on a virtual machine in their office and connect it with certain assets, like WLAN controllers.

Compared with network monitoring tools that focus more on the center of your enterprise’s IT operations and less on the outcomes experienced by individual end users, Voyance leverages machine learning to support IT professionals with visibility into what’s actually going wrong. By getting network administrators on the same page as these users — and by giving them access to critical information through an intuitive dashboard that makes network assessments easy — it’s possible to home in on problems without starting from scratch to do it.

Voyance makes life easier for the IT professionals tasked with managing networks and resolving issues, but Nyansa also promises that all stakeholders stand to benefit. Indeed, by providing network administrators with the tools they need to avert outages before they occur, the platform recovers lost end-user hours from device, network, or application issues.

Cape by Aruba

The Cape Networks Solution, a user-centric approach to networking monitoring, is a new analytics tool from Aruba. With a hardware sensor powered by a dual-core CPU, Cape stays connected to your network through Wi-Fi, Ethernet, or cellular signals. In addition to the sensor, this platform includes a software-powered dashboard that gives you visibility into the overall end-user experience, Wi-Fi connectivity and quality, core network services, internal server performance, as well as external cloud-based.

Despite the hardware approach to client-side network monitoring, Cape’s system is easy to set up. Whether you’re integrating your sensor in one of several conference rooms or in a smaller office, your IT team will be able to extract key information on network performance shortly after installation. This means that you’ll be benefiting from visibility into issues ranging from Wi-Fi connectivity to LAN, DHCP, or DNS dysfunction sooner rather than later.

From the point of view of IT teams, this kind of information is key. By pairing high-powered sensors with an easily navigable dashboard, Cape makes it possibles to evaluate real-time and historical data on the user experience, signal strength, throughput, and other essential metrics — all of which are secured and stored safely on the Cloud. For enterprises across a range of industries, the ability to maintain and analyze this wealth of information, especially from the perspective of end users, is a game-changer.

Where a Managed Services
Provider Can Help

While you and your team may understand the need to invest in higher-grade network monitoring tools, knowing how to go about evaluating what will best serve your specific network architecture can be difficult. Indeed, the best tools for your organization will vary depending on the size of your team, the geographical deployment of your workers, and the nature of your business.

With close to three decades of experience in network solutions, Turn-key Technologies has the expertise you need to take your organization into the next generation of IT network analytics. From recommending and implementing client-side network monitoring tools to comprehensive network assessments, our team understands what goes into designing, managing, and protecting the most competitive enterprise networks out there.

If you’re looking for external support as you work to gain better visibility into your network — or if you’re shopping for a managed services provider (MSP) for long-term assistance — TTI can help. We’re ready to work with network managers, security directors, and IT professionals to get cutting-edge networks up and running in the short-term — and protect them from evolving threats in the long-term.

Reach out today to see how TTI can help you optimize your network for the IoT!