Peter Drucker, thinker of management, once said, "If you can not measure it, you can not improve it." These are words of wisdom that still resonate in all businesses today. This quote is nowhere more relevant than in the rapidly growing world of wireless computing, where IT departments struggle to keep mobile workers connected to corporate resources to stay productive.

Based in Seattle, NetMotion Software aims to bring real-time measurement to the world of mobile computing with operational intelligence for enterprise mobility. NetMotion refers to its cloud-based service under the name of Mobile Operational Intelligence, which turns out to be a rather apt nickname for the product. Mobile Operational Intelligence is just one part of the NetMotion product family and is based on NetMotion mobility, diagnostics and mobile IQ solutions.

Operational intelligence was intended to make the connections used by mobile devices more visible, allowing administrators to see what was happening on wireless connections in real time. The product provides a plethora of analytics, reports, controls and statistics, all related to connectivity and should prove to be an excellent tool for those seeking to exploit and support mobile teams using networks. public and private.

Look at NetMotion's operational intelligence

As with most current platform offerings, Operational Intelligence is cloud-based, which simplifies installation, just sign up for the service, configure some basic settings, and then deploy a small client application on your endpoints. The client application allows a device to act as a sensor, providing a constant flow of real-time data in the platform. The company offers client applications for MAC, iOS, Windows and Android, covering the majority of mobile devices on the market.

For testing, we installed client applications on several different devices, including two iPads, a Samsung Galaxy phone, three iPhones, two Dell laptops, a Macbook Air and a Samsung tablet, all connected to different networks, including Optimum WiFi . -Mobile, AT & T and Verizon. The client's installation has proven simple, NetMotion offering some tools to push clients to devices. It's worth noting that the client also runs on wired connections, which can prove very useful for comparing the performance of a wired network with wireless devices or for monitoring remote connections made off-line. gang.

We used the devices for several days to collect data and assess what operational intelligence can do and how it helps solve wireless problems.

main Features

Netmotion: (image: Inventory details)

It is undeniable that operational intelligence is full of features; However, if these features are missing at the target, there is no point in using them to get started. In the case of NetMotion, the amount of functionality is not annoying and each feature seems relevant to the task at hand.

Take, for example, provisioning devices and add them to an inventory, which has proven to be a simple process. Once a new device has contacted the service, administrators can use a simple wizard to embed the device in the inventory. All sorts of relevant information is captured and administrators can add additional data such as asset tags or other information.

The information collected includes the manufacturer, the version of the operating system, the details of the adapter, and so on. After the devices have been provisioned and collected for some time, the Device Details screen provides many other data items, including an activity log, a physical map of the device location, and its status. . Administrators can deepen performance analysis, threat defense audits, and cost control reports. In simple terms, an administrator can know everything about this device once the client software is installed and display both real-time and historical information. In the end, administrators can solve connectivity problems in real time or study connectivity issues with the help of collected data.

Of course, the activity and health of the device are only part of the equation. Operational intelligence has been designed to address three main concerns regarding mobile devices and connectivity; performance, defense against threats and cost control.

Performance dashboard

Netmotion Network

Operational Intelligence offers several dashboards and customizable reports used for performance issues. Measuring performance means collecting a lot of data from the client sensors. Factors that impact performance include throughput, signal strength, disconnections, network failures, and persistent connections.

The product offers a network health dashboard, which summarizes all performance-related activities and allows administrators to go into details. The dashboard is easy to understand and lets administrators know at a glance what's going on.

Several other performance dashboards are also available, such as network bandwidth, network failures, connection failures, and a large number of diagnostic reports.

Administrators can use Performance dashboards to track performance and connectivity issues. Each dashboard supports filters that limit data by period, device, or most other criteria. Location information can also be used to determine if the performance problem is due to poor signal strength or interference, or any other measured factor. Performance measurement capabilities are also useful when selecting cellular operators or when setting up WiFi access points.

Threat Defense Dashboard

NetMotion Diagnostic Report

Supporting a mobile workforce increases an organization's exposure to threats. After all, the world is filled with unknown WiFi hotspots, burner cell phones, and other technologies that can be used to infiltrate wireless networks. In addition, there is always the specter of theft or loss of devices that haunts mobile workers. With this in mind, administrators supporting a mobile workforce must play an active role in protecting sensitive information from malicious intent.

Operational intelligence provides administrators with several tools to help keep things safe; these tools are hosted in the Threat Defense dashboards. Administrators trying to detect suspicious activity can turn to the Real-Time Traffic Audit Dashboard, which provides a detailed view of device and application activity. The dashboard provides location information, user information, device information, and even a fully qualified domain name (FQDN) for the device. Administrators can filter by different criteria, such as Device, User, and Application, to refine the results.

Threat Defense also offers several other security-related dashboards, such as Traffic Destination Audit, Virtual Private Network (VPN) Security Audit, VPN Status, and WiFi Security Audit. Each of these dashboards supports filtering and generates additional data points for administrators to determine if unsecured connections have been established. The Wi-Fi security audit, a dashboard indicating the number of unsecured WiFi connections, the location and other relevant facts, is of particular interest.

Cost control

The cost control dashboard will certainly satisfy all administrators worried about the costs associated with mobile access. The main dashboard, Mobility and Diagnostics Impact, provides calculations on productivity gains and traffic reduction, providing a measurable return on investment through operational intelligence. Calculations of reduced network interruptions, minutes saved, and resolved anomalies can be used to determine savings, demonstrating that the capabilities offered by Operational Intelligence were well worth the investment.

Other dashboards include Cellular Network Usage, WiFi Network Usage, and Ethernet Network Usage. Each of these dashboards can be used to identify the main users, the most used applications and the roaming frequency, among others. They can all be translated into financial data to help administrators determine where costs can be reduced. For example, if the majority of wireless users are configured on a particular cellular carrier, switching to a lower cost operator may reduce monthly cellular bills.

conclusions

NetMotion Operational Intelligence introduces the Big Data model and applies it to the conundrum of network connectivity. The data collected and the dashboards used to display them can provide the intelligence that should allow any administrator to master the complex elements of managing wireless connectivity for mobile users. In addition, the product provides insight into what was once lost, and provides actionable data that can be used to improve connectivity and potentially reduce costs. Prices are based on the size of the deployment and start at $ 2,250 annual subscription or $ 105 per month.