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Keep your IT teams ahead of outages with Aruba

By Abhinav Raj, Product Manager, User Experience Insight
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In the age of digital acceleration, the cost of not monitoring end-user digital experience is huge! Starting with increased helpdesk calls and frequent truck rolls to higher operational expenses, decreased employee efficiency, and irritated customers, it could eventually erode the competitive differentiation of organizations. With businesses taking a digital-first approach and IT teams transitioning into a business-critical function, the focus of business and IT converge on providing great digital experience to end-users. This not only unlocks new revenue opportunities but also significantly impacts customer retention.

Lack of visibility into network and application performance and absence of a concrete method to verify end-user digital experience leads to IT teams spending an average of 70% of their time (Source : Gartner – June 2019) fixing network issues, leaving little bandwidth for them to complement business priorities and support new revenue trajectories. End users want the network to seamlessly work and expect interruptions to be fixed as soon as possible. IT teams are not always present on-site to quickly troubleshoot the issues and dealing with  anecdotal complaints like ‘CRM not working’, ‘collaboration tools not loading up’, ‘voice calls getting dropped’ etc. are extremely difficult.

The big question is – How to ensure that end users are getting a seamless digital experience on the network? One way of achieving this is by deploying human testers who can monitor the end-user experience on the network, on each corner of the facility, on each floor, in each city, in each country, and across the whole world! Well, seems like a highly cumbersome and costly task!

We at Aruba have been trying to address this burning challenge along with a few other questions such as - How do IT teams efficiently track network health while keeping a check on end-user experience? How do they ensure that different apps are reachable on the network? How do they see if all the managed sites across the world are available, and when something fails how do they get the precise insights to troubleshoot and fix the issues rapidly!

In this five-blog series of ‘Inside out and outside in’ of a network, we explore how the combined solution of Aruba Central and Aruba UXI provides a powerful, one-stop solution for IT teams to understand network and application performance from a network and user’s perspective simultaneously!

Please read the first two blogs if you haven’t already:

In this third blog of the series, we will discuss how Aruba Central and Aruba UXI serve as a simple and highly efficient solution to address all the issues discussed above. Aruba Central provides a single point of control to manage network operations and get visibility into network performance from the network’s perspective. On the other hand, Aruba UXI onboards the network like an end-user and tests applications performance on the network from an end user’s perspective.

In this blog, we will discuss a scenario where IT teams were able to deliver a great user experience with the combined power of Aruba Central and Aruba UXI.

Scenario – A large K12 with dorms in the states recently upgraded its network to support 1:1 digital learning, eLearning, and remote access to classes. They upgraded their network infrastructure to ensure consistent connectivity to critical EdTech applications and school servers. The college couldn’t afford connectivity dropouts as it would affect the school’s grading, and staff’s efficiency and students’ learning outcomes. Here are some steps they took to achieve this with efficacy and business- critical objectives in mind:

  1. The K12 decided to use Aruba UXI and Aruba Central for monitoring and managing  the school networks.
    Figure 1: Aruba UXI testing critical network and applications performance parameters in a K12 environment
  2. The IT team leveraged in-built tests within UXI to test EdTech apps and configured critical applications hosted on school servers to be tested throughout the day.
  3. Aruba Central dashboard gave them a holistic view of overall network performance data, with AI- powered precise insights and issue impact summary.

    Figure 2: Aruba Central providing  AI powered Insights and Impact summary (before the network upgrade)
  4. After the network upgrade, the IT team noticed alerts on the UXI dashboard against school internal servers and EdTech applications, meaning  students might be facing difficulties with Wi-Fi.
  5. Indeed in no time, the IT helpdesk received a few complaints about students not able to access online tests and classes from dorm rooms.
  6. The UXI sensors placed strategically in the dorm hallway picked up the issues and proactively drilled down to identify the error as "802.1X auth failed. On checking the automatic triage report, the IT team found that the error was occurring due to a very low timeout value set on RADIUS side.
  7. The IT team instantaneously leveraged Aruba Central to verify the issue and found ‘802.1X authentication failure’ to be the root cause, they also successfully verified that APs were working perfectly.
  8. The AI Insight screen in Central also pointed out the IP Address of the Auth server (within ‘Server’ tile card) helping IT admin to quickly isolate problematic auth server

    Figure 3: Aruba Central highlighting the problematic Auth server along with recommendations
  9. The IT team changed the timeout value on the RADIUS side remotely from the Aruba Central dashboard. They also noticed a similar situation for other branches of the school as well. The team rapidly went into action and deployed similar kinds of network policies for all the other school branches.
  10. In no time, the Aruba UXI dashboard displayed a green smiley face, denoting the issue got fixed and students and staff are having a good digital experience.

The school fixed a major network issue before it could severely disrupt the exams or time-sensitive eLearning activities for students, and proactively addressed it across all the school branches.

The powerful combination of Aruba UXI and Aruba Central helped the IT team to quickly troubleshoot, isolate and fix the issue  remotely. It not only helped the IT team to reduce Mean Time To Resolution (MTTR) and Mean Time To Innocence (MTTI,) but also significantly decreased the chances of the potential escalation.

This is the potential of using the powerful combination of Aruba Central + Aruba UXI, it help businesses provide an inside out and outside in perspective into network performance.

Learn more about Aruba UXI and try Aruba Central yourself.

Read the other blogs in this series: 

Stay on top of your SaaS apps with Aruba Central and Aruba User Experience Insight

Quickly validate the impact of network changes with Aruba AIOps

Keep your IT teams ahead of outages with Aruba

Rapid, location-aware troubleshooting with Aruba Central and Aruba UXI agent for Zebra