Network Analytics: More Than a Buzzword

By Kevin Blackburn, Blog Contributor
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For so long people heard "analytics, analytics, analytics" from every tech article and piece of marketing material. While they may have started thinking that analytics is just fluff, the real fact is this campaign has some real value.

Analytics is all about data. Getting as much data as possible and using it in unique ways to help accomplish a problem or improve a process. A lot of people are set in the old mentality of a break-fix world where a device had to be detected as “down” to then start investigating. There are so many more pieces of data that can be gathered from a wide range of technical devices that you would be doing yourself a disservice to ignore them all.

AirWave: The Multivendor Network Management Solution

AirWave is a network management system (NMS) powered by Aruba technology. It is a multivendor system that allows for the monitoring of status and performance of a wide array of network devices. There are a lot of NMS that can detect the status of devices from multiple vendors. The thing about  AirWave is that it can fill the role of being a basic NMS while providing so much more.


Originally, when your NMS would detect a downed device, you would log into your other systems and start troubleshooting why that device was down. AirWave contains this process to a single system, gathering device details proactively and saving you time in the troubleshooting process. With AirWave, when an issue arises, your first step no longer is to leave your NMS. You will have the needed data to begin troubleshooting right there in front of you.

Let’s look at an example wireless issue. Say there are users losing signal and disconnecting from the wireless network. AirWave can give you an idea where the users are on your network, how your equipment is performing, and where changes need to be made. Maybe too many users are saturating a single access point. Maybe there is a coverage hole between access points. You can diagnose and begin resolving these issues right from AirWave. No more logging into your mobility controller to begin checking on these things. You can detect, diagnose, and fix an issue from a single pane of glass.

Future Planning

Network management should not end with the here and now. Planning for the future is a HUGE task within all areas of IT. With technology changing so often, planning ahead is very important. I think AirWave has a very strong interface when it comes to monitoring a wireless network visually with VisualRF. Once you have things set up, you can quickly see where you may have some shortcomings when it comes to wireless signal.

The other area that is commonly used in network upgrade scenarios is Aruba Instant. When your planning is done, you’ve identified wireless coverage holes, and you bought your new access points, Aruba Instant makes configuration and deployment simple. This allows you to get your new equipment online as soon as possible. I know this is very important to a lot of people and I know it is a pet peeve of mine. If I have new gear, I want it on the network and live as soon as possible. Again, all of this can be managed through AirWave.

Something to Rely On

You can begin to see why AirWave is a strong solution for network admins and engineers. Being able to help monitor, manage, plan, and deploy from a single system is something a lot of people are looking for. Whether wireless or wired, Aruba or another vendor, AirWave is a great solution for a network management system.

Follow Kevin Blackburn on Twitter at @TheRoutingTable.