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New network intelligence tool amps UIC network monitoring & performance troubleshooting

UIC students sitting at table with laptop conversing

Highlighting the Client Perspective Heading link

Technology Solutions has been leveraging its new cloud-based wireless analytics service Edge Network Intelligence, better-enabling support staff to identify and resolve wireless issues more efficiently and effectively than before. Implemented in the Summer of 2021, Technology Solutions has been leveraging this service for approximately eight months and it has been extremely beneficial to identify and resolve Network issues. Edge Network Intelligence does not replace existing wireless tools, but rather, provides additional insights on network usage and connectivity from the user perspective.

Edge Network Intelligence operates from the perspective of the end user. Almost all of our other wireless tools and networking tools are part of the infrastructure and we don’t get a good way of seeing what our clients are seeing. Seeing information from the client’s viewpoint is absolutely key. That’s why this is such an important tool for us.

William Lim  |  Wireless Engineer

Breaking Down the Data Heading link

“You always want to get data from the clients, and the best way to do that is to see what the clients are seeing,” Lim says. Successfully deployed at UIC in summer of 2021, Edge Network Intelligence wireless analytics gathers data from UIC network usage, sends it to the cloud, and allows Technology Solutions staff to break down the data by filtered monitoring options, and analyze it to a deep degree.

Looking at things from a system-wide viewpoint or even drilling it down to specific sites, libraries, resident halls, buildings on campus, classrooms, computer labs, or even further down to specific users – you can take that data and make it useful to engineers in terms of troubleshooting.

William Lim  |  Wireless Engineer

Examining Network & Tool Usage Rates Heading link

Through Edge Network Intelligence wireless analytics, for example, Technology Solutions staff can look into the average usage rate of videoconferencing tool Zoom for a designated period of time, broken down by access point such as East or West campus, specific classrooms, or specific usernames. Technology staff can also run reports comparing similar tools offered by UIC, to gauge engagement and UIC community preference of tools.

Chart showing top 5 application traffic (SSL, Google, Zoom, HTTP, Facebook)

“Edge Network Intelligence is not just for gathering this type of data, but it’s also a proactive tool to help us identify what the potential problems are…so that when we see that wireless performance is unstable, we can really drill down to see why it is unstable and then consider the next steps for remediation,” Lim says.

In addition, the Edge Network Intelligence wireless analytics service offers a reporting feature through which Technology Solutions staff can set up preconfigured reports which become available on a recurring schedule, or on demand.

Previously, the troubleshooting tools Technology Solutions leveraged did not provide the full visibility necessary to quickly identify and assess a wireless issue. With Edge Network Intelligence, the support team can see exactly what a client is experiencing while on a UIC wireless network, as well as obtain analytics and data on network usage. So far, Edge Network Intelligence has proven to be beneficial.

The implementation of Edge Network Intelligence has proven to be exceptionally successful so far. It has not only helped our support staff identify and resolve client issues quickly, but it also helps us analyze and evaluate wireless network activity to adjust or reallocate wireless services on campus as needed.

Jelene Crehan  |  Director of Network Engineering & Infrastructure

Comparing Data to that of our Peers Heading link

Edge Network Intelligence sends anonymized data through its network intelligence cloud and allows users of this service to benchmark their performance against that of anonymous peer institutions. “Through Edge Network Intelligence, we can compare our baselines and wireless performance to other peer organizations. One of the things this is helping us do is facilitate the level of troubleshooting with the clients,” Lim says.

Benchmark Details Graph showing wi-fi performance

Benchmark Details Graph showing how UIC compares to peer organizations with similar characteristics (infrastructure, number of clients, size of deployment).

Supporting UIC's Mission Heading link

Forward Initiative Logo

As part of the Forward Initiative, the implementation of Edge Network Intelligence supports the university’s mission to upgrade, expand, and modernize our network infrastructure to meet client’s needs, and to keep pace with peer and aspirational peer institutions.