Providing a consistent Internet Service is a complex challenge. A strong signal and an association between the AP and the client radio is no guarantee of quality service, nor an indicator of the client’s actual online experience.
Many factors can cause either intermittent connection drops or degraded service: multi-path, network congestion, bad equipment, ice build-up, overloaded back hauls and many other unpredictable factors.
As a WISP, if you have a way of knowing the true quality of every client’s connection at all times, you can have a significant impact on your ability to provide consistent service to everyone.
For example, using Swift Fox software you can plot the quality of every client on an access point and see trends and patterns. Is weather having an impact? Is the entire sector having issues at primetime or is it just two specific clients?
Are there patterns in power failures in the service area? Is noise at play? These are all questions that can be answered quickly and easily when there is a complete view of the true status of every single connection 24/7/365.
The traditional way to manage these challenges was to monitor the backhauls and access point for association, signal level and CCQ. Unfortunately this doesn’t provide a complete picture. If the client appears in the association list on the AP, that only indicates that a packet was seen from the device recently.
CCQ is a very unreliable statistic as lightly loaded connections lack the sample size needed to give accurate calculations. Some network monitoring suites send SNMP requests or basic pings to the device every 5 or 10 minutes. This can catch major issues with a client’s connection, but int
Author: Scott Armstrong