NFD26 – Performance Monitoring w/ NetBeez

The NFD26 series of posts are my commentary from specific presentations held for Networking Field Day 26, a virtual event presented by Tech Field Day.

Let’s face it. None of us like getting that call. You know which one I’m talking about. The one that makes you cringe immediately when your brain processes it. The problem description is simply “the network is slow”. I don’t know about you, but this is one of those mood changing incidents. You are immediately enthralled in an internal debate of “what does this even mean and how do I get the proper information to even start troubleshooting!?”. I’m sure it can feel like an interrogation to the person reporting the issue, getting asked so many questions. It can definitely be frustrating for everyone involved. Wouldn’t it be nice to have a fair amount of relevant information at your fingertips before asking a single question? Well, NetBeez aims to provide just that with multiple products across their portfolio.

NetBeez is a network performance monitoring company that can provide visibility with flexible deployment options.

I really appreciate the flexibility that the NetBeez solution provides. You can have a combination of physical wired/wireless sensors, integrated agents into network infrastructure platforms, cloud agents, as well as endpoint software. While I’m not always a fan of loading up more software on endpoint devices, if the software is lightweight, and provides crucial information to assist in resolving issues, I’m all for it. The NetBeez endpoint agent can do just that, and when you are supporting staff that can be working from anywhere, it is essential to be able to find the root cause of issues quickly and efficiently. If you can resolve an issue for someone without having to ask many (or any) questions, that is incredible.

Let’s take a look at the NetBeez Dashboard, via their demo environment. When you first log in, you are greeted by the high level incidents and performance graphs. This can give you a quick, holistic view into your environment.

The rest of the tabs provide you different methods to gain performance information from the sensors in your network or in the cloud. The Agents tab lists information about all of the different agents in your environment as well as the high-level performance statistics for different tests being run by the agents. As far as agent information, you’ll see items such as the agent name, type (wired, wireless, etc.), if there are any incidents associated, and the agent MAC and IP address.

In the Targets tab, we can see the various test that are set up to the configured destinations. As I’m going through the demo now, it’s looks like there is one alert and fourteen warnings with the Baidu configured destination.

As we drill down deeper, we can see that a specific device had a specific HTTP test related issue with the https://baidu.com destination, that had since cleared.

The last major item that I want to cover is some of the data that you can see from the workstation agents. As stated above, companies are adopting remote/distributed working strategies now, more than ever. IT support organizations have to be able to support distributed employees in environments that IT does not control. An example of this is the work from home environment. IT may own the asset that the employee is using at home, but often they have no control over the network path to reach the employees’ homes nor the actual network infrastructure in the homes. Being able to provide network performance visibility from a client perspective can be crucial in determining causes of issues and pain points for employees. If someone is at home and connected via wireless, that can prove even more challenging. In the AGENTS > Remote Workers screen, we can a list of remote worker NetBeez agents. Within this screen, there is a WIRELESS tab that shows statistics about the agent’s wireless connectivity. We can see important information such as:

  • ESSID
  • Protocol
  • Frequency/Channel
  • Bit rate
  • Link quality percentage
  • Signal strength

Bert’s Brief

Operating and supporting enterprise networks can be a daunting task when you feel like you are flying blind when issues get reported. NetBeez aims to give you visibility into the performance of your networks through path analysis and active testing across multiple form factors. Their pivot into the workstation client agent has surely been a welcome addition for customers over the last year and half. Meaningful visibility matters, and NetBeez has modular offerings to provide that analysis. I’m looking forward to seeing what they have in store next.

Published by Tim Bertino

Network engineer passionate about solutions and design.

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