eduroam Magazine Network

Wireless Crowd-Sourced Performance Monitoring and Verification

WiFi access (and eduroam access in particular) is now accepted as an essential part of the wider campus experience. Not being able to connect to network resources can damage user experiences and can result in users having to use mobile 4G data connections rather than WiFi.

Most WiFi monitoring services merely provide information on the availability (an ‘Up’ or ‘Down’ status) of WiFi and can’t measure the actual performance of the service. A poorly performing WiFi service affects user experiences and can also be a trigger for IT to investigate wider performance issues. But how can performance monitoring work in a situation where users are by definition mobile?

Within eduroam facilities the situation can be even more complicated as users can have multiple eduroam access points within range – making the reporting of problems harder. Dedicated probes are normally in fixed locations and so, within a campus environment,
can be prohibitively expensive. It is for this reason that GÉANT have developed WiFiMon.

What is WiFiMon?

WiFiMon is a distributed performance monitoring and measurement service, using a crowd-sourced approach with probes installed on mobile phones or tablets. The app measures the real-life performance of WiFi by checking access speeds against well-used sites (for
example the webmail service) to provide realistic and repeatable tests across different users and different access points.

This approach provides a high volume of measurement points to give the organisation a very granular near real-time assessment of performance.

WiFiMon – a Hybrid Approach

In addition to the client-based approach, WiFiMon offers a dedicated probe based on low-cost, readily available hardware – the Raspberry Pi. All that is needed is a Raspberry Pi 3 Model B+ and a micro SD card with at least 16GB memory.

To found out how to provide WiFiMon to end users visit: www.geant.org/wifimon

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