SolarWinds Enhances Network Performance Monitor

One of the updates is wireless heat mapping capability, allowing IT workers to maintain automatic, real-time maps of wireless network signal strength.

solarwinds network performance monitor

IT performance management software specialist SolarWinds announced a series of enhancements to its Network Performance Monitor (NPM) to improve business mobility and uptime.

One of the major updates is wireless heat mapping capability, which allows IT workers to maintain automatic, real-time maps of wireless network signal strength to enhance continuous wireless coverage throughout an environment and accelerate troubleshooting.

"Our customers were asking for a single pane of glass for monitoring and troubleshooting the performance and availability of their entire network—wired and wireless," Chris LaPoint, vice president of product management for SolarWinds, told eWeek. "The new wireless heatmaps are a natural extension of our existing monitoring support for access points and wireless LAN controllers, and so the feature helps them avoid having to go to yet another tool for that information."

The heat maps help businesses troubleshoot client connectivity issues and generate user-sourced wireless signal strength surveys for coverage in all network locations, including remote sites.

The technology also lets users prioritize wireless signal strength where it is needed and make adjustments such as adding wireless access points, modifying the environment, and use client location tracking to find any wireless-connected device within the network.

In addition, with capacity forecasting, IT departments can also automatically keep tabs on critical network resources to help predict future needs and prevent outages.

Capacity forecasting allows IT to use historical data from SolarWinds NPM on CPU, memory, volumes, connected wireless clients, node, and interface traffic utilization to provide automated assessments of average and peak use, and set customizable alerts to proactively secure the necessary network resources.

"Wireless technology is permeating virtually every facet of the business, whether you're talking about sales reps using iPads to enter orders in a retail setting or manufacturing centers using network-connected devices to create products," LaPoint said. "And businesses are seeing the increased agility that wireless technology brings based on the cost effectiveness, compatibility and interoperability benefits over wired networks."

He cautioned, however, that nothing is free and the price of wireless agility is a tremendous load on the existing infrastructure, and is being exacerbated by the confluence of bring your own device (BYOD) and bring your own application (BYOA) platforms at the same time.

"This is forcing IT organizations to figure out ways to move even faster and work even smarter than they have in the past, including revisiting their multi-vendor approach to tools," he said.

Other automatic network performance monitoring features include deep packet inspection (DPI) for assessment of network latency’s impact on application performance with automated application identification, and automated mapping and alerting of device dependencies for improved root-cause analysis.

The platform pricing starts at $2,675, which includes the first year of maintenance, and the updated version will be available within the first quarter of the year.