Large wireless installations often are at risk of not attaining targets established in service level agreements (SLAs). Networking professionals often attribute the problem to inadequate site surveys during planning, yet oversight of key project management activities can contribute to the accumulation of technical debt, which causes a high volume of end-user complaints, high mean time to recovery (MTTR), increased costs, poor performance, and extended downtimes. To avoid those outcomes, project managers should:

  • Address all stakeholders (to discern customer requirements)
  • Conduct feasibility studies
  • Produce realistic statements of work (SOWs)
  • Validate network architectures with vendor’s cause

Now let’s take a closer look at technical debt.

The Consequences of Technical Debt for Wireless Projects

Poor design and planning can undermine outcomes of wireless installations. Technical debt that emerges after a Wi-Fi project becomes operable inhibits efficiency and productivity. To mitigate damage, project management teams should identify and resolve the causes of technical debt before handing off projects to operation teams.

The Solution to Technical Debt: Advanced Network Analytics

Incident resolution and network troubleshooting is often a non-intuitive, step-by-step process. End users submit a help ticket, and Tier 1 support gathers data and categorizes the incident. Next, Tier 2 or Tier 3 support investigates further and correlates the incident with other cases. Successfully resolving help desk tickets, ideally before an incident affects service, requires understanding what happened, how it happened, why it happened and, most important, how to fix it.

How RUCKUS Can Help

RUCKUS Analytics, a cloud service powered by machine learning, delivers network assurance and business intelligence to accelerate network troubleshooting. A network engineer logging onto the service receives insights in support of network optimization. RUCKUS Analytics integrates with help desk systems that support webhooks (e.g., Salesforce, ServiceNow, Zendesk, etc.). The system automatically generates tickets, enabling IT to anticipate incident resolution and quickly eliminate accumulated technical debt.

RUCKUS Analytics gathers data from the control plane and correlates it with other known issues to generate insights. Network engineers receive pre-prioritized lists of incidents, ranked by severity (client impact, duration, and other factors). For each incident, network engineers receive other important insights, such as scope, root cause analysis, and recommended remediation.

As such, incident prioritization no longer falls to the engineer handling it – and the IT department does not have to allocate daily resources to reviewing and prioritizing incidents in order to minimize disruption. The service validation feature enables anticipatory decision-making procedures.

Of course, help desk tickets and advanced troubleshooting cannot solve every network issue. When users begin to use a new network, it could slow down because of a lack of airtime availability. This could mean that there are not enough APs in areas of dense user activity – a consequence of not interviewing and discerning the needs of all stakeholders in advance.

Such events are hard to identify remotely and difficult to diagnose. Using analytics, however, enables operations engineers to see changes in user activity as it happens. Working remotely and gathering logs doesn’t provide the same level of insight.

The bottom line is that debt must be paid. The question is at what point does interest on debt become too high and unsustainable – in many cases because you waited too long to address underlying issues that affect users?

Missed SLAs jeopardize projects. Using smart tools, like RUCKUS Analytics, helps evolve understanding of data collected through troubleshooting. Doing so allows your help desk to react less and anticipate more for quicker resolution, technical debt avoidance, and mitigation.

To learn how RUCKUS Analytics has improved some customers’ MTTR by up to 66%, watch this testimonial by Jon Novakowski, Vector Tech Group’s Chief Visionary Officer.

If you are in the design or planning phase of your wireless installation project, reach out to your Net-Ctrl  team for architecture validation. You can email the team at [email protected] or call us on 01473 281 211.

If you are in the maintenance phase of your RUCKUS installation project and are discovering technical debt, RUCKUS Analytics can provide comprehensive network intelligence and take the guesswork out of troubleshooting.

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