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Keeping the campus network available and performing optimally

Like most educational institutions, much of Wenatchee Valley College’s (WVC) communications and processes take place online. WVC’s network supports academic and administrative applications and a network outage can disrupt its student information system, email, class schedules, campus news, and other administrative processes. “Our network supports two campuses and more than 9,000 students and 500 staff—it’s important to keep it running reliably. With PathSolutions, I am able to continuously monitor the network and fix any network issues before they become problems. It keeps my network running smoothly and performing optimally,” said Chad Evans, WVC’s Systems Architect.

Challenge: Monitoring and managing a network for two campuses using WAN, made up of more than 3,100 network ports (which includes computers, servers, uplinks, and phones, IP lock panels, and IP HVAC panels), and supporting more than 9,500 end users.

Solution: PathSolutions’ VoIP Monitor and NetFlow Module.

Network Performance Management “Nice and Simple”

 ”It was intuitive and seemed really easy to use.”

 — Chad Evans, Systems Architect
Wenatchee Valley College

For Evans, it was all about simplicity. WVC had moved to an all Cisco network and planned on using Cisco’s performance management software to monitor it. There was just one problem: it wasn’t very easy to use. According to Evans, “There were a lot of modules to install and set up and the whole process seemed counter intuitive. It was not a very user friendly solution and I thought that there must be an easier way to monitor and manage all the links on my network. Fortunately, I discovered PathSolutions.”

Evans requested a demo of Network Monitor and liked what he saw. “It was intuitive and seemed really easy to use,” Evans said. Unlike Cisco’s solution, PathSolutions was installed, fully deployed, and actively monitoring within 15 minutes. Using the many reports that were available, Evan was able to identify existing network issues and “fix them before they became problems.”

About PathSolutions’ Network Weather Report

PathSolutions’ Network Weather report is a quick and easy way to determine how your network is performing on a daily basis. It provides information on your network’s errors, performance, and administration. Based on the utilization rate you set, it will display the interfaces that are experiencing a higher utilization rate, including error rates and peak daily utilization. It will also display a number of “top tens,” including the top ten interfaces with the most errors, top ten interfaces with the highest daily percentage transmission, and the top ten interfaces with the highest daily received percentage.

It’s All About the Weather (Report): Fast and Easy Network Troubleshooting

Evans determines his daily network action items using PathSolutions’ Weather Report. “The first thing I do when I get in to work is check my inbox for the Weather Report. Essentially, it tells me the network issues I should be looking at and even recommends ways in which I can address them. It also tells me where the network is experiencing higher utilization rates than normal as well as when peak usage occurs. This allows me to look at the network as a whole and understand how and when bandwidth is being used as well as pinpoint and address any issues before they become full blown problems,” said Evans.

Bottom Line—Identifying Anything Out of the Ordinary

“We recently went from 12 in my department down to 7. In order to give the same level of service, we depend on PathSolutions because it does most of the network performance management heavy lifting.”

 — Chad Evans, Systems Architect
Wenatchee Valley College

Educational institutions have not been immune to today’s economic challenges. For Evans, the challenge is to keep things optimally running while resources are constrained. “We recently went from 12 in my department down to 7. In order to give the same level of service, we depend on PathSolutions because it does most of the network performance management heavy lifting. For example, one report I use automatically identifies duplex mismatches which is a very common and very time consuming problem to troubleshoot. These issues can be addressed in minutes. Before, it might be days or weeks before those issues came to my attention. I often find that we will fix network issues before we even get a help desk notification. PathSolutions enables me to discover anything out of the ordinary that is happening on our network and address it before it causes a bigger problem,” said Evans.

About Wenatchee Valley College

 Wenatchee Valley College provides high-quality transfer, liberal arts, professional/technical, basic skills and continuing education for students of diverse ethnic and economic backgrounds. The WVC district is the size of Massachusetts and Rhode Island combined, covering more than 10,000 square miles of Chelan, Douglas and Okanogan counties. The college’s main campus is located near the eastern slopes of the Cascade Mountains, midway between Seattle and Spokane.