Networking

Nyansa launches to help enterprise IT better wrangle its Wi-Fi issues

Networking startup Nyansa recently came out of stealth. Its new product, Voyance, monitors and analyzes a company's network and provides plain English answers for what is going right or wrong.

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Image: iStockphoto/Ali Kerem Yücel

On Monday, networking startup Nyansa exited stealth, making its Voyance product generally available.

Voyance is a cloud-sourced network analytics solution that analyzes an organization's network performance, and helps them find and solve problems in a few minutes. While there are many companies out there that may capture and present network data, Nyansa technical director GT Hill said they're trying to provide more actionable steps.

SEE: Network Security Policy Template (Tech Pro Research)

"The product's main focus is that, everyone can give you data, but we actually take that data and provide answers," Hill said. "As much as that sounds like something the marketing department probably invented, it's actually quite true. And, those answers are in plain English."

Most of the companies that provide similar services are monitoring companies, meaning that they capture data and present it in a very basic manner. They may go as far as to label network performance like a stoplight with green yellow, and red to determine its health.

However, simply being given the data about a network doesn't really help anything unless that data is proper interpreted and analyzed. The analogy Hill uses is someone going to the doctor for a blood test, and being given the results and told that they need to interpret them on their own. If that person has no medical background, that information will be useless. In the same way, it's still up to IT to interpret network data. But, Nyansa wants to change that.

One of the things that is different architecturally, is Nyansa is able to take information from multiple sources and connect that data to get answers. It doesn't just look at one network. Hill said it actually looks at all networks that have Voyance installed, and it uses that correlated data to come up with responses.

One way this helps customer is by showing them how certain aspects of their network compare to similar organizations. For example, if 5% of your end users experience congestion on your Wi-Fi network, is that good or bad compared to similar networks? By offering cross-company comparisons, you can focus more time and energy on the issues that don't match up to your competitors.

Of course, products like Voyance don't just serve to tell users when something is wrong—they're also used to track changes in a network. Big changes can be seen, sometimes, if they make an impact on a big problem, Hill said, but smaller changes are often harder to analyze.

"Nuanced changes in a network are really hard to know: Did it make a positive, or even negative, experience to the end user? What was the effect? And, we track that," Hill said.

So, if an administrator makes a change to the DHCP configuration, or adds a load balancer, users can annotate that in Voyance, noting when they added a load balancer, and it will track that for you so you can see the effect. Other potential changes to track could be changing power levels or buying new access points.

There are always privacy concerns when it comes to companies that "track" or "monitor" things in a company. Hill said that Nyansa doesn't focus on the "tattle tale" side of it—they don't track the website an employee has visited, for example.

Network operations are, obviously the biggest audience target for Nyansa and Voyance. For the CIO, though, Voyance could show how the network's performance has trended over the past year. Also, Hill said, help desks can use the product to select and individual user and get information on exactly what happened on the network when they had an issue.

The company also offers a feature called Global Advisories, where they alert users when there is a problem with certain devices. For example, the software noticed that iOS 9.2 doesn't roam very well, and they created an global advisory that is sent to all affected customers that makes them aware of that issue.

SEE: Five tools for finding out what's on your network (TechRepublic)

Nyansa was founded in September 2013 and raised a Series A round led by Formation 8. The company is based in Palo Alto, California and Hill said it is already generating revenue with 30+ customers.

Shirish Sathaye, an investor with Formation 8, said the firm invested in Nyansa because they began to see Wi-Fi becoming the default and primary network and knew that IT would need tools to keep it in check.

"I felt that [Nyansa] would be extremely valuable to enterprises," Sathaye said. "Also, by correlating behavior across different enterprises, Nyansa can predict and address issues before they happen in a specific enterprise."

At the current rate, Hill says the company can survive for 18 months with no additional funding, although he doesn't anticipate funding issues moving forward.

The 3 big takeaways for TechRepublic readers

  1. Nyansa came out of stealth on Monday with Voyance, its product for close to real-time network monitoring and analytics.
  2. Companies can use Voyance to drill down on network problems, and also to track the effects of certain changes, such as adding access points or changing DHP configurations.
  3. Network operations are the biggest potential audience for Nyansa and Voyance, but the product can be used by executives and help desks in unique ways as well.

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About Conner Forrest

Conner Forrest is a Senior Editor for TechRepublic. He covers enterprise technology and is interested in the convergence of tech and culture.

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