Troubleshooting Wisdom

Mobile & Desktop Collaboration Tips

Since the dawn of humanity, we've gained a competitive edge with better information. Things have, of course, evolved over time. We've gone from the secret of fire being pretty cool to a society that Googles stuff. Today the information economy is booming. People need to know more, and plenty of companies happily oblige. Pingman Tools is focused on information that helps solve network problems, but you could just as easily be focused on information that solves hobbit problems.

They've got your favorite ring. You want it back, and your omnipotent eye is scouring every corner of Middle Earth. The only problem is all that time spent monitoring atop a dark tower is cramping your style. All work and no play has you wondering what the point of an evil empire is if you can't enjoy it.

A tool that could keep you informed about interesting events while you're out and about would make things infinitely more fun. Incorporating mobile improves network troubleshooting effectiveness, and collaborating with desktop (or laptop) tools helps get the most from PingPlotter's blossoming ecosystem. Here are some multi-platform tips that will have your packets calling you The Lord of the Pings.

Pinging Beyond the Shire

Wireless Testing

If you're experiencing problems with a wireless network, the best diagnostic information comes from testing the wifi that's misbehaving. Personal computers are perfectly capable of connecting to wireless and testing the network, but testing wireless with your phone is so much more convenient. On top of that, mobile has easier access to cellular data networks. With a desktop tool, testing your LTE network requires tethering through your phone. Tethers aren't especially difficult, but running a trace right on your LTE enabled mobile device will connect you with that sweet sweet performance data in an easier way.

Quick Status Checks

Places that offer free wifi not-so-secretly expect you to buy something before connecting. There's nothing unreasonable about this, but finding a crappy network after paying for a cup of coffee kind of sucks. Being "that guy" and testing on your laptop before your order is an option, but if you're looking for something less conspicuous, mobile testing is the way to go. It frees you up to check a network before committing to an order and even puts you in a position to test a few different cafés to find the hotspot worthy of your connection.

If coffee shops aren't your thing, mobile can still be useful. When video buffering interrupts a streaming movie, checking network status through your phone can save a trip off the couch. You can also find network dead zones by testing around the house and seeing where latency spikes occur. However, during your test please keep in mind, extra sensory features are not included in the current version of PingPlotter Mobile. Any psychic episodes are related to other dead zones.

Audio Monitoring

When you need real-time performance feedback, audio monitoring delivers the information you need. PingPlotter Mobile shifts the pitch of alerts, or your own music, according to changes in network performance. This type of audio feedback comes in handy when you're making changes to the network and want to hear the effect as the changes are made. Online console gaming is another useful scenario for audio monitoring. Hearing network performance lets your hands and eyes play the game while keeping you informed about changes in network conditions. This way you can duck and cover before lag makes you a sitting duck in the middle of the map.

Keep Your PC Out of the Garbage for Now

Building Cases with Ethernet Testing

Wireless interference is one of tech support's favorite scapegoats. If a problem goes away after you plug into a wired network, it's case closed because they can blame the problem on your home wireless. Most support techs can also tell the difference between performance data collected over wireless and wired networks because the electromagnetic waves connecting wireless networks are more prone to disruption than hard wires. When there is a chance to blame local wireless networks, tech support will take it, but you can avoid the easy objection by leading with ethernet data.

Long-Term Monitoring

The stationary nature of desktop computers naturally inclines them toward long-term monitoring. They aren't as likely to switch networks and interrupt your test. Plus when plugged into power and network outlets, you can test as long as your heart desires. PingPlotter Desktop was built with long-term monitoring in mind. It can alert you when network conditions step out of line, lets you add comments on timelines, and auto-saves collected data. Yeah, it's pretty sweet.

Better with a Sidekick

Simultaneous Comparisons

You can test two different networks at once with the same computer, but a great alternative for most dual testing scenarios is testing from mobile and desktop at the same time. Testing like this lets you see the difference between ethernet and wireless performance or compare two wireless networks side by side.

Cross-Platform Sharing

Convenient access to information makes troubleshooting network problems suck less, and PingPlotter files are designed with convenience in mind. All current PingPlotter products can share files between each other. One of the most useful places for this ability is the PingPlotter alert system. It can be configured to monitor a network from the desktop and send email alerts when something interesting happens. From there, you can open your file on your mobile device and inspect it as if you were in front of your PC. The ability to analyze network troubleshooting data from a smartphone or tablet opens the world up to remote troubleshooting. Whether you are an IT army of one or share your PingPlotter alerts with a team, you won't need to run back to your network as often.

Leaving the Shire

Most of your time is probably spent in front of a desk (or in your mom's basement), but a day will come when you leave your own personal Shire. When that time arrives, mobile access to network performance information will help you lord over your domain from afar. The effectiveness gained from mobile and desktop collaboration is hard to pass up. If you're looking to get outfitted, free editions for both platforms are available at www.pingplotter.com.