Last week, I went through application assurance with Cisco Prime Infrastructure. Today, as the 4th post of a 5-part blog series, I’ll go into troubleshooting for your branch site with Prime. Again, as a quick recap, here’s my blog series on how to set up networking with Prime for a new branch site.

WAN deployment – blog 1
Converged wired and wireless  – blog 2
Application performance – blog 3
Troubleshooting – (this blog)
Network health – blog 5
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By now, your new branch site is in perfect condition with Cisco IWAN, wired and wireless Converged Access, as well as application assurance all working as designed. But you need to be prepared to start troubleshooting if something goes wrong. Every user who runs into network issues means productivity loss.  Every minute of a down network causes a significant amount of business loss. Fortunately, Cisco Prime Infrastructure gives you many tools, so you can achieve speedy problem resolution and provide outstanding user experience.

Here’s a Prime troubleshooting success story that a customer told me. It’s a hospital in Dallas, Texas. Keeping their wireless network running was a critical business priority because the medical staff depended on it for communications and patient care. One day, nurses reported intermittent wireless problems in a room. You know, intermittent problems can be hard to troubleshoot. When you are ready to diagnose the problem, the symptoms may or may not exist anymore. Using Prime, their networking team was able to narrow down to a laptop which was always present when the wireless problems occurred. As it turned out, it was doing heavy and unauthorized live streaming which hogged the wireless bandwidth. The owner was immediately notified to stop streaming. Problem solved and case closed.

I’ll share another Prime story with you. On the live Cisco Live Milan network in 2014, a customer laptop suddenly generated a spike in network traffic. With Prime, Cisco on site networking engineers quickly identified that the traffic was produced by an instance of BitTorrent. Before this file sharing program could cause any network instability or potential disruptions, the engineers used Prime to pinpoint the laptop location and contacted the user. The entire process was completed in about 10 minutes, from initial discovery to final resolution. Without Prime, the process would have taken at least an hour for these top engineers. Read more details here about this story.

With Prime, you can
– troubleshoot user problems with Prime Infrastructure’s User 360
° View;
– troubleshoot infrastructure problems with Prime traffic analysis and end-to-end AVC tools; and
– troubleshoot performance problems within the data center with Prime data center management tools
These capabilities help you respond to your potential network issues, faster and more efficiently.

Prime Infrastructure’s User 360° View feature is your first choice to troubleshoot an end user’s network access issue. All you need is the username to start with.

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As you can see from the chart above, Prime User 360° View shows clearly that this particular user’s access difficulty is related to 802.1x authentication. With that information, you can complete your troubleshooting by determining whether the issue was due to user credentials, 802.1x supplicant, or your Radius server or switch/authenticator configuration.

In last week’s blog, I discussed how Prime can perform in-depth traffic analysis and enable end-to-end AVC features to ensure application performance. The same tools can be used for any infrastructure related network issue troubleshooting.  The chart below shows Prime’s deep packet level troubleshooting capability that you can use to drill down to every packet.

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To see how Prime provides data center management capabilities including support for Cisco UCS servers and Nexus switches, check out this Prime Infrastructure 2.2 At-A-Glance: Extending One Management to the Data Center.

Rapid identification and resolution of user access and network problem. This is what you can get from Prime Infrastructure. Prime makes network troubleshooting an easy task.

I’ll talk to you next week about how Prime helps you monitor and maintain your network health.


Steven Song

Business Manager