With the advent of next-generation managed Wi-Fi and 5G LTE mobile networks, demand for high speed wireless data is increasing exponentially. The majority of Internet traffic is passing over wireless broadband networks – people, cars, trains, planes, and a multitude of ‘things’ from CCTV to parking meters in smart cities; all online, all the time.
It’s increasingly important then to understand how well wireless networks perform – whether coverage indoors or outdoors in a particular area is contiguous; what throughput is available; how one provider compares to another, and how network performance and quality may change over distance and time.
Nubolabs Survey addresses these issues by combining the mobility of low-cost, consumer Android smartphones and the scalability of the cloud to deliver the most flexible, professional way to measure, analyze and compare the performance of cellular and Wi-Fi networks.
Survey provides an elegant, pocket-sized solution for wireless network testing that requires neither expensive hardware nor complicated software. Running on any modern Android smartphone, Survey works in conjunction with the Io Analytics platform to capture everything you need to know about any cellular or Wi-Fi network, indoors and out.
How Survey works.
Nubolabs Survey is a sophisticated yet easy-to-use application designed for wireless telecoms professionals. The Survey Android app gathers detailed information about your cellular data or Wi-Fi network and sends it to your Io Survey account in the cloud, where you can view the results, generate reports, and share with others. You can synchronize up to five Android devices to conduct simultaneous surveys of multiple networks to compare providers and get a deep understanding of performance, quality and possible ‘not spots’ in wireless data coverage.
Android platform for maximum flexibility
Survey is designed to run on any Android handset with version 4.0 or later. It acts as an ‘agent’ collecting information about wireless networks around it, sending this back to your secure, online account – Io Survey – where the information is analyzed and displayed. Survey is a free Android app available for download on Google Play, and requires a Personal or Professional subscription for the cloud service, conveniently priced on monthly or quarterly tariffs to match your needs. Survey supports testing Wi-Fi or cellular networks, and also differentiates between outdoor (GPS-based) and indoor (floorplan-based) modes.
Dashboard – your network connection revealed
Dashboard is main page of Survey where you can see the current network status, and start and stop surveys. The easy-to-read display shows the network signal strength and whether a data connection is available; Green for high-speed (e.g. LTE or HSPA), Yellow for low-speed (e.g. eHRPD, 1xRTT or GRPS), and Red for when it is unavailable.
The Network Mode indicator will show you when the data connection changes between different types e.g. UMTS or GRPS, so you know where problem areas might exists. You can swipe left and right on the signal graph to view the measured signal over different time scales.
More technical information about the connection is recorded by Survey including the Cell ID, device IP address, and other metrics available on the Details page.
When running a survey with Throughput testing turned on, the lower portion of the page displays the data network performance (downlink and uplink) and quality (latency). Survey also measures packet loss and jitter; all the metrics are recorded and sent to your Io Survey cloud account for further analysis.
Survey can be switched between Cellular and Wi-Fi modes, the latter enabling quality and performance testing of Wi-Fi networks – the perfect complement for small cell deployments.
Survey inside and out.
Survey is designed to work both outdoors and in. When starting a survey you can choose whether to work in Outdoor mode using GPS and mapping built into your phone. Alternatively, for indoor surveys you can load a floor plan and conduct manual tests at specific locations. This is a powerful feature for understanding network coverage, quality and performance inside office buildings, shopping malls, sports arena and other venues where network reach is critical.
Testing multiple networks? No problem.
A key feature of Survey is the ability to measure multiple networks concurrently using several Android devices, perfectly synchronized with IoSync™ – our innovative patent-pending system for conducting simultaneous surveys of different wireless networks. This feature is only available with the Survey Professional edition.
Analyzing and comparing with Io Survey.
Io Survey works within any modern browser on your tablet, notebook, laptop or desktop computer. It receives and analyzes survey information sent from Survey running on everyday Android smartphones. Io Survey is a subscription-based service available on a plan to suit your needs.
Overview is the main page of Io Survey, providing an at-a-glance view of a survey’s network metrics and location. Here you can see how one or more networks performed over time, with detailed information about signal strength, downlink and uplink speeds and latency. Discover where a network switched modes between high-speed data rates (e.g. LTE or HSPA) or lower speeds (e.g. GPRS or 1xRTT) that might impact a performance of a specific application. Survey’s simple green light / red light metrics table shows you the best and worst performing networks as you move location or click through the survey timeline. You can toggle devices on or off, and zoom into the Results graph for finer granularity to stop drop-outs or other anomalies.
The Signal page Results pane provides a close-up view of RSSI/RSRP level in dBm during the course of a survey. Roll over the graph for tool-tip feedback on each device’s signal level; click and drag to zoom in for closer look. Select Availability to identify locations where data connectivity may have failed. The Metrics pane shows the relative levels between devices, range over the survey duration, and current network mode.
Switch to the Location page for greater detail about how the networks performed in relation to geography with 2D mapping. Step through the survey route to identify spots where connection mode changes – for example from LTE to eHRPD – or where signal drops out.
Survey also supports instant export to KML format for 3D visualization in Google Earth, with network signal shown in a 3D scale and incorporating throughput test results.
The Throughput page displays information on downlink and uplinks speeds for a specific device/provider obtained during a survey, including minimum and maximum speeds obtained, and network mode. If your survey included multiple devices/providers, you can compare relative performance between providers to help choose the best carrier for your application.
Similarly the Quality page plots latency, packet loss and jitter over time – critical information for delay-sensitive applications including VoIP, VPN and video streaming.
The Metrics page compares and ranks all devices in the survey, with a color-coded table comparing the averages for all devices and enabling you to identify the best overall performer. You can also drill down to averages for each device, and see its relative ranking against others.
Share surveys with one-click publishing.
Sharing allows you to create a unique, public URL for any survey* that you can share with colleagues and customers. Alternatively Survey has integrated support for Twitter and Facebook for one-click survey sharing on social networks.
Reports – export in a variety of formats.
Reports enable you to manage and export your survey in PDF or CSV format for further analysis; you can also upload reports directly to your Dropbox™ account. Survey generates detailed, graphical PDF reports formatted for US Letter or A4 paper ideal for printing or electronic distribution to colleagues and clients. If you require more granular raw data for use in external applications like Excel, the Survey can export to CSV reports, including all the more esoteric metrics collected by the Survey app.
Devices – manage your smart devices.
Devices shows a list of the devices currently active on your account with device model, manufacturer, and IMEI. The page also shows when you last conducted a survey with that device and how many surveys the device has conducted in total. Add notes to remind you of phone numbers and other device-specific information.
Share surveys with colleagues and customers via URL link, or use Survey’s built-in Twitter or Facebook integration.
Try this online sample of a survey taken aboard a live train in the USA.
Create reports in PDF or CSV formats, and export to KML for use with Google Earth.