Case Study

Medical School Improves Student Digital Experience With Visibility

Medical School Improves Student Digital Experience With Visibility


The Challenge
  • Volatility in network and application utilization in medical school network during COVID 
  • Lacked visibility to help in troubleshooting issues and planning IT initiatives throughout its data center, cloud, and SaaS/UCaaS environments 
The Solution
  • nGeniusONE® Service Assurance platform 
  • InfiniStreamNG® software appliances 
  • nGenius® Packet Flow Operating System (PFOS) for Certified 5000 Series Packet Brokers 
  • NETSCOUT® VaaS support 
The Results
  • Protected quality performance of faculty - and student-facing learning and VoIP applications 
  • Achieve a quick time for value of their new service assurance solution during volatile COVID restrictions 

Customer Profile

This nationally ranked and internationally recognized school of medicine has been educating thousands of medical students for decades. They are a top university for academics, research, and community impact. The residents and research fellows benefit from working with local world-class teaching hospitals offering specialties in multiple areas, including cardiology, neurology, cancer, pediatrics, and orthopedics. 

Like many educational institutions, the school’s network and data center operations are critical to delivering successful academic services and communications between faculty, students, and university staff. Their IT’s team’s commitment to maintaining high standards in digital technologies led to implementation of a software-defined networking (SDN) infrastructure to support their learning management systems (LMS) as well as their business applications, which are hosted in their data center, in the cloud, and with partners. 

The Challenge

Throughout the COVID pandemic, use of university applications and networking services shifted a number of times in several ways, ranging from users being fully on campus, to some on campus and some off-site, to most accessing resources remotely. This created a variety of challenges for meeting the high-quality standards for responsiveness, availability, and reliability in performance of their services. Users required quality digital experience with their LMS application to turn in assignments and report grades; Microsoft Office 365 for email, collaboration, and content applications; and for voice and collaboration services, like MS Teams, Zoom, Google Meet, and others. 

The IT team identified a gap in application-level visibility into these services that made it difficult to assure quality of experience and troubleshoot issues when they occurred. Additionally, they wanted to be able to work cooperatively, in an informed manner, with some of their third-party technology vendors delivering WAN and Internet access, cloud services, software as a service (SaaS) applications, voice, and unified communications as a service (UCaaS) applications. 

As the school’s small but dedicated staff was predominantly working remotely due to COVID restrictions, they also needed a way to quickly get the service assurance solution implemented and operational to realize the value of the new visibility capabilities. 

Solution in Action

The IT medical school’s IT team leveraged input and advice from their counterparts at one of their associated teaching hospitals in selecting an inclusive network and application performance management solution. Their partner hospital had experience using NETSCOUT’s service assurance solution to provide visibility throughout their data center, cloud, and SaaS/UCaaS environments, which was the same goal for the medical school and their monitoring needs for all their mission-critical, student-impacting applications. 

The medical school’s IT team selected NETSCOUT’s nGeniusONE Service Assurance solution for real-time analysis with smart data from InfiniStreamNG (ISNG) appliances monitoring strategic points throughout the university’s data center and network environment. The addition of NETSCOUT’s  Visibility as a Service (VaaS) support organization was included to ensure quicker implementation, configuration, and operation of the new visibility solution. It was essential to show rapid time to value in monitoring and troubleshooting of the student services to achieve the highest-quality performance levels. 

The medical school’s IT team also selected the NETSCOUT Packet Flow Operating System (PFOS) Software for Certified PFS 5010 for deployment in the data center, tapping the WAN and firewall interfaces, key data center core interfaces, and wireless access controller (WAC) links to pass traffic packets from the network to the ISNG appliance for real-time visibility, triage, troubleshooting, and capacity planning analysis. They are also spanning their border leaf switches for application/server farm traffic to assist in troubleshooting and user experience assurance. 

Of note, early use of the solution, with the expertise of NETSCOUT’s VaaS team, has provided valuable information in working with some of their WAN and SaaS/UCaaS partners. By sharing analysis from the nGeniusONE solution, the organizations have made some technology decisions and design plans based on actual traffic evidence regarding how their applications and network are used throughout a school day and week. Additionally, as there have been sporadic, difficult-to-diagnose issues impacting the school’s data center-based Voice over IP (VoIP) services, the NETSCOUT VaaS team has provided targeted, in-depth protocol and media-specific details that can help the school’s IT team better assure call quality and stable connectivity. 

The Results

The IT team is depending on their NETSCOUT deployment of nGeniusONE, ISNG appliances and nGenius PFS packet brokers for visibility and analysis of their student- and faculty-facing applications. To quickly realize the value of this new implementation, the medical school’s IT organization is working with the NETSCOUT VaaS team, whose skills and best-practices expertise are helping the medical school ensure students, faculty, and staff are all receiving high-quality user experience. The IT team is also learning how to use the nGeniusONE solution from the VaaS team the more they work together. 

In resolving some of the intermittent issues with the school’s VoIP service, the joint collaboration demonstrated early success between the IT staff and their new partners in the NETSCOUT VaaS team. 

Bottom line - for this medical school, with a faculty preparing students to become future doctors, use of high-performing applications at any time of the day or night is imperative. The nGeniusONE Service Assurance solution operated by the NETSCOUT VaaS team 24 x 7 x 365 is helping ensure performance and availability for this essential community of users.