PRTG Mini Probes - Part 1: The PRTG Mobile Probe for Android
Turn Your Smartphone Into a Mobile Measuring Device
About half a year ago, we asked you to help us beta test our new PRTG Mobile Probe for Android. Since then the mobile probe has left beta status and offers you a whole new world of monitoring possibilities—and we are pretty excited about it! Well, of course we are. Being the developers, you would expect that kind of enthusiasm, but also our customers gave us great feedback and presented really interesting applications. Now the PRTG Mobile Probe has been officially released and we want to mark this occasion by showing you how to unlock its full potential, and how you can put it to use in order to enhance your monitoring strategy.
This is, by the way, only the first part of an article series on the new PRTG Mini Probe, which enables you to create a probe that is completely tailored to your own specific needs. It, for example, allows you to gather data with almost any kind of system like Linux or JMX. Also the PRTG Mobile Probe is based on the Mini Probe API and demonstrates what you can achieve with this feature.
In a Nutshell: What Is a Mobile Probe?
The PRTG Mobile Probe for Android is a utilization of the new PRTG Mini Probe interface and enables you to gather local monitoring data with your mobile device in a quick and easy way. The kind of collected data depends on the device you use: The Android world is a very heterogeneous environment and offers almost any kind of device from a large variety of manufacturers—from budget phones to high-end tablet PCs. This also means that the device doesn't necessarily provide an identical set of hardware sensors, so with one device you might be able to monitor the temperature of its environment, and with another one you won't. Typical values you could measure with your phone or tablet are:
Connection times from your device to an email server
Geo tracking data
Environmental data (temperature, light, pressure, etc.)
There are several possible scenarios in which monitoring from a mobile point of view might come in handy:
You have equipped your sales force with brand-new tablets and want to keep track of CPU and memory usage as well as required disk space in order to determine if the hardware meets the requirements of the field?
You want to track the location of your moving assets, for example, a fleet of trucks?
You're preparing a new WiFi network and want a quick test to see if the coverage in certain areas is sufficient, or if you need to install another set of repeaters?
Anywhere you need to keep a mobile perspective, the PRTG Mobile Probe for Android can enhance your monitoring experience. Now, let's get started...
How Do You Setup Your Mobile Probe?
Installing the mobile probe on your smartphone is easy as pie: All you need to do is visit the Google Play Store, download the PRTG Mobile Probe for Android and install it on your device. It requires Android 2.0+ to be installed, so dust off your old smartphones and get started!
In order to use the mobile probe, you have to allow mini probes and "any" IPs to connect to your PRTG server in the Probe Connection Settings of your PRTG installation and ensure that the PRTG Core server (version 13.4.7 or later) is accessible from the network your device is connected to.
Now you can link the mobile probe with your PRTG installation by simply entering the address of your PRTG server (it has to be accessible via HTTPS) and the corresponding access key into the mobile probe. The PRTG web interface then asks you to acknowledge the new probe connection—and voilà, you now can see your smartphone in the device tree with a preconfigured set of sensors.
The mobile probe immediately starts monitoring your device and sending data to your PRTG installation. Of course, you can individually define the monitoring interval in your mobile probe's settings which is relevant for limiting battery usage and bandwidth consumption.
How to Track Geo Location Data?
The PRTG Mobile Probe for Android makes it really easy to track the geo location of your mobile device. With this feature, you can see the current location of your device and also the route it has taken to get there. PRTG draws the route directly into the Geo Map of your mobile probe device.
In order to being able to track location data, you first have to create a location sensor on the mobile probe device in PRTG. Then you can specify the location display within the settings of the probe device, for example, how many way points will be shown, or change the appearance of the geo tracker (color, opacity, width). When you're finished, PRTG will draw the movement of your mobile device into the corresponding probe device's geo map. You can also find additional information in the graphs next to the map, for example, an indicator for the speed of the movement. A suitable application might be a logistics company that wants to integrate the location of their fleet of trucks into their monitoring solution. The possibilities are endless—so the next time you'll go for a run, don't forget to fire up your mobile probe first!
When it comes to monitoring environmental values, there are several different approaches—all of them require a dedicated piece of hardware that provides sensors measuring the environment's temperature, pressure, or humidity.
With the PRTG Mobile Probe for Android, you can now monitor the environment without any additional hardware. It enables you to keep track of environmental values like, for example, intensity of light, temperature and even pressure or humidity, if your device supports the measurement of these values.
The possibilities of what you can actually monitor with the PRTG Mobile Probe for Android are directly linked to the hardware sensors which your device offers. Besides geo tracking, WiFi coverage, and environmental data, you can also keep a close eye on your phone itself and, for example, monitor its battery status.
Now you know about the technical monitoring possibilities which the PRTG Mobile Probe for Android offers. We're sure you can think of a vast number of application scenarios for this new feature. As always: The Paessler team is curious of what you come up with! So go ahead and tell us how and where you use the mobile probe, what ideas you got for future usage scenarios, and if there is anything you'd like to see in upcoming revisions: firstname.lastname@example.org
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