Ultimately my question is about the choice to distinguish between “online” and “offline” clients in the web admin interface, and more specifically the lack of choice on my part as to how that determination is made and reflected in the clients list. The problem I am facing is that I am unable to use the clients list for any practical purpose because the infomation I need is now moving around every few seconds and bouncing between the “online” and “offline” sections. In order to read words and numbers, and to select text on my screen, such as hostnames or IP / MAC address, and to copy that text to the clipboard in my OS, I need that text to remain stationary. It would be useful to me to have an indication of whether a particular client’s link was down, or if packets were being dropped, or if a host was unreachable, and if any of those conditions were true and it was represented by their status being “offline” as opposed to “online” that would be fine. Although I personally would architect this information in the UI differently I am fine with the fact that there is an immutable online and offline section to the clients list. The part I don’t understand is why I don’t know what information is used to make that determination of online vs. offline and why I do not see any way to affect that. I also don’t see a way to affect the frequency with which that determination is made and how (or if) it’s reflected in the clients list.
So from my perspective there exists an arbitrary method of deciding how my clients are determined to be online or offline, that determination is being made and/or reflected by the UI in almost-real-time with a frequency of about 3-5 seconds, and the binary state of whether the client is “onlne” or “offline” is displayed to me by placing it in the top or bottom section on the page.
My clients list is in a state of constant motion. It only takes a split second for me to glance at a hostname and it’s corresponding IP address (on a subnet I have defined myself) and then commit the last number of that IP(v4) address to memory. Despite that I only need a fraction of a second to do that I am still missing it on occasion because I am dubiously tasked with tracking the information as it moves to various positions in the list and running a constant race to obtain the information I need and verify that it is correct before it “disappears” or has another client’s information take the same place on my screen. In the time it takes me to gain enough information about a clients MAC address, then hit the button to ADD a reserved IP address, then expand the dropdown menu for static IP address so that I can find the MAC address for my particular client and glance back to verify that this is indeed the correct one - that information is long gone - and this is considering that I have streamlined this part of my workflow by opening the LAN page of the Network section in the web admin in a separate window alongside the window I have open which contains the client list.
I understand that I am not always aware of every use case and sometimes what is useful to one admin is not useful to another depending on the situation. But I think my use case - needing to determine what IP address the DHCP server assigned to a new device on the network and copy it to my clipboard so I can paste it into a browser’s address bar or a field in the UI of an application, or what the MAC address of a new device is so that I can choose that MAC address from a list and assign a static IP to it - is pretty common and would be best facilitated by a table of data that is not outright kinetic… if it must be animated at all.
An indicator for link up/down, packet loss, and host offline that does not move from it’s position in a table of data but instead changes color or has an area that is a placeholder for a mark that is or is not present would be perfectly functional. Sorting the list by that data could definitely be useful. Alerts to these conditions especially for extended periods would be very helpful.
If someone could please help me understand… how is the binary determination made in respect to clients that are “online” or “offline”, what is the value of splitting the list or table of data based on that determination, and what is the use case for having the rows of this list or table of data shifting position every few seconds based on a data source with no known parameters that is also not one of the sort criteria corresponding to a column in the data table?
Thanks in advance.