How mPulse works

mPulse gives you the power to collect and analyze detailed information about your users' experience whenever they visit your site or native application.

When a visitor looks at a page on your site, mPulse captures over 200 business and performance facts about that experience directly from the visitor’s browser or mobile application, and sends the data back to mPulse so you can see how your site's performing for real users, in real time.

With mPulse you can collect performance timers such as bandwidth and page load times as well as business metrics like bounce rate, conversion rates, or order totals. mPulse also gathers mobile user metrics like user location, device type, carrier speed and application usage.

As soon as your first mPulse beacon arrives, system dashboards are instantly populated, giving you real-time views of real user activity at a glance. Widgets show a breakdown of the data by segments such as page groups, browser type, bandwidth distribution, and geography. You can create custom dashboards that let you slice and dice your data in a variety of ways.

How does mPulse collect data?

mPulse uses a bit of JavaScript code (mPulse snippet) that includes the boomerang JavaScript (boomerang.js) library to collect web performance data from a user’s web browser. That data is sent back to Akamai on the mPulse beacon.

What's the mPulse beacon?

The mPulse beacon is an object that contains all of the business and performance information about a visitor's experience while they're looking at your website.

The beacon collects the following data and sends it back to mPulse for analysis in the mPulse dashboards. See this list of available parameters for complete details on what the mPulse beacon collects for web apps.
  • Top-level (for example, domain, timestamp, and IP address)
  • Session (for example, session ID and session start time)
  • User agent (for example, browser family, major version, and device type)
  • Geographical (for example, country and region)
  • Bandwidth (for example, in kbps and bandwidth block)
  • Timers (for example, response time and DOM loaded)
  • Custom metrics (for example, conversion and revenue)
  • Custom dimensions (for example, store number, logged in status, or origin server)
  • Third party analytics (for example, Google, Adobe, and IBM Digital Analytics)
  • Resource timing data (for example, startTime, dns_start, and dns_end)

How does the mPulse snippet work?

The mPulse snippet creates an empty inline frame (IFrame) that's typically used to embed an HTML page within the current HTML page. In mPulse, the IFrame is used to wrap together the snippet's components (for example, boomerang.js, API key, and domain name) and your web page's performance results to generate and deliver the mPulse beacon to a collector (for example, an Akamai edge server) where your performance data is processed, stored, and displayed in the mPulse dashboards.

How does mPulse work if Akamai delivers my web traffic?

When you create a new property in Property Manager, the mPulse behavior is automatically turned on (enabled) in the property configuration with a default (blank) mPulse app API key. Leaving the mPulse API key field blank creates a new mPulse app that corresponds to the new property.

After the mPulse-enabled property is active on the Akamai production network, all of your data (beacons) are directed to that mPulse app. Your mPulse app appears in mPulse on your Home page under the Apps menu, and will have the same name as the mPulse-enabled property in Property Manager.

If you have an existing mPulse app that you’d like to use for your web traffic, enter the app’s API key into the mPulse behavior, then activate the property configuration on the Akamai production network.

Once your first mPulse-enabled property is active on the Akamai network, it takes about 15 minutes to deploy the configuration to the edge servers and to generate data. This depends on the amount of traffic being sent and the time to populate the data in the portal. If you experience delays greater than 4 hours, open a case to contact Akamai Support.

Whenever a visitor requests a page from your site, the edge server injects the mPulse snippet on the page and sends the page to your visitor's device to collect performance data. The visitor's browser sends the data back (in a beacon) to the edge server where the Akamai network processes and stores the data for performance analysis in the mPulse dashboards (see Explore mPulse system dashboards and widgets).

What if I'm not an Akamai CDN customer?

Even if Akamai isn't delivering your web traffic, you can still use mPulse to collect and analyze performance data. The workflow is pretty much the same, but with a few minor exceptions. To start, you'll need to create an mPulse app, then either manually place the mPulse snippet on your site's pages at the origin server or use a tag manager for that task. Instead of the Akamai Platform processing and storing your data, you can choose an mPulse collector of your liking for those tasks. For details, see Set up mPulse at the origin.

Tell me more

For general information and frequently asked questions about mPulse, visit Community.