Mobile Enterprise: Is BYOD Straining your WiFi?

Xirrus_XR_7600_AngleUp_LEDonThe proliferation of tablets, smartphones, and other mobile devices has increased dramatically in recent years, and use of these ‘consumer class’ products on enterprise networks is nearly ubiquitous. A recent study showed 90% of organizations polled allow some level of personally owned technology to be used — a phenomenon commonly referred to as BYOD (Bring Your Own Device). This growth in use of mobile devices has resulted in a dramatic shift of emphasis on wireless networks since these devices do not have wired Ethernet ports. As a result, wireless vendors are being challenged to deliver wireless solutions designed for tomorrow, not yesterday.

A recent article from Gartner stated “By 2015, 80% of newly installed wireless networks will be obsolete because of a lack of proper planning.”

Anthony Charlton, Director of Marketing at Net Essence Ltd identifies the major failings in these wireless deployments for many businesses today: “The vast majority of wireless networks being installed this year are out-of-date the moment they are switched on for the first time. Many more will be obsolete within two years.” The reason for this obsolescence he states, is that current planning is not taking into account two key factors; advancements in technology and a rapidly growing demand for high capacity coverage for BYOD users.

Basic Design Considerations for Density
Designing for the greater densities deals with not just the number of devices, but also understanding variable device capabilities and following best practices when designing the network. Some key best practices include:

Maximizing the Use of 5GHz
There is up to seven times as much bandwidth available in the 5GHz vs. 2.4GHz unlicensed spectrums used by Wi-Fi, as well as much less non-Wi-Fi interference. As a result, optimizing use of 5GHz is a fundamental requirement for achieving optimal Wi-Fi performance. As many Wi-Fi APs (radios) as possible should be set to operate in 5GHz. Both spectrums must be supported in most wireless networks, but it is key that all new wireless infrastructure is designed with a 5GHz focus.

Design for Appropriate Signal Strength
The Wi-Fi signal level design criteria typically used for laptops is not sufficient for tablets and smartphones, especially when they will be deployed in dense numbers. Since these devices transmit at lower signal levels and have inferior antennas compared to laptops, networks must be designed with a stronger signal to ensure maximum data rates.

Provide Sufficient Radio BandwidthXirrus_XR_7630_Inside_Top
Because of lower transmit power and limited 802.11n data rate support, tablets and smartphones will typically achieve much lower traffic throughput performance compared with laptops. More Wi-Fi radios are therefore required to support these devices, as a general rule of thumb, design the wireless network at a ratio of 15 per 5GHz radio and 8 per 2.4GHz radio for a typical office environment in order to meet high performance requirements.

Introducing Xirrus
Organizations depend on high-bandwidth voice, video, and data for BYOD environments and Xirrus delivers it. Providing wired-like capacity and reliability, security, and performance under the most demanding conditions. For a free site survey and to find out more about the many advantages of deploying Xirrus in your organization, go to www.net-essence.co.uk/xirrus.

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