Tag Archives: spectrum

Streaming Video vs The Corporate WLAN

Sometimes words are just not enough, but seeing is believing.

The picture, above, shows the results of a little lab test I did to see just how much of the available wireless spectrum streaming video would consume. For this test, I recorded three seperate video sources:

  1. YouTube 1080p.
  2. Netflix using the Good Quality setting – upto 0.3 GB/hour.
  3. Netflix using the Best Quality setting – upto 1 GB/hour.

A proper explanation of everything shown in the picture is a bit beyond the purpose of this blog post, but I will try to highlight the important bits:

  • There is a noticable increase in wireless activity during each video. In fact, the duty cycle during the YouTube video was up to 73 percent! Put another way, anyone else trying to access the network via that access point would have been very annoyed.
  • Even at the Best Quality setting, Netflix was not as ‘spectrum-unfriendly’ as YouTube.

As we allow more and more bring your own device (BYOD) access in the enterprise, we need to make sure we have a plan or policy for dealing with this type of traffic. The spectrum available to WLANs is not limitless. Left unchecked, a few streaming videos at the office could have a major impact on the proper functioning of wireless applications and VOIP capabilities. What’s your strategy for dealing with the type of traffic? Do you block it entirely? Do you block it on the WLAN and allow it on the LAN? Rate limit? Whatever you decide, you want to make sure it is you making the decision and not the BYOD devices.

Dan C.

If you have any questions, comments, or feedback, we’d love to hear from you in our comments sections.

Bonus Question: Based on the picture, can you determine which 802.11 standard was being used and what my theoretical maximum bandwidth was at the time?

Thoughts After Day 3 of Aruba WLAN Training

Course complete!. All the gear is factory reset, packed away, and the test has been written and passed. It was a fun three days of configuring, tweaking, and experimenting with wireless controllers, access points, and AirWave, but all fun things must come to an end.

The last day of the 3-day Implementing Aruba WLANs course was a bit like a catch-all day for the topics that didn’t fit nicely into the other sections. We covered captive portals, remote APs, Adaptive Radio Management, and Spectrum Analysis. Given the wide choice of topics, it was actually a little difficult to come up with just a few thoughts based on the days activities, but here goes:

  1. As wireless vendors roll out amazing features like remote APs, which allows the office to follow the users regardless of where they are physically located, we will see WLANs positioned nicely to start displacing wires in a more permanent way at head offices and branch offices alike. The ability to control authentication, access, and encryption for wired and wireless users regardless of where they are is very empowering for organizations and I can’t see how this won’t be a standard offering by all wireless vendors in the very near future. I can already think of a few WLAN vendors who have rolled out remote AP offerings so, as far as I’m concerned, the flood gates have been opened.
  2. Spectrum analysis is a cool feature which can be quite handy when it comes to keeping your WLAN running optimally. However, I can’t over-stress the importance of not relying too heavily on having your tools do all the troubleshooting and interpretion for you. Some decisions can be made fairly accurately by tools while others still require human interpretation. The introduction of spectrum analysis by a few large WLAN vendors is definitely a good thing but, like all things in IT, you need to take the time to learn what the tools output actually means so that you can make educated desicions regarding the behaviour and configuration of your WLAN deployment. Spectrum analysis is meant to provide more information which should help us make more informed decisions; the decisions still need to come from a trained WLAN professional though.

I would definitely recommend the Implementing Aruba WLANs course for anyone involved in deploying or administering a small to medium-sized Aruba deployment. For larger deployments involving multiple sites and controllers I suggest taking your training beyond ACMA certification and checking out the Scalable WLAN Design & Implementation course which will prepare you for the Aruba Certified Mobility Professional (ACMP) certification.

Dan C.

If you have any questions about wireless training or are planning a wireless deployment and would like to have a discussion about it, please feel free to contact us or post a comment.