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The IP traffic jam: will new wireless solutions catch up with demand?

Servers, Storage and Networking | Posted on August 15, 2016 by Chris Rainone

With larger applications, more users and ever-growing data, will new tech solutions catch up with demand?

Applications such as video and collaboration are bandwidth intensive and add large amounts of traffic to the network. Stepping away from Unified Communications, users access local servers and storage for various applications more often. This results in a large amount of traffic not just on the wired network, the WLAN as well.

According to Cisco, traffic from wireless and mobile devices will account for two-thirds of total IP traffic by 2020.

By 2020, wired devices will account for 34 percent of IP traffic. Wi-Fi and mobile devices will account for 66 percent of IP traffic. In 2015, wired devices accounted for the majority of IP traffic, at 52 percent.

More wireless traffic, means more challenges for IT, including:

  1. Meeting higher expectations for peak network performance
  2. Dealing with increased velocity for business demands
  3. Reliably connecting employees and devices for business critical applications

Adding new infrastructure or replacing older infrastructure with higher-capacity equipment is the answer to supporting this additional traffic. Fortunately, there is new higher-speed equipment available to do the job.

Cisco wireless IP traffic Softchoice chart

As the diagram above shows, as the bandwidth and user demands grew in the past, the wireless infrastructure grew to support them.

Today is no different. With each evolution of the Wi-Fi standard, the network traffic speed increased to provide a better user experience.

To handle the network application traffic loads of today, we have 802.11ac the industry’s Wi-Fi standard.

Today, 802.11ac Wave 1 is still being implemented in clients’ environments.

It only took 2 years for Wave 2 to come out after Wave 1. While in the past, it took about 4-6 years for a new standard. With the most recent enhancements, I would suggest looking at the Wave 2 APs if you have the budget in 2016.

A large portion of client devices don’t support 802.11ac Wave 2 today.

As you may already know, products compatible with this new standard are already shipping.This new technology will dramatically increase network capacity and deliver gigabit speeds to happy Wi-Fi users.

Client devices NEED to support the 802.11ac standard in order to utilize the speed increase.

As you can see in the diagram above, in 2015/2016, we extended the 802.11ac standard to its 2nd Wave. Wave 2 of 802.11ac adds some incredible capabilities that observe a nice boost of speed by about 80% over Wave 1. The technical reasons are because of Multi-User MIMO (MU-MIMO), Wider RF Channels, and Four Spatial Streams. We aren’t going to bore you with that level of detail here. Our architect will.

All in all, clients should consider upgrading or building on your existing wireless environment and it should be with 802.11ac Wave 2 APs.

As said above, it still needs to gain traction, but the future-proofing of the most up-to-date wireless standard will benefit you.

What is Softchoice doing to help?

We understand that it can be a difficult task to plan, deploy, and efficiently manage an ideal wireless network. That’s why some of our clients need assistance with the design and planning of a wireless solution that fits their requirements today and tomorrow.

If you don’t have the resources or know-how in your organization, consider a partner. Softchoice will not only help you with the planning phase, but also the implementation; from mounting the APs, to configuring a wireless network that will perform at its absolute peak. Our team will also make sure our clients receive proper training to efficiently manage a new wireless network well into the future.

If you want to dive further into this, feel free to contact me or post a comment below and I’ll respond!

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