Is Your Network Ready for a Mobile Workforce or not? Is your infrastructure ready to accept a large number of mobile devices? Nowadays, all kinds of organizations are going mobile, such as governments, healthcare providers, and schools. Yeah, with the fast development of internet and IT, most organizations today deploy mobile solutions with new devices and unique applications that require close examination of the core security and network infrastructure for successful adoption. A coordinated mobility plan addresses secure network infrastructure as well as necessary bandwidth requirements.
Companies are inundated with mobile devices, high-bandwidth applications and a multitude of access requirements, such as cloud resources, streaming video and video conferencing. This puts a tremendous amount of stress on an organization’s existing network infrastructure. For example, it is estimated that by 2013, 90 percent of enterprise network traffic will be comprised of video collaboration technologies, such as video conferencing and video telephony, according to a Cisco study.
Organizations are also increasingly turning to high-definition pervasive video applications to improve inter- and intra-company collaboration and video-enabled mobile endpoints, which adds an additional load on network infrastructure. With video expected to comprise such a large portion of your network traffic, it is important to assess your network bandwidth capacity and quality of service requirements.
Understanding Your Network’s Capacity
Performing a capacity planning analysis (CPA) helps organizations develop a deep understanding of their network. A CPA is a technical assessment that simulates traffic on your network and measures its effects. This assessment determines the proper network capacity needed to continue performing at expected service levels. As part of a CPA, you will assess current and planned high-bandwidth applications (mobile or otherwise), your current network upgrade plans, and how many endpoint devices are connected to your network. This process will help you plan architecture to meet current and future service levels. A CPA is a four-step process.
Step one: Take an Inventory of Network Data Traffic and Mobile Endpoint Access
To understand your network and figure out if it is ready for mobility, you should start by identifying the types of data running through your network and the types of endpoints accessing your network.
Most networks support at least two types of data and possibly a third. The first type is business applications that are not in real time, such as email, web applications, and business software (e.g., Microsoft Office). The second type is voice traffic, which must be in real-time but requires comparatively little bandwidth. A third data type is video. Some organizations may not allow video on their network now, but may in the future. If your network doesn’t have enough capacity, video performance will suffer.
Finding out what mobile devices and applications are in use will help you understand device profiles, application use, core device security and other network demands.
Step 2: Evaluate and Document Company Expectations
Insufficient broadband infrastructure is a significant barrier for many organizations when it comes to network capacity required to support mobility. Inadequate Wi-Fi bandwidth can also pose a challenge for the mobile workforce.
To best evaluate and document your company’s expectations for your network, it is wise to determine the implications of your growth strategies and changes in the short, mid and long term by asking these questions:
- How many mobile devices does my organization have and plan to have?
- When will video be used?
- What kind of video do we have? Streaming, collaborative or both?
- Are we positioned to adapt and keep pace with changes in technology?
Step three: Determine Key Elements of Your Network
Many businesses perform a CPA and find that they need to build capacity by upgrading or adding network infrastructure. If the network needs to be upgraded or adapted, determine how you want to accomplish these tasks. You will also need to find funding for the project and set up a timeline. WAN/LAN optimization can help you make the most of your existing bandwidth.
Step 4: Create New or Refine Existing Policy for Quality of Service (QOS)
QOS is intelligence built in to every network to recognize and prioritize traffic, providing the appropriate level of bandwidth and responsiveness for each data type. QOS features take time to build and implement, and are customized based on the unique needs of your network. QOS policy ensures all data types match expected service levels. You must find the right balance between the different types of data traffic.
Can Your Network Keep Up with Demand?
Employees want “anytime, anywhere” access to corporate data and to watch videos 24/7 on their mobile devices, which puts your network under great stress.
It is now common for users to have two—or more— Wi-Fi devices, such as a laptop, smartphone and tablet. And they may be using multiple devices simultaneously. What’s more, the new mobile devices really are mobile. Users may be streaming video or making voice calls over Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) or video calls via a Wi-Fi connection while on the go. By contrast, although laptops are portable, in practice, they’re usually stationary when being used.
Some IT managers report that mobile devices are more “aggressive” in Wi-Fi behavior than laptops, often grabbing an access point and hanging on to it, when it should shift to another. This type of issue is best addressed on the infrastructure side since only a small amount of modifications can be made on the device itself.
The new Wi-Fi clients create different usage patterns. A colleague using only a laptop typically creates short bursts of data being transferred, with long “silences” between them. But now, a user could be streaming a training video via YouTube on a smartphone or streaming video to a tablet, while working on the laptop.
Also, real-time communication is taking off in a much bigger way. Organizations now see VoIP as well as other forms of video chat being used more frequently.
Understanding Your Network and Planning for the Future
As your organization considers the impacts of video and mobility on the current and future state of your network, a CPA is a good place to start. Ideally, an integrated mobility blueprint or plan that aligns IT silos is the best way for an IT organization to support the needs of their business units.
—Original reading from focus.com
A Video Show: Is Your Network Ready for Mobile Devices?
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