Friday, March 8, 2013

Scary numbers expose the bandwidth-hogging devices that will cripple your network


A new research report culls mobile subscriber data to show usage patterns and what impact phones, tablets and video have on IT resources. Take a deep breath.


I still remember a time when I used Internet caf├ęs and occasionally even fax machines to work on the road. Mobile workforces aren’t new; the proliferation of smartphones, tablets and bring-your-own-device policies is just making mobile workplaces the new normal.

But mobility puts an added strain on the network — or, in the case of legacy networks, an overwhelming burden. At the same time, your users expect the same quality of experience that they’ve always had.
The Citrix ByteMobile Mobile Analytics Report (for the first quarter of 2013) looks at subscriber behavior that determines the quality of their experience with today’s mobile data services.

If you’re looking to improve the mobile experience for your users or better manage increasing volumes of traffic, the findings provide some insight into how people use their mobile devices and the impact this has on the network. It can also help you shape mobile policies to take into account how users typically access data on the go and what they’re consuming.

The report found that, on average, a network-connected tablet generates three times more data than a smartphone. It also found that an iOS-based tablet generates more than three times the data of an Android-based tablet. Android smartphones generate five megabytes of data per day, while iOS-based smartphones generate 13 megabytes per day.

Despite low usage, the report found that video generates more than 50 per cent of total mobile data traffic on wireless networks. So if only 20 per cent of users are generating more than 50 per cent of mobile data traffic, what does that mean when more of your users start viewing video? It doesn’t take a mathematician to figure this out: It will make your network slow as molasses.
And the problem is only going to get worse. Already, employees are streaming video and collaborating with their colleagues over the corporate network — often using mobile devices. And they’re probably accessing the network with their own devices, too.

Don’t have a BYOD policy? Doesn’t matter — employees are using their personal devices at work anyway, whether or not you have a formal policy around it. And if you do have a policy, are you supporting iOS or Android? Smartphones or tablets? Or a combination of operating systems and form factors?
Existing legacy networks weren’t designed to handle this new mobile reality. And we all know the consequences: disrupted streaming and dropped voice and video calls. Not only is this an annoyance to users, but it also makes the business look unprofessional.
So as you develop a mobile strategy and look at BYOD, don’t forget to consider the implications that will have on your network. It’s like bungee jumping without checking to see if the cords can support your weight — it’s just not a smart idea.