WiFi is changing: 802.11ac brings speeds that range from a bit over 433 megabits per second to 3.47 gigabits per second. In 802.11ac Wave 2, the maximum speed jumps to 6.93 gigabits per second. But 802.11ac Wave 3 is coming. It will take that high speed and provide it to multiple users simultaneously. The bandwidth requirements on the total infrastructure are going up dramatically.
Is your infrastructure ready?
A great deal of attention has been paid to the network infrastructure required to fully support 802.11ac Wave 1 and Wave 2. Many organizations that committed to the new wireless standard have begun upgrading their cabled network infrastructure to 10-gigabit Ethernet in order to properly support the access points. Along with the boost in network speed, they’re updating their PoE (Power over Ethernet) components to provide the higher voltage required by the newer, more powerful access points.
Why you should look at every application like a video-streaming app
Video streaming is both the most difficult application for many servers and a common application in the modern enterprise. The vast majority of the Internet’s traffic is video, and organizations, no matter how disciplined, are also very video-centric in their network traffic.
Successfully serving video streams means:
- A high-bandwidth network channel (think 10-gigabit Ethernet through at least one port)
- A CPU and GPU that can handle both video rendering and network management
- Storage that can quickly move data off storage devices and get it moving toward the network
Where to start
The place to start with network infrastructure is the server since that’s where you can most easily upgrade performance. Next comes the storage interface. This is where data either transfer on and off the disk drives in time to make it to the customer without pauses or delay.
Finally, it’s worth paying significant attention to the CPU itself, with special attention to the number of cores in the CPUs. Moving data in and out of the system can place huge burdens on the CPU. Having a separate CPU core (or two) to devote to data transfer can make the entire application infrastructure display perform in ways that keep your user community happy because of the performance they can expect.
WiFi has become expected — and good performance is something that employees take for granted. If you pay attention to the configuration of your servers, the servers won’t be the bottleneck when you decide to move to 802.11ac Wave 2 or beyond. And having employees talk about the great WiFi at your facilities is much better than listening to them talk about how much better it could be. No joke.
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