It’s a wireless world we live in. So much so that experts predicts traffic from wireless and mobile devices will soon exceed traffic from wired devices. By 2019, wired devices will account for 33 percent of IP traffic, while Wi-Fi and mobile devices will account for 66 percent of IPtraffic. In 2014, wired devices represented the majority of traffic at 54 percent, according to the Cisco Visual Networking Index.
The increase in wireless traffic will be related to users carrying multiple mobile devices, as well as the arrival of smart sensors and instrumentation as part of the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT). In addition, high bandwidth voice and video apps will be streaming over wireless. Luckily, to accommodate all of this wireless traffic, there’s the newly adopted 802.11ac standard, the first Wi-Fi standard to provide gigabit performance.
802.11ac uses the technology concepts that were pioneered with 802.11n, but increases the maximum data rate from 600Mbps to 1300Mbps and eventually to 6.93Gbps. Now, manufacturers are looking at fast and furious untethered terrain. The issue, however, is in the deployment.
While the 802.11ac wireless standard promises to triple the speed of Wi-Fi network connections, unless the entire network infrastructure (both wired and wireless) can handle those speeds, end users aren’t likely to experience the full benefit. In other words, you can’t swap out an old access point with a new one supporting 802.11ac and call it a day, as there are existing infrastructure constraints that could impede overall network performance.
Organizations upgrading to the faster standard need a holistic way to plan, analyze and troubleshoot the entire network infrastructure, rather than relying on multiple point solutions to test separate components of the network. And that’s where Fluke Networks Enterprise Solutions comes in.
To help with network performance and diagnostics related to 802.11ac, Fluke Networks, a business unit of NetScout Systems, this week rolled out new 802.11ac functionality in two of its portable network analysis and troubleshooting tools: The OptiView XG Network Analysis Tablet and the OneTouch AT Generation 2 Network Assistant.
The OptiView XG, is a troubleshooting tool designed for the network engineer. It automates root cause analysis of both wired and wireless network and application problems. The new version of OptiView XG also comes with the Fluke Networks’ AirMagnet Mobile tools built-in to leverage wireless network planning, deployment, troubleshooting, and security in combination with wired analysis capabilities.
“It’s hard to predict which route traffic will take through a network, and which devices will work,” said Stefan Pracht, director of product management at Fluke Networks. “But with a click of a button we can show the entire path the user traffic will take…to identify if you there will be poor performance.”
Sometimes the network engineering isn’t available, however. So, the OneTouch AT is an automated handheld tester that technicians use to troubleshoot both Ethernet and Wi-Fi network performance in real time by validating connectivity, service availability and path performance. “This allows the network engineer to offload tasks,” Pracht said, “enabling a technician to walk around, find where problems are occurring, and document the results in a report that a network engineer will use to troubleshoot.”
Available now, both products are rugged, portable devices, enabling IT teams to connect, analyze and troubleshoot issues from anywhere—their desk, in the data center or at an end user’s location. This speeds detection and resolution of faults, and validates wired and wireless infrastructure performance by mirroring the actual end user experience.