Welcome!

Perl Authors: AppDynamics Blog, Liz McMillan, Mike Hicks, RealWire News Distribution, Bob Gourley

Related Topics: Mobile IoT, Java IoT, Microservices Expo, IoT User Interface, Agile Computing, Perl

Mobile IoT: Article

Delivering Breakthrough Performance with 802.11ac

Breaking the wireless Ethernet gigabit barrier

Consumers are continuing to adopt multiple connected devices and video content is expected to reach more than 70 percent of global traffic. This growth and the increased reliance on wireless networks is putting stress on existing 802.11a/b/g/n networks. As a result of this high usage, users are likely to experience deteriorated performance, choppy videos and slower load times. At a time when IT managers report that network users are now averaging more than one Wi-Fi connected device per person, solutions to handle the rapid growth of devices are at a premium.

The next generation of the 802.11 standard, or IEEE 802.11ac, promises to finally break the wireless Ethernet gigabit barrier. This technology will deliver higher bandwidth while retaining better quality of experience (QoE) for end users, and is expected to be adopted rapidly into all markets: residential, enterprise, carrier and large venue.

Some of the first applications for 802.11ac's faster speeds will better residential video streaming, data syncing between mobile devices, and data backup. Streaming digital media between devices faster and simultaneously connecting more wireless devices will be some of the starting benefits for consumers and enterprises. In terms of service providers, they will be able to deploy the new technology to offload traffic from congested 3G and 4G-LTE cellular networks, and in dense operator hotspots 802.11ac will supply better performance to more users.

To date, all 802.11 revisions have focused on increasing transport speeds, which lead to higher traffic delivery rates and ultimately to faster response times as experienced by the end user. The introduction of 802.11n brought advances of MIMO (multiple-in, multiple-out) to deliver traffic over multiple spatial streams, and packet aggregation. MIMO delivered marked improvements in physical transport rates, enabling more bits per second to be transmitted than ever before over Wi-Fi. Packet aggregation delivered equally impressive improvements in transport experience, allowing devices to send more data once they had gained access to the wireless media. The new 802.11ac protocol is continuing down this path by preserving aggregation techniques, advancing the physical transport rates yet again, and introducing the concept of parallel transport into Wi-Fi through a technique known as Multi-User MIMO (MU-MIMO), where multiple client devices are receiving packets concurrently.

This is the first time Wi-Fi history that directed traffic can be delivered to multiple client devices at the same time. This ability has significant impact on delivery of content to any location with multiple users, especially where content is revenue-generating or critical.

Achieving Increased Gigabit+ Performance with 802.11ac
In order to reach the best performance, 802.11ac uses a variety of advancements and addresses the need for performance improvement through three primary initiatives:

  1. Increasing Raw Bandwidth allows for the higher speeds associated with 802.11ac. It makes use of a higher rate encoding scheme known as 256-QAM, which transmits 33 percent more data than the 64-QAM used in the 802.11n standard. Signal-to-noise ratios that worked for 802.11n are no longer sufficient because the difference in detectable signal level is now significantly smaller.
  2. Multi-user Support makes 802.11ac a real information superhighway, unlike its predecessors that only allowed one device to transmit at a time. MU-MIMO allows an access point to transmit data to multiple client devices on the same channel at the same time. It works by directing some of the spatial streams to one client and other spatial streams to a second client. MU-MIMO is critical to performance improvements in environments with high client counts.
  3. Individual Client Channel Optimization is also a major performance booster. The concept behind channel optimization is transmit beamforming (TxBF). The reflections and attenuations, common during the transmission of 802.11 signals, have a significant performance impact on overall network performance. With TxBF, the access point communicates with the client devices to determine the types of impairment that are present in the environment. Then the access point "precodes" the transmitted frame with the inverse of the impairment such that when the next frame is transmitted and transformed by the medium, it is received as a clean frame by the client. Since no two clients are in the same location, TxBF needs to be applied on a client-by-client basis and constantly updated to reflect the changing environment.

Overcoming Technical Challenges
One of the biggest frustration for developers and users of 802.11 is that it needs to work with previous versions. It can also be extremely difficult to identify the root cause of development problems. For example, when an application performs poorly, it is often hard to determine if it is due to an environmental, client, or network issue. The various devices in an 802.11 network are highly correlated so an issue in one area quickly ripples through to many other areas. Developers have lacked an effective means to assess the total picture from the RF to the application layer.

IEEE 802.11ac makes this problem significantly more challenging. In addition to being deployed into an existing environment with ten years' worth of previous releases, 802.11ac makes use of advanced technologies that are substantially more complex and demanding than previous versions. This latest generation of 802.11 requires a rethinking of how the technology is developed and tested to include a much more holistic view through the product development life cycle.

Traditionally, the RF section is verified using one set of equipment, and then the upper layer functions are tested using a second set of tools. The overall technical complexity and the introduction of new technologies such as TxBF demand coordination and control between the different layers of the protocol stack. Without this coordination, it would be difficult to utilize these functions and to quickly pinpoint performance issues.

802.11ac brings the promise of moving Wi-Fi into the limelight as a trusted and capable communication protocol, and will require equipment and rigor to match. The new generation of testing should be able to decode every frame in real-time and determine each frame's RF characteristics, as well as their frame-level performance, and generate every frame without limitation in real-time to adequately test receiver performance. Previous approaches use a digitized data record approach for both generation and analysis, creating or capturing what are known as I/Q files, and equipment typically adapted from the general-purpose RF domain. This result in equipment being capable of a single spatial stream, and able to generate or capture a small fraction of the frames required to perform testing. To meet the need, the approach needs to be able to generate and analyze all frames in real-time to the limit of the specification, tightly integrate RF and MAC functionality in 802.11ac, and include integral, real-time channel emulation to address TxBF performance.

Increasing Performance for All Markets
Gigabit+ performance for residential, enterprise, carrier and large venue markets is possible with the 802.11ac standard. But to realize the performance and density promise, chip and hardware developers must navigate some significant technical challenges, as detailed in this article. They must ensure graceful migrations from existing deployed solutions by providing backward compatibility and delivering high performance RF transmission and receive performance with a wide variety of signals. They must maintain high performance to multiple clients under the channel conditions that will exist in real deployments, while at the same time provide the high reliability and feature robustness to enable enterprise and carrier grade 802.11 adoption. Ultimately, the developers need to ensure that the key application traffic - most notably video - can be delivered with quality.

More Stories By Joe Zeto

Joe Zeto serves as a technical marketing evangelist within Ixia’s marketing organization. He has over 17 years of experience in wireless and IP networking, both from the engineering and marketing sides. He has extensive knowledge and a global prospective of the networking market and the test and measurement industry.

Prior to joining Ixia, Joe was Director of Product Marketing at Spirent Communications running Enterprise Switching, Storage Networking, and Wireless Infrastructure product lines. He has a Juris Docorate from Loyola Law School, Los Angeles, CA.

Comments (0)

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


@ThingsExpo Stories
What a difference a year makes. Organizations aren’t just talking about IoT possibilities, it is now baked into their core business strategy. With IoT, billions of devices generating data from different companies on different networks around the globe need to interact. From efficiency to better customer insights to completely new business models, IoT will turn traditional business models upside down. In the new customer-centric age, the key to success is delivering critical services and apps wit...
With major technology companies and startups seriously embracing IoT strategies, now is the perfect time to attend @ThingsExpo 2016 in New York and Silicon Valley. Learn what is going on, contribute to the discussions, and ensure that your enterprise is as "IoT-Ready" as it can be! Internet of @ThingsExpo, taking place Nov 3-5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, is co-located with 17th Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty ...
The essence of data analysis involves setting up data pipelines that consist of several operations that are chained together – starting from data collection, data quality checks, data integration, data analysis and data visualization (including the setting up of interaction paths in that visualization). In our opinion, the challenges stem from the technology diversity at each stage of the data pipeline as well as the lack of process around the analysis.
The 19th International Cloud Expo has announced that its Call for Papers is open. Cloud Expo, to be held November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, brings together Cloud Computing, Big Data, Internet of Things, DevOps, Containers, Microservices and WebRTC to one location. With cloud computing driving a higher percentage of enterprise IT budgets every year, it becomes increasingly important to plant your flag in this fast-expanding business opportunity. Submit y...
SYS-CON Events announced today that ContentMX, the marketing technology and services company with a singular mission to increase engagement and drive more conversations for enterprise, channel and SMB technology marketers, has been named “Sponsor & Exhibitor Lounge Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 18th Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, New York. “CloudExpo is a great opportunity to start a conversation with new prospects, but what happens after the...
Internet of @ThingsExpo, taking place November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, is co-located with the 19th International Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world and ThingsExpo New York Call for Papers is now open.
In his keynote at 18th Cloud Expo, Andrew Keys, Co-Founder of ConsenSys Enterprise, will provide an overview of the evolution of the Internet and the Database and the future of their combination – the Blockchain. Andrew Keys is Co-Founder of ConsenSys Enterprise. He comes to ConsenSys Enterprise with capital markets, technology and entrepreneurial experience. Previously, he worked for UBS investment bank in equities analysis. Later, he was responsible for the creation and distribution of life ...
There are several IoTs: the Industrial Internet, Consumer Wearables, Wearables and Healthcare, Supply Chains, and the movement toward Smart Grids, Cities, Regions, and Nations. There are competing communications standards every step of the way, a bewildering array of sensors and devices, and an entire world of competing data analytics platforms. To some this appears to be chaos. In this power panel at @ThingsExpo, moderated by Conference Chair Roger Strukhoff, panelists will discuss the vast to...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Enzu, a leading provider of cloud hosting solutions, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Enzu’s mission is to be the leading provider of enterprise cloud solutions worldwide. Enzu enables online businesses to use its IT infrastructure to their competitive advantage. By offering a suite of proven hosting and management services, Enzu wants companies to foc...
Customer experience has become a competitive differentiator for companies, and it’s imperative that brands seamlessly connect the customer journey across all platforms. With the continued explosion of IoT, join us for a look at how to build a winning digital foundation in the connected era – today and in the future. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Chris Nguyen, Group Product Marketing Manager at Adobe, will discuss how to successfully leverage mobile, rapidly deploy content, capture real-time d...
IoT generates lots of temporal data. But how do you unlock its value? How do you coordinate the diverse moving parts that must come together when developing your IoT product? What are the key challenges addressed by Data as a Service? How does cloud computing underlie and connect the notions of Digital and DevOps What is the impact of the API economy? What is the business imperative for Cognitive Computing? Get all these questions and hundreds more like them answered at the 18th Cloud Expo...
A strange thing is happening along the way to the Internet of Things, namely far too many devices to work with and manage. It has become clear that we'll need much higher efficiency user experiences that can allow us to more easily and scalably work with the thousands of devices that will soon be in each of our lives. Enter the conversational interface revolution, combining bots we can literally talk with, gesture to, and even direct with our thoughts, with embedded artificial intelligence, wh...
SYS-CON Events announced today that 24Notion has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 18th Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York, New York. 24Notion is full-service global creative digital marketing, technology and lifestyle agency that combines strategic ideas with customized tactical execution. With a broad understand of the art of traditional marketing, new media, communications and social influence, 24Notion uniquely understands how to con...
Whether your IoT service is connecting cars, homes, appliances, wearable, cameras or other devices, one question hangs in the balance – how do you actually make money from this service? The ability to turn your IoT service into profit requires the ability to create a monetization strategy that is flexible, scalable and working for you in real-time. It must be a transparent, smoothly implemented strategy that all stakeholders – from customers to the board – will be able to understand and comprehe...
The demand for organizations to expand their infrastructure to multiple IT environments like the cloud, on-premise, mobile, bring your own device (BYOD) and the Internet of Things (IoT) continues to grow. As this hybrid infrastructure increases, the challenge to monitor the security of these systems increases in volume and complexity. In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, Stephen Coty, Chief Security Evangelist at Alert Logic, will show how properly configured and managed security architecture can...
When it comes to IoT in the enterprise, namely the commercial building and hospitality markets, a benefit not getting the attention it deserves is energy efficiency, and IoT's direct impact on a cleaner, greener environment when installed in smart buildings. Until now clean technology was offered piecemeal and led with point solutions that require significant systems integration to orchestrate and deploy. There didn't exist a 'top down' approach that can manage and monitor the way a Smart Buildi...
WebRTC is bringing significant change to the communications landscape that will bridge the worlds of web and telephony, making the Internet the new standard for communications. Cloud9 took the road less traveled and used WebRTC to create a downloadable enterprise-grade communications platform that is changing the communication dynamic in the financial sector. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Leo Papadopoulos, CTO of Cloud9, will discuss the importance of WebRTC and how it enables companies to fo...
SYS-CON Events announced today TechTarget has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 7–9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, and the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. TechTarget is the Web’s leading destination for serious technology buyers researching and making enterprise technology decisions. Its extensive global networ...
Korean Broadcasting System (KBS) will feature the upcoming 18th Cloud Expo | @ThingsExpo in a New York news documentary about the "New IT for the Future." The documentary will cover how big companies are transmitting or adopting the new IT for the future and will be filmed on the expo floor between June 7-June 9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, New York. KBS has long been a leader in the development of the broadcasting culture of Korea. As the key public service broadcaster of Korea...
The idea of comparing data in motion (at the sensor level) to data at rest (in a Big Data server warehouse) with predictive analytics in the cloud is very appealing to the industrial IoT sector. The problem Big Data vendors have, however, is access to that data in motion at the sensor location. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Scott Allen, CMO of FreeWave, will discuss how as IoT is increasingly adopted by industrial markets, there is going to be an increased demand for sensor data from the outer...