Click here to close now.


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
Growth hacking is common for startups to make unheard-of progress in building their business. Career Hacks can help Geek Girls and those who support them (yes, that's you too, Dad!) to excel in this typically male-dominated world. Get ready to learn the facts: Is there a bias against women in the tech / developer communities? Why are women 50% of the workforce, but hold only 24% of the STEM or IT positions? Some beginnings of what to do about it! In her Day 2 Keynote at 17th Cloud Expo, Sandy Carter, IBM General Manager Cloud Ecosystem and Developers, and a Social Business Evangelist, wil...
PubNub has announced the release of BLOCKS, a set of customizable microservices that give developers a simple way to add code and deploy features for realtime apps.PubNub BLOCKS executes business logic directly on the data streaming through PubNub’s network without splitting it off to an intermediary server controlled by the customer. This revolutionary approach streamlines app development, reduces endpoint-to-endpoint latency, and allows apps to better leverage the enormous scalability of PubNub’s Data Stream Network.
Apps and devices shouldn't stop working when there's limited or no network connectivity. Learn how to bring data stored in a cloud database to the edge of the network (and back again) whenever an Internet connection is available. In his session at 17th Cloud Expo, Ben Perlmutter, a Sales Engineer with IBM Cloudant, demonstrated techniques for replicating cloud databases with devices in order to build offline-first mobile or Internet of Things (IoT) apps that can provide a better, faster user experience, both offline and online. The focus of this talk was on IBM Cloudant, Apache CouchDB, and ...
I recently attended and was a speaker at the 4th International Internet of @ThingsExpo at the Santa Clara Convention Center. I also had the opportunity to attend this event last year and I wrote a blog from that show talking about how the “Enterprise Impact of IoT” was a key theme of last year’s show. I was curious to see if the same theme would still resonate 365 days later and what, if any, changes I would see in the content presented.
Cloud computing delivers on-demand resources that provide businesses with flexibility and cost-savings. The challenge in moving workloads to the cloud has been the cost and complexity of ensuring the initial and ongoing security and regulatory (PCI, HIPAA, FFIEC) compliance across private and public clouds. Manual security compliance is slow, prone to human error, and represents over 50% of the cost of managing cloud applications. Determining how to automate cloud security compliance is critical to maintaining positive ROI. Raxak Protect is an automated security compliance SaaS platform and ma...
The Internet of Things (IoT) is growing rapidly by extending current technologies, products and networks. By 2020, Cisco estimates there will be 50 billion connected devices. Gartner has forecast revenues of over $300 billion, just to IoT suppliers. Now is the time to figure out how you’ll make money – not just create innovative products. With hundreds of new products and companies jumping into the IoT fray every month, there’s no shortage of innovation. Despite this, McKinsey/VisionMobile data shows "less than 10 percent of IoT developers are making enough to support a reasonably sized team....
Just over a week ago I received a long and loud sustained applause for a presentation I delivered at this year’s Cloud Expo in Santa Clara. I was extremely pleased with the turnout and had some very good conversations with many of the attendees. Over the next few days I had many more meaningful conversations and was not only happy with the results but also learned a few new things. Here is everything I learned in those three days distilled into three short points.
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 and the leading industry players in the world. The Internet of Things (IoT) is the most profound cha...
DevOps is about increasing efficiency, but nothing is more inefficient than building the same application twice. However, this is a routine occurrence with enterprise applications that need both a rich desktop web interface and strong mobile support. With recent technological advances from Isomorphic Software and others, rich desktop and tuned mobile experiences can now be created with a single codebase – without compromising functionality, performance or usability. In his session at DevOps Summit, Charles Kendrick, CTO and Chief Architect at Isomorphic Software, demonstrated examples of com...
As organizations realize the scope of the Internet of Things, gaining key insights from Big Data, through the use of advanced analytics, becomes crucial. However, IoT also creates the need for petabyte scale storage of data from millions of devices. A new type of Storage is required which seamlessly integrates robust data analytics with massive scale. These storage systems will act as “smart systems” provide in-place analytics that speed discovery and enable businesses to quickly derive meaningful and actionable insights. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Paul Turner, Chief Marketing Officer at...
In his keynote at @ThingsExpo, Chris Matthieu, Director of IoT Engineering at Citrix and co-founder and CTO of Octoblu, focused on building an IoT platform and company. He provided a behind-the-scenes look at Octoblu’s platform, business, and pivots along the way (including the Citrix acquisition of Octoblu).
In his General Session at 17th Cloud Expo, Bruce Swann, Senior Product Marketing Manager for Adobe Campaign, explored the key ingredients of cross-channel marketing in a digital world. Learn how the Adobe Marketing Cloud can help marketers embrace opportunities for personalized, relevant and real-time customer engagement across offline (direct mail, point of sale, call center) and digital (email, website, SMS, mobile apps, social networks, connected objects).
We all know that data growth is exploding and storage budgets are shrinking. Instead of showing you charts on about how much data there is, in his General Session at 17th Cloud Expo, Scott Cleland, Senior Director of Product Marketing at HGST, showed how to capture all of your data in one place. After you have your data under control, you can then analyze it in one place, saving time and resources.
The Internet of Everything is re-shaping technology trends–moving away from “request/response” architecture to an “always-on” Streaming Web where data is in constant motion and secure, reliable communication is an absolute necessity. As more and more THINGS go online, the challenges that developers will need to address will only increase exponentially. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Todd Greene, Founder & CEO of PubNub, exploreed the current state of IoT connectivity and review key trends and technology requirements that will drive the Internet of Things from hype to reality.
Two weeks ago (November 3-5), I attended the Cloud Expo Silicon Valley as a speaker, where I presented on the security and privacy due diligence requirements for cloud solutions. Cloud security is a topical issue for every CIO, CISO, and technology buyer. Decision-makers are always looking for insights on how to mitigate the security risks of implementing and using cloud solutions. Based on the presentation topics covered at the conference, as well as the general discussions heard between sessions, I wanted to share some of my observations on emerging trends. As cyber security serves as a fou...
With all the incredible momentum behind the Internet of Things (IoT) industry, it is easy to forget that not a single CEO wakes up and wonders if “my IoT is broken.” What they wonder is if they are making the right decisions to do all they can to increase revenue, decrease costs, and improve customer experience – effectively the same challenges they have always had in growing their business. The exciting thing about the IoT industry is now these decisions can be better, faster, and smarter. Now all corporate assets – people, objects, and spaces – can share information about themselves and thei...
Continuous processes around the development and deployment of applications are both impacted by -- and a benefit to -- the Internet of Things trend. To help better understand the relationship between DevOps and a plethora of new end-devices and data please welcome Gary Gruver, consultant, author and a former IT executive who has led many large-scale IT transformation projects, and John Jeremiah, Technology Evangelist at Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE), on Twitter at @j_jeremiah. The discussion is moderated by me, Dana Gardner, Principal Analyst at Interarbor Solutions.
Too often with compelling new technologies market participants become overly enamored with that attractiveness of the technology and neglect underlying business drivers. This tendency, what some call the “newest shiny object syndrome” is understandable given that virtually all of us are heavily engaged in technology. But it is also mistaken. Without concrete business cases driving its deployment, IoT, like many other technologies before it, will fade into obscurity.
Discussions of cloud computing have evolved in recent years from a focus on specific types of cloud, to a world of hybrid cloud, and to a world dominated by the APIs that make today's multi-cloud environments and hybrid clouds possible. In this Power Panel at 17th Cloud Expo, moderated by Conference Chair Roger Strukhoff, panelists addressed the importance of customers being able to use the specific technologies they need, through environments and ecosystems that expose their APIs to make true change and transformation possible.
The Internet of Things is clearly many things: data collection and analytics, wearables, Smart Grids and Smart Cities, the Industrial Internet, and more. Cool platforms like Arduino, Raspberry Pi, Intel's Galileo and Edison, and a diverse world of sensors are making the IoT a great toy box for developers in all these areas. In this Power Panel at @ThingsExpo, moderated by Conference Chair Roger Strukhoff, panelists discussed what things are the most important, which will have the most profound effect on the world, and what should we expect to see over the next couple of years.