With the Olympics approaching, most everyone in IT is having “World Cup Fever” flashbacks, and rightly so. When it comes to high-profile global events like the Olympics or the World Cup – we leave the biggest and best up to sports forums – internet traffic spikes, even if the end user is at work.
For example, on June 11, 2010 (a workday) Akamai reported that news site traffic started to climb steadily at 6 am ET and peaked six hours later, reaching nearly 12.1 million visitors per minute. Regardless of if people are at or away from the office, they are going to stream news from these sites to make sure they are up-to-speed with the latest events.
With the Olympic ceremonies this Friday, we wanted to provide some tips to prepare for more internet usage on your wireless and wired system to ensure that there will be no angry users whether they are trying to access work-centric applications or the synchronized swimming events.
Baseline Your Network
The only way to know whether you’ve improved your network performance is to start by knowing where it stands now in terms of network demands. Enterprises can get a sense of how their network normally acts by looking at internet connections, WLAN links, WLAN environments and the data center. A network analyzer can help organize this information into a report that can be used to not only solve issues that currently exist, but also to allow the organization to rewind the information back in time to validate performance and bandwidth utilization now versus previously, and predict future growth.
Prune and Clean WLAN Traffic
Remove unnecessary traffic. Devices like printers, support stacks and protocols not in use in the environment can be eliminated. Sometimes, protocols that help manage the network, like routing protocols and SNMP can be found needlessly hogging valuable bandwidth. It’s likely that there are no devices on your Wi-Fi network which require SNMP management, routing protocols, or similar network maintenance and management.
Additionally, you may be able to recover wireless bandwidth by disabling packets between nodes. Many BYOD-class devices use local multicasts to find network services. Blocking connections between Wi-Fi clients will prevent the retransmissions of those packets, thus saving valuable bandwidth.
Monitoring and Stomping Out Rogue Users
Since more and more people in your office probably have tablets and cell phones, they might be using these devices rather than office provided devices to stream Olympic events. Trying to maintain these rogue devices is a multi-tier approach, and you should have a practice in place to make sure you are aware of these devices and housing them in the right place so they don’t interfere with your network.
However, if you don’t have a plan in place like a special Wi-Fi SSID or WPA2, you will have to discover these rogue devices and make sure they do not pose a security threat to your system and are not being the bandwidth hog on your network. Again a network analyzer is good at finding these “unknown” wireless assets on your network.
If for some reason you are experiencing latency or something else, and the devices that you are monitoring on your computer are not the issue, check to see if it’s mobile users.
In next week’s article, we are going to cover the Olympics, but instead of looking at it from an office perspective, we’ll be looking at it from a live events perspective. How do you keep a network running smoothly at an event like the Olympics? We’ll discuss how WildPackets did just this with China Mobile during the 2008 Olympic Games. Stay tuned!