Can you imagine the scale and complexity of rolling out iPads or Chromebooks to 650,000 students across 900 schools? Not an easy task, but if Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD), the second largest school district in the U.S., can do it, any K-12 can!!
The district’s larger goal was to provide anytime, anyplace learning to each student. According to Shahryar Khazei, Deputy CIO of LAUSD, this meant “not only putting powerful tools in the hands of our students and teachers, but also building the appropriate infrastructure, including campus Wi-Fi, to support their use.”
Phase-1 of LAUSD’s one-to-one rollout was kicked off with 30,000 iPads across 47 schools.
Here are some tips & tricks from the LAUSD deployment that can be applied to school districts of all sizes.Read more...
The Airheads conferences have so much great information and many great breakout sessions. This makes choosing the top 5 a monumental task, but we tackled the task and here is the Top 5 Airheads Presentations.Read more...
You don’t want to get caught asleep at the wheel with poor Wi-Fi experiences and facing a social media train wreck that could hinder recruitment, student satisfaction, and learning outcomes.
#GenMobile is redefining the “office” as we know it. The notion of a place of work will still be around; however the traditional office is bound for extinction. It is happening faster than we think and about a thousand IT professionals across the globe just validated it.
Last week Gartner muttered the word “Abracadabra,” and with a flash of light and a puff of smoke, the 2014 Magic Quadrant for Wired and Wireless LAN Infrastructure appeared. And it was magical. Well, sort of.
Login and Passwords fail
If you’ve conquered texting you’ll attest to the fact that bigger keyboards made your thumbs come alive. A few typos never stopped you from getting the message out. Unfortunately, using that same keyboard to enter login and passwords to access enterprise networks and applications requires repeated accuracy and patience.
The BITS, BYTES and WIFi ....
There is a general misunderstanding around bits and bytes with most end users, especially when trying to measure WiFi performance.
Mbps (MegaBITS) are often referenced to measure transmission speeds.
Example: Comcast package
Example: speed test
Did you know 802.11ac’s gigabit data rate requires devices to be very close to the AP?
Newer MCS8 and MCS9 modulations in 802.11ac offer increased performance and require higher signal-to-noise ratios. This means clients must be close to an AP at all times. But isn’t this a basic requirement for any wireless network?
Making sure that clients always associate with an AP with the strongest signal is not as easy as it sounds because clients make their own roaming decisions.
Now don’t go geek and start writing a mobile app that’ll find the closest AP. Chill! Aruba’s patented ClientMatch technology gets rid of the old sticky client problem and lots more.
To see whether this technology makes a difference in roaming, engineers at the testing firm Novarum conducted a high-density roaming evaluation between Aruba and Cisco.
Novarum painstakingly recreated a high-density mobile environment using 75 802.11ac clients and three 3x3:3 802.11ac APs – Cisco 3702i and Aruba AP-225.
Results from the test clearly show that Aruba offers significantly better roaming performance, thanks to system-level capabilities like ClientMatch. Without it, the network is blind to the needs of its clients.
Help! I’m stuck
According to the test report, clients associated with an AP in a lobby and then roamed to an open space similar to a lecture hall, where clients could hear all the three APs.
As clients roamed, they were distributed pretty evenly across the three Aruba APs. But clients on the Cisco WLAN didn’t associate with a better AP as they roamed. Most got stuck on the first AP.
Aruba ClientMatch was a huge differentiator in this test. It continuously gathers signal information from roaming clients and uses it to steer each one to the closest AP.
Overall system performance
Overall aggregate performance for Aruba was consistently 39%, higher than Cisco. The results are a bit deceiving for Cisco as one client got 120Mbps, which made it’s own roaming decision. All of the other clients struggled for airtime because they were stuck to the first AP.
Per-client throughput vs. number of clients
With Aruba, most clients enjoyed more than 4 Mbps throughput. With Cisco, more than 70% of the clients got less than 4Mbps.
Lesson learned: 802.11ac alone cannot optimize client performance. You need technologies like ClientMatch, which can boost client performance by making sure they associate with the best AP as they roam. And if your clients get stuck, you’re probably using a Cisco AP.
For more detail on the actual testing take a look at the Novarum report or feel free to stop by the Proof of Concept (PoC) lab, Sunnnyvale CA.
In 2002, Aruba took on the Tasman Family by forming a company determined to deliver Wi-Fi as an alternative to the wire.
Taking on the big guys is a relentless task and that’s why Novarum’s 802.11ac performance report is a breath of fresh air. Free of strong-arm tactics, this report captures the performance differences in a real-world office environment between Aruba’s AP-225 and Cisco’s Aironet 3702i, 11ac Access Points.
High-Density Throughput Test: Aruba is 2x Faster than Cisco.
When properly designed, three-wheeled vehicles can deliver superior handling, performance, and greater fuel efficiency compared to their four-wheeled counterparts and greater stability and safety than their 2 wheeled-counterparts.
However, not all designs are equal. When improperly designed, three-wheeled vehicles can be tragic. Take the Reliant Robin for example. A three-wheeled design catastrophe only a mother could love. Watch the Reliant Robin in action.
These same design principles also hold true for Access Points. Like a car, an AP’s performance is tied to how well the AP is designed and how well the underlying components work together to provide an output that is greater than the sum of its parts.
Aruba’s AP-205 was purpose-built to bring the performance gains of 802.11ac at a cost-effective price point to high-density environments consisting predominately of single and dual-stream clients.
To validate the AP-205s design advantages in a high-density environment we decided to test it against Cisco’s brand new AP-2700, which is a 3x4:3SS AP. When we tested Cisco’s AP-3700, which boasts a 4th antenna, it didn’t come close to matching the performance of Aruba’s 3x3:3 AP-225. We wondered if the AP-2700 had similar design flaws and would suffer the same fate as the AP-3700.
Multi-client TCP Throughput Test
In this sixty-client test, the Aruba AP-205 delivered 46% faster downstream throughput and 33% faster bidirectional throughput than Cisco’s AP-2700.
Small Packet Throughput Test (VoIP)
In this thirty-client test, we used packet sizes that are common in today’s networks running VoIP and latency sensitive applications. The AP-205 delivered 4.3x more traffic with 256B packets and 2.8x with 512B packets than Cisco’s AP-2700.
Multi-Client 3 Stream Throughput Test
To put the AP-205 to the ultimate test, we decided to test with only 3-stream clients. Remember, the AP-205 is a 2x2:2SS and the Cisco 2700 is a 3x4:3SS. As you can see below, the AP-205 outperformed the AP-2700 by delivering 40% faster downstream throughput in a test that favored a :3SS AP.
Multi-Client Throughput Test using PoE
One of the design elements of the AP-205 was to deliver full 11ac performance in dense environments with 802.3af power. As shown in the chart below, the AP-205 delivered 45% greater throughput than the AP-2700 and none of the clients were starved nor hogged the air. With the AP-2700, over half the clients were starved of airtime and got less than 2Mbps. One lucky client got 43Mbps, but this came at the expense of other clients.
Performance is a function of product design and the underlying components. Adding a third-spatial stream to an AP is akin to adding a 3rd wheel to a vehicle. If it’s not properly designed, it can lead to instability and poor performance, as evident in the AP-2700s test results.
As you look to migrate to 802.11ac, be sure to take note of the devices on your network and don't be fooled by what's on the data sheet. Kick the11ac tires and if you happen to be in the Bay Area, be sure to stop by 1344 Crossman and see for yourself how the AP-205 outperforms Cisco’s AP-2700.
Test Bed Setup
The adoption rate of 802.11ac is outpacing 802.11n. The performance gains in 802.11ac, fueled in part by the demands of #GenMobile, are contributing to its rapid adoption.
802.11ac boasts theoretical gigabit speeds due to wider 80-MHz channels, faster 256-QAM and everyone’s favorite…beamforming. The first two are easy peasy, but beamforming, that’s pretty heady stuff.
At a high-level, beamforming is about providing a stronger signal to clients – more bars – to improve the client’s connection rate. While the concept of boosting client signal strength isn’t new, the industry finally standardized it in Wave 1 of 802.11ac and called it 11ac beamforming.
Aruba’s standards-based beamforming implementation involves a constant exchange of information between the client and AP to maximize the client receive signal. This is critical for improving wireless performance in dynamic RF environments with highly mobile clients.
All Aruba 802.11ac APs support standards-beamforming, thanks to Broadcom. Just about every 802.11ac device, including the Samsung Galaxy S4, MacBook Pro and MacBook Air, support beamforming. So we actually have a solution that works on the network and the client side.
You’d think something as standard as beamforming would be supported by everyone, but that unfortunately is not true. Too bad a few vendors picked Atheros chipset for their 802.11ac AP, which lacks beamforming. So some wireless vendors support proprietary analog version of beamforming (I’m telling you, it’s not standard beamforming).
Sadly, non-standard analog beamforming has some fundamental trade-offs that make it less effective in the real world.
Here’s what I mean. First, analog beamforming can’t accurately determine a client’s location so you can’t flex a beam to that client. Second, it’s a manual hit-and-miss process that involves tweaking antennas to steer RF beams at clients. Third, too much beam, too little MIMO.
We compared Aruba’s 802.11ac beamforming against non-standard beamforming in a simple rate-vs.-range test. The other vendor's performance at 15 feet is equal to Aruba’s performance at 120 feet.
Standard 802.11ac beamforming wins hands down.
Organizations often forget that their guest access portal can help leave visitors with a lasting impression. In fact, 46.1% of people say a website's design is the number one criterion for discerning the credibility of the company. ClearPass Guest makes going from black and white to full color easy. Better yet, why do-it-yourself? Aruba's Guest Portal Customization Service gives your guest "curb appeal" without the hassle.
In surfing, choosing the right wave is near religion. We weigh all the variables and in the end make a call based on a split-second evaluation and a good dose of intuition. Thankfully with Wi-Fi, we can spend a bit more time considering the right wave of 802.11ac to rollout. Just like 802.11n, we got the bulk of the performance boost in the first wave and then a few additional enhancements in the standard were implemented in the subsequent waves.
From my student days in Syracuse, to my technical marketing days at Aruba, I have built Wi-Fi networks from almost every major vendor.
And for me, the most time-consuming and painful task was mounting various vendor APs to the ceiling.
Aruba was the exception. It became clear to me that the simplicity of installation of Aruba APs were a direct result of them being designed by people who had actually installed Wi-Fi networks.
All Aruba APs come with ceiling rail adapters that simply twist and snap into an AP. With a short clockwise turn, you can secure the adapter onto the ceiling rail. No tools required.
Unfortunately, that is not the case for other Wi-Fi vendors. Some are so horribly complicated that the idea of mounting APs was clearly an afterthought. Meraki is a great example. Have you ever seen their IKEA-style instruction manual? Some assembly required
Well, eventually curiosity got the best of me, and I decided to see how long it would take me to mount an Aruba AP vs. a Meraki AP. It turns out that I can install five Aruba APs in the time it takes to install just one Meraki AP.
Gain access to industry innovators in the cloud networking field. The evening includes a panel discussion where you can learn first-hand about best in network applications for the cloud, security and wireless.
Limited Seating - RSVP today for Cloud Innovators
Attendees must present business card upon entrance. Cocktails and hor d'oeuvres will be served.
Brian Marshall (Moderator)
- Senior Managing Director
- Founder & SVP, Engineering
- Palo Alto Networks
- President & CEO
- Arista Networks
- EVP of Product Development & CTO
- President and CEO
- Aruba Networks
- EVP/GM, Infrastructure & Networking Group
Stephen R. Smoot
- SVP, Tech Operations
We look forward to seeing you there!
Have you heard about the promise of the savings delivered by rightsizing and embracing the All-Wireless Workplace yet didn’t need the highest performance for your environment? Find out how the Aruba 802.11ac portfolio with its new low-cost 802.11ac Aruba 200 Series AP and our highest performance Aruba 220 can deliver 802.11ac to fit your individual budget and performance needs.
In districts where 1:1 initiatives are further along, it’s not uncommon for our customers to see dramatic shifts in classroom dynamics. A good example is Glenview, Illinois, School District 34, which is three years into its rollout of an iPad program for its 5000 students.
At Glenview, extensive classroom websites have been built for instruction and interaction. Daily homework assignments, subject areas, individual lessons, quiz portals, student journals, special project areas, parent information and other resources form the foundation of classroom teaching and learning.
“Due to our district’s 1:1 initiative, our classroom website is now our learning hub,” explains Kathryn Reihsmann, a Fourth and Fifth-grade Loop teacher at Glenview. “Access to the website is crucial to the learning process.”
I think it’s safe to say that wireless networks and mobility are here to stay. But as more and more networks transition from wired to wireless, and as networks reach ever more users, who will design, install, and support these networks? In my travels and at I’ve been told by customers and partners that they are struggling to find knowledgeable mobility engineers to hire. My team and others at Aruba have struggled to find good candidates to fill our ranks. We end up hiring folks with a good base knowledge of networking and teaching them mobility. But it takes a long time to get even a sharp person up to speed on the intricacies of what we do.Read more...
So now that we are all over the excitement of the release of iOS 7.1, lets take a moment to review one of the other interesting features that was released in the Apple ecosystem during this time.Read more...
Paperless classrooms were once more of a dream than a reality. Not anymore. Just listen to how pervasive, reliable and secure Wi-Fi is transforming education at Woodland Joint Unified School District in Woodland, California.
“Five years ago I started attending conferences on technology and was frustrated to see all the things I could accomplish, but was unable to,” says Jerry Delsol, a high school science teacher with over 30 years of teaching experience.
“Now,” he continues, “our district has a robust and reliable wireless network. This has revolutionized my classroom by allowing me to build the digital ecosystem that I’ve envisioned. All of my students are able to participate wirelessly with our district-issued devices as well as their own smartphones, tablets and laptops.”
Aruba offers a basic skin service as well as training sessions for customers that have their own web development resources via the SKU: AMG-SKIN-PS. Aruba Professional Services also has an in-house development and creative team that manages custom captive portal projects from start to finish.
Classroom flipping is a hot topic among educators across the country, including at Derby Public Schools in Derby, Kansas. There, modern computing technologies are making flipped classrooms practical.
“I teach a paperless, modified flip class,” reports Laura Hayden, eighth-grade digital studies and yearbook teacher at the Derby Middle School. “It’s essential for my students to get to their online material quickly and our wireless system enables them to do just that. It’s significantly faster than our old wired network.”Read more...
Springfield’s investment in wireless networking is essential to supporting all 21st Century educational models at the district. This includes the transition to the Common Core State Standards. “Educators and students are becoming more dependent on a wireless network for teaching and learning. So the role of our WLAN is becoming more important every day as teachers increasingly rely on technology to share content, engage their pupils and improve collaboration among students.”Read more...
Have you ever sat in traffic and wished there was another lane? I’ve been making this wish a lot lately, as my commute seems to be getting longer each day. While sitting in traffic this morning I started thinking about what causes traffic congestion and I realized there are a number of parallels between traffic and RF engineering.
Whether you are talking about more cars on the road or more devices on the Wi-Fi network, traffic and RF engineers both need to figure out how to make the best use of a fixed resource. I’m not sure about the life of a traffic engineer, but the life of an RF engineer got a lot better with the introduction of 802.11ac.
802.11ac brings gigabit speeds to Wi-Fi and doubles the channel width of 802.11n by allowing 80-MHz channels in 5 GHz. By doubling the channel width, you double the speed. Faster speeds mean devices take less airtime to receive the data, so you can support more devices on the network with less congestion.
Aruba maximizes this opportunity by supporting all five 80-MHz channels available in the U.S. Whether you’re deploying 802.11ac in a large campus or a retail store, the ability to use all five channels reduces the performance-robbing effects of co-channel interference and maximizes channel re-use.
There are actually six 80-MHz channels available, but channels between 116 and 132 are used for weather radar, so the maximum available for Wi-Fi is five 80-MHz channels: 36E (36, 40, 44, 48), 52E (52, 56, 60, 64), 100E (100,104,108,112) and 132E (132,136,140,144) and 149E (149,153,157,161).
I was bit surprised that Cisco only recently started talking about radio management support for 80MHz channels and shocked when I found out that they don’t even support all available channels. I guess they don’t mind sitting in traffic. As you can see below, Cisco does not support 132E, since Channel 144 is missing.
By supporting all five 80-MHz channels, Aruba has an immediate 25% performance advantage.
The next time you’re stuck in traffic, ask yourself how great life would be with that extra lane.