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Network Infrastructure for One-to-One

Posted on 2013-05-13
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Last Modified: 2016-04-05
I'm a network engineer at a High School. We're looking into the feasibility of going one-to-one with either iPads or some other mobile device.

We decided to do a bandwidth usage test using our iPad cart. We played youtube videos on 10 of them simultaneously. The bandwidth hogging was almost scary. The 10 of them used almost 90% of our down speed and around 70% of our up speed.

My questions are:

What kind of infrastructure could handle several hundred iPads or laptops? Would we need a T1?

Anyone with experience in this area and advice to give would be greatly appreciated.
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Question by:McjAziz
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by:mcsween
mcsween earned 500 total points
ID: 39161733
First of all a T1 circuit is only 1.5 MB which should support about 20 simultaneous users.  I have approximately 2300 students in my district and we have an 80MB synchronous circuit for internet.

You can add a caching proxy server to alleviate bandwidth for frequently requested content.  Microsoft Forefront TMG is capable of this and very inexpensive if you have a School Agreement with Microsoft.

I would also look at a management solution for these devices.  We use Lightspeed MDM here to filter content as well as manager the iOS and Android devices.
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by:McjAziz
ID: 39161748
Do you use your MDM to shape traffic or just to block certain kinds of content?
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by:mcsween
ID: 39161925
I just use it to block content.  You would want to do traffic shaping at your core switch or firewall.  BTW, I have about 600 iPads/iPods/Android devices deployed and have no issues with internet.
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by:tolinrome
ID: 39162016
agreed, a T1 is only 1.5MB. bandwidth is much cheape rnow than what it was a few years ago. A year or so ago I was paying $400 a month for a 10MB line, I think the 20MB line was a little less than half that.
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by:McjAziz
ID: 39162046
In our building, we get 30down/40up. It just seems a little hard to believe that with 10 ipads bringing the bandwidth down to 2d/14u we'll be able to support the (hoped for) 350.
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mcsween earned 500 total points
ID: 39162272
I'd have to question your measurements.  I understand these are the numbers being spit back from speedtest.net or some other speed test site, but those aren't really reliable numbers.

If you want a truly accurate test of how much bandwidth these guys are consuming you should capture the traffic yourself.  

Setup a port on the switch your firewall is plugged into to monitor the port the firewall is on (promiscuous mode).  

Install Wireshark (http://www.wireshark.org/download.html) on a laptop and plug it into that port and setup a packet capture with a filter to only capture traffic to and from the IP addresses on the iPads you are testing.

Start the capture and start your test on the iPads, when you are done stop the capture (Capture, Stop).

In Wireshark click Statistics, Summary and at the very bottom there will be average packets/bytes/MBits per second.  You can also click Statistics, Conversations to look at individual devices/sessions.  This should show you a more accurate numbers.  Remember to start the iPads immediately after starting your capture or the averages will be off.
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by:McjAziz
ID: 39162382
Thanks Mcsween. That sounds very helpful. I'll get on that asap.
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by:McjAziz
ID: 39162512
What about access points and wireless controllers? Recommendations? The device density we're looking at could be in the range of 30-50+ devices on a given AP at any time.
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by:mcsween
mcsween earned 500 total points
ID: 39162571
I'm using a Cisco 5508 Wireless Controller with Aironet 1142N APs.  I have a density of 50+ devices with no problem.  If you are deploying to multiple sites with slow(er) WAN links make sure to implement H-REAP local switching on the APs outside the building with the controller.  Do not include the guest SSID in H-REAP design though; better to keep this traffic in the CAPWAP tunnel.
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