Not Your Father’s Blackberry: What BYOD Means for Your Network Performance
According to this report by the Pew Research Center (February 2012), 46% of American adults now own a smartphone of some kind, up from 35% in May 2011. Smartphone owners now outnumber users of more basic phones.
These smartphone users are bringing their personal devices to work and connecting them to your network. For many businesses, an open BYOD policy has clear advantages, one of which is much faster, broader access than ever before.
The challenge here is that these devices are not your father’s Blackberry; these are personal devices that have literally tens of thousands of entertainment apps, many of which can take a real chunk out of your internet capacity. As personal device used both at home and at work, users don’t even think about the impact of streaming media – they do it at home, why should work be any different? (I’m listening to FitRadio as I write this, which is a great app if you haven’t tried it, but not the most efficient in how it uses bandwidth. Understanding the impact of BYOD on your network is critical to ensure that your actual business critical applications (from VoIP, to video conferencing, to web applications) have the performance they need.
Recently we introduced a major update to PathView Cloud with FlowView, adding Intelligent Application Visibility so that you can very clearly see the applications in use and the devices involved in the communication. This has lead to a number of revelations about the extent of bandwidth that can be used by these personal devices. Check out this snapshot of recent network traffic sources. Here we can see the top hosts communicating on our network on June 22. The 6th most active device with 762MB transmitted is a personal iPad device, and as we can see by the activity, the vast majority of the traffic was NOT business related.
You can then actually drill into just the activity for that single device and zoom out to view activity across a specified time frame. With the rate of change of smartphone apps and web services, we have built this engine to be updated constantly, so you don’t have to know that RTMP is commonly used for streaming Flash video because that intelligence is built into PathView Cloud with FlowView.
So before opening or expanding BYOD exposure on your network, make sure you have the visibility you need into what is actually occurring; because we think you will be surprised and unfortunately it’s going to be the performance of your critical applications that will suffer!