In a World of Mobile and BYOD, Is QoS Enforcement Possible?
by August 24, 2017

Filed under: Networking Technology, Performance Monitoring

There was a time when the consumerization of IT struck fear in the hearts of any network manager. It was easier to push back and deny or ignore iPhones in the workplace than to actually revamp the network to support them—not to mention prepare for the onslaught of cyber threats that came along with them.

But that was years ago. Now, it seems we’ve all come to the conclusion that consumerization of IT—and the rise of mobile and BYOD at work, in particular—is here to stay and we might as well make the most of it.

Unfortunately, we have to do more than just accept mobile devices in the workplace. You have to take the chaotic growth of connectivity and turn it into something manageable. And part of this process is adapting your quality of service (QoS) enforcement strategy.

Sometimes QoS enforcement in a world defined by mobile and BYOD might seem like a lost cause, but if you take the right approach you can make sure end-user experience never suffers.

QoS Enforcement Is Only Getting Tougher

From the outset of personal devices entering the workplace, IT managers have had to deal with the network capacity implications. However, the problem is growing exponentially (and isn’t showing any signs of slowing down).

Take just one week out of the year as an example—March Madness week. Every year, studies are done to show just how much money companies are losing due to lost productivity during March Madness. In 2017, an estimated $1.6 billion was lost in the United States due to employees filling out brackets and talking to colleagues about the tournament.

But more importantly, the proliferation of BYOD and the consumerization of IT are making it easier for employees to drag network capacity down. In the March Madness example, your network gets bogged down with more inelastic traffic (in the form of media streaming) than it can handle.

In the past, this traffic spike could be isolated to certain times of the year. Now, applications with inelastic traffic (voice and video) are growing out of control year-round. And the effect is bandwidth exhaustion that can inevitably lead to application performance problems. When your mission-critical applications don’t have enough bandwidth, employee productivity and experience will hit a wall (even if they’re trying to do their jobs, not just when they stream basketball).

Access to bandwidth-hungry applications and services is easier than ever, and it’s possible you’re struggling to keep up. However, end-to-end visibility can give you the insight necessary to implement QoS enforcement that gets the job done.

Going Beyond Mobile Device Management to Enforce QoS Policies

You’ve heard the story before—put the right QoS policies in place and you won’t have to worry about bandwidth exhaustion or capacity shortages. QoS lets you prioritize application traffic so that critical apps take priority when capacity is scarce. The trick to QoS is setting the queues up properly, and then enforcing them end-to-end.

The problem is that improper BYOD management can cause network overload by seemingly invisible traffic. To make QoS enforcement possible in a business world dominated by personal mobile devices, you need complete visibility and control over the devices and packets on your network—both at headquarters and in your remote offices. Then you can actually see whether QoS policies are correct with any network provider (of which there are many these days).

Mobile device management (MDM) solutions promise to show you all the access points across your network, but you need to go a step further for QoS. Build a foundation focused on packet-level visibility and you’ll have a much easier time planning for capacity and keeping inelastic traffic in check.

If you want to learn more about maintaining your network performance in the age of mobile and BYOD, we have an on-demand webinar for you. Check out the video, Why Your Performance Monitoring Isn’t Working for Remote Locations, and see what it takes to stay on top of QoS.