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U Ottawa Tests Put High Concentration of iPads Through Paces

A Canadian university recently performed a simulation to see how well its network would hold up under the collective congestion of 100 Apple iPads running a multitude of common, bandwidth-hungry institutional applications. The University of Ottawa tested an Aruba Networks wireless network in its 250-seat auditorium in order to understand how real-world network performance would perform in a dense environment.

"The devices that students use and the way that they use them has shifted dramatically in the last two years," said CIO Sylvain Chalut. "Where we used to see about 75 percent laptops and 25 percent desktops, we now see maybe 50 percent laptops and the rest using other mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets. Students used to scramble for the library and the computer lab between classes, but that is over. We once had a list of 'approved devices' that could access the network. Those days are behind us."

The university's test included both first- and second-generation iPads, with and without 3G capabilities, running on an IPv6 802.11n WiFi network. The network infrastructure included an Aruba S3500 Mobility Access Switch, four Aruba AP-135s, and an Aruba 6000 Mobility Controller with an M3 controller module running Aruba OS version 6.1 (see figure 2). Test administrators managed the network via Aruba AirWave.

The applications tested by the university encompassed:

  • Blackboard Mobile Learn, on which all clients simultaneously accessed course curriculum and viewed on-demand streaming video;
  • Video-based curriculum, video delivered by Distribution Access, a Canadian educational video provider;
  • Apple Facetime for video conferencing;
  • Apple AirPlay for wireless streaming of multimedia content to an Apple TV connected to a classroom projector;
  • Live, local video content streamed through Haivision Network Video gear;
  • ResponseWare real-time polling from Turning Technologies.

The university used VeriWave WaveInsite to set up and run the test and to measure performance.

Each application was delivered simultaneously to all 100 devices. According to a statement issued by Aruba, the applications performed "with the highest quality and without any noticeable jitter, delay, or frame loss."

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a writer who covers technology and business for a number of publications. Contact her at dian@dischaffhauser.com.

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