In these times of the “Corona virus” outbreak, people are confined to their homes, and many of them feel more than before, the pains of “network stress”. Our home was already crowded enough with Zoom conferences for business and also just for staying in touch. With the arrival of ‘stay at home’ orders and so many people working from the home in most countries, we now find a real problem with Wi-Fi access due to our confinement, whether it be self-imposed or government mandated. Either way, the home network, in most cases, will be crowded with people jockeying for Wi-Fi air time far more than ever before.
Home/consumer, university dorms, and even apartment complexes, with Wi-Fi networks, can have frustrating problems with multiple clients, accessing many applications, with a myriad of devices. One member might be having a Zoom business conference, another accessing a virtual reality (VR) game, and still another watching streaming video; all competing for the same Wi-Fi network space. This kind of RF density has a significant effect on each of the user’s experiences and needs.
Figure 1: Wi-Fi can be very messy as multiple clients, multiple apps struggle with cross-impact between devices
Wi-Fi is, by its nature, a shared medium in which all users will inevitably struggle for airtime. The only way to provide service for everyone is the implementation of an intelligent, high-performance network that is secure and simple to use. A good control mechanism is necessary and will be able to prioritize Wi-Fi airtime to services and users.
Quality of service (QoS) technology is needed here to manage data traffic in such a way that enables reduced packet loss, latency and jitter on the Wi-Fi network. QoS will allow setting priorities for specific types of data on that network, with the goal of controlling and managing the network resources.
Especially in these times of the “Coronavirus” outbreak, Celeno's OptimizAIR™ solution has a feature set which enables optimum bandwidth utilization that will help relieve some of the “Corona-related” home networking issues for the many people who are now working and confined to the home. When this virus threat subsides, we will still have home network problems, with 10 to 20 or more connected devices.
Adding to the problem of multiple clients, we will need to control the far and weak client devices, prioritize video traffic, hot spots, and more. Each of these devices has its own capabilities and limitations.
Enter Celeno’s OptimizAIR™ technology, which powers home routers, with an innovative airtime management solution.
OptimizAIR™ enables the provisioning, enforcement and dynamic allocation of Wi-Fi resources per multiple virtual networks (SSID) per service, per device and per traffic direction all served by the same Wi-Fi Access Point. It allows various applications to be served simultaneously over Wi-Fi with different enforced priority and capacity and prevents far/slow clients from hogging network resources and degrading network performance.
Since Wi-Fi is a Shared-Medium Access Technology, network performance is affected heavily in real-life scenarios with multiple clients and slow clients can slow down the entire networks.
Let's look at an example of a four client scenario in a home.
Figure 2: A typical home example with four clients (Stations A through D)
Now, let’s assume that Station A is the only client operating and has an average throughput of 100Mbps.
Figure 3: Station A is the only operating client and does not have to share any bandwidth and has its full 100 Mbps throughput
The same situation would hold if Station B was the sole client (using all of its average throughput of 90 Mbps), or Station C was the sole client (using all of its average throughput of 60 Mbps). However, if Stations A, B, and C are operating concurrently, let’s see what happens to the throughput.
Figure 4: In this scenario the average throughput of each of the three devices, A, B, and C, are using a half to a third of the throughput it would have if operating alone. The total throughput in this case is 73 Mbps
Let’s take a look at the scenario of a client that is located at a far location from the router. Station D, as a Far Client exhibits poor signal connectivity and very slow data throughput.
Figure 5: What a mess. Station D takes a huge portion of the available air time due to the poor signal quality and slow data rate and degrades the entire network performance for all clients in which the total throughput drops to 29.5 Mbps
The above example is a common issue that can degrade the entire Wi-Fi network in the home.
A typical scenario can be the example of four STB video clients (Set-top boxes) connected through the Wi-Fi network on the same SSID in the home. In this scenario, the distant Set-top box with poor connectivity will consume a large portion of the available airtime and will drop the total throughput to all clients on the network, resulting in poor video quality in all Set-top boxes in the home.
Similarly, a remote game console can overtake the Wi-Fi airtime and starve dad’s Zoom session, while connecting to the home network. In this case the remote client can completely shut off the other clients.
OptimizAIR™ will alleviate the scenarios described above by enforcing fair share of the airtime between all clients and will limit the low performing client from overtaking the airtime on account of the other clients.
A popular method to create an effective Wi-Fi solution, supporting different network needs is by use of multiple virtual networks (SSID). This approach is another way to create a solution in the home for the family with Dad logging to SSID-Telecommute and the kids to SSID-Fun.
OptimizAIR™ is designed to support the provisioning, enforcement and dynamic allocation of multiple SSID configurations as depicted below:
Figure 6: The five layers of Celeno’s scheduler
Figure 6 shows the unique feature capabilities of Celeno's OptimizAIR™ airtime management solution to dynamically support five layers of airtime QoS management. The diagram depicts an example of managing the QoS between two BSSIDs (multiple logical networks basic service set identifiers; this is the network name).
60% of the Wi-Fi air time is allocated to one SSID---this can be Dad’s "Telecommute" and 40% of the airtime is allocated to the home "Fun" network for video, web surfing, gaming etc. This configuration will guarantee that while Dad is working from his home office, his network will receive priority of at least 60% of the available airtime and will not be affected by congestion due to load of other Wi-Fi devices in the home. Furthermore, OptimizAIR™ technology has the capability to dynamically allocate the available airtime, for example, it will guarantee 60% to dad’s "Telecommute" network if it is active. If Dad is not working and his network is not consuming the maximum allocated airtime, then his 60% airtime will be dynamically allocated to the Fun SSID and vice versa.
Figure 6 also shows that Wi-Fi airtime prioritization can be set for each type of access category within each SSID. For example within the Home SSID voice calls can get higher priority than video, while the video service will get higher airtime priority than regular data.
In addition, OptimizAIR™ features an option to set ‘Per Device’ priority such as prioritizing the Wi-Fi airtime to Dad's laptop over other connected devices on his network.
In many cases the Wi-Fi airtime load can further be balanced by prioritizing some services over others. OptimizAIR™ for example, can prioritize subscription-based television services and streaming service like Netflix over OTT and video-sharing platforms like YouTube or even file downloads that can consume valuable Wi-Fi airtime.
Finally, OptimizAIR™ addresses the need to limit uplink traffic when the network is loaded. For example, Dad's office computer may unintentionally perform a file backup to the cloud, consuming valuable Wi-Fi airtime when the network is loaded. OptimizAIR™ can be configured to avoid this type of congestion by prioritizing downlink traffic over uplink.
Everyone has multiple devices, using multiple apps at the same time. Users are doing their online banking, viewing the latest YouTube video, checking e-mails, and tasking “Alexa” to turn down the lights. Celeno’s OptimizAIR™ technology will enable service providers to intelligently manage Wi-Fi capacity inside the home and/or office network. This smart airtime management system will lead to a much improved and optimized network performance with a comfortable user experience, even in a congested network, with many users contending for Wi-Fi airtime.