Delivering Quality (Of Wifi)

A definite paradigm shift has occurred in the way we watch video today.  Enabled by our converged, personal mobile devices, video consumption has become much more individualized, allowing each of us to watch whatever we want, wherever we want, at any time.  Some of the content may come from our personal library.  Other sources might include content services to which we’ve subscribed such as Netflix, iTunes or Hulu, or from dynamically advertised on-demand resources. 


This paradigm shift has recently experienced rapid growth brought forth by individual access and improvements to “The Cloud,” coupled with performance and format enhancements to our converged mobile platforms; especially emerging tablets.   However, delivering the required connectivity and performance to enable this paradigm shift while maintaining the required user experience has new implications for the hotel internet provider and associated hotel wireless solutions. 


It may no longer be assumed that the majority of video content will be delivered locally, but will utilize Cloud services from the Internet as the primary source.  Ultimately, it’s our converged, personal mobile devices, not laptops, that form the center of this demand, and while having no wired ethernet connection, must satisfy their thirst for the capacity that video demands from the Wifi infrastructure.  However, capacity is only part of the problem.  With many personal mobile devices vying for precious wireless bandwidth, latency sensitive traffic such as video and voice require their information be guaranteed delivery on a strict time schedule so as not to cause disruptions that would garble their reception.


To deliver a quality user experience for latency sensitive, real-time video content, the hotel Internet provider and hotel wireless solutions must provide specific mechanisms in the network path between the video’s source and its destination to maintain the required Quality of Service (QoS).  Wifi, being part of that path, has these specific mechanisms defined in its 802.11e standard.  Most current Wifi infrastructure components are equipped with or can be upgraded to support the 802.11e QoS standard and its seamless integration with existing backhaul and backbone router QoS protocols delivered by the hotel Internet provider. 


However, there’s a short term “catch”.  The majority of personal mobile devices do not adhere to or even deploy the 802.11e standard today.  But as access to spectrum and thus available bandwidth remains tight, their implementation is inevitable.  In the meantime, other mechanisms must be deployed to deliver the required QoS.  Today’s available hotel wireless solutions offer traffic identification and associated high priority policy tagging of the data to insure its on time delivery.  With a sufficient level of scale, these solutions provide an effective mechanism to achieve the required QoS until ubiquitous deployment of 802.11e standards based solutions occur.


Delivering Quality of Service means delivering a quality experience.  Make sure your infrastructure is keeping pace as the paradigm shifts. 


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