The classroom paradigm continues to shift as new technology is adopted. Long gone are the days of watching a movie in class by threading the film from one reel, through the projector, onto the other reel. Film was replaced by videotape, which was replaced by laser disks and then by DVDs. The new classroom instruction model includes HD video streamed wirelessly on demand from a local/regional distribution server (or from the web) to each student, who has their own computer or tablet.
The latest paradigm is much more personal and interactive, which greatly increases the number of clients (tablets, laptops, and smartphones), the client density, the different types of applications, and the requirements and bandwidth those applications. In order to be able to support this shift, many parts of the school’s IT infrastructure must be updated, especially the wireless LAN.
Real-Time Applications Challenge WLAN Performance
The most challenging applications for networks to support are real-time applications, like voice audio and video. They are a challenge because they must be delivered within specific time boundaries and with very little loss. If the time and loss criteria are not met for voice, the audio can be full of static, distorted, choppy, or missing altogether. If they are not met for video, the image on the screen can freeze, pixelate (distort), or the video may stop completely. The timing and loss criteria are based on human tolerance: if things are off just a little bit, it causes a poor user experience.
Our Video Benchmarking Test
We recently compared the C-120, our new access point, to the Meraki MR42, Aruba IAP-325, and the Aerohive AP250 to see how many video streaming clients they could support before the user experience was impacted.
There are two ways we can run a video scale test. One using a tool like IxChariot to simulate video and gather statistics to produce a Media Delivery Index (MDI) which consists of a delay factor score and a media loss rate score. The other, and the one we chose to use for this test, is streaming video from a server and observing the real impact.
To perform the test, HD video (1080p) was streamed from a video server. New clients were added, one at a time, until a distruptive video artifact was observed on a client screen. Once a screen freeze or pixelation was observed, the last client was removed from the stream to see if good video quality returned. If the video was then clear on all of the clients, that number was recorded as the maximum number of clients that the AP could support.
The Mojo C-120: HD Video Streaming Winner
The Mojo C-120 led the pack by supporting 20 simultaneous HD video streams without video being impacted. Aerohive and Meraki could only support 17 HD streams, and Aruba brought up the rear by only supporting 10 HD streams.
This is an exciting time in education. There are so many new educational tools, many of which require a solid networking infrastructure, especially a 802.11 wireless network. Access point performance is an important aspect to consider when building or upgrading wireless infrastructure. To find out more about how Mojo compares to the other enterprise access point solutions, download the competitive performance report, or better yet, try out an access point for yourself by calling 877-930-6394 or clicking below.