iOS7, New iPhones and Wi-Fi

Share Post

I know I am in trouble today, September 18. My inner geek can't wait to play with iOS7. Everyone around me seems to have iOS7 through Apple developer access. I have been missing out.

Unfortunately, iOS7 release clashes with my son. He turns 2 months old today. The missis will be uber sensitive when I zone out with my phone at home. The only answer, or as my wife says, balance, is to geek out while at work. So, here is a run-through of what iOS7 and the new iPhones do to Enterprise Wi-Fi.

More Network Traffic

 Last week, Tim Cook touted how the 700millionth iOS device will ship next month. My mind immediately went to how 700 million times ~200MB per iOS download is a very large number. Add to that a certain percentage of people who will backup to iCloud.

Network admins should watch out for spikes over Wi-Fi and Internet uplinks for the next few days. Aruba AirWave 7.7 now provides statistics by destination and device type. If necessary, Aruba Wi-Fi can also be used to rate limit iCloud and Apple device traffic.

App- and device-specific monitoring and bandwidth controls are handy tools even after the iOS7 upgrade rush settles down. I predict a 4-10x increase in the amount of traffic iPhones and iPads will generate. For one, iMovie is now free. This means we can create HD movies that will be ~200MB in size for a 60second video. New 28 megapixel panorama mode with iPhone 5S will make photo file sizes jump to as much as 4MB as opposed to the typical 1MB files today.

More RF Contention

 I am disappointed that iPhone 5S is not 802.11ac-capable like the Samsung Galaxy S4 and the Moto X. On the bright side, new iPhone ($0 for 4s, $99 for 5C) pricing will make 802.11n-capable devices ubiquitous. IT admins should expect a larger number of devices contending for the same Wi-Fi channel and access point.

The first thing to do is to monitor areas of congestion. AirWave 7.7 provides real-time and historical reports based on device type. The new RF performance scatter graphs compare APs by # of devices and channel utilization. This is the only way to really know which areas need a capacity upgrade or adjustment.

802.11ac APs are a great way to remediate capacity issues. Aruba 802.11ac APs have better radios and processors, and therefore improve 802.11n device performance as much as three times over 802.11n APs. Of course, any 802.11ac-capable devices that trickle in get an immediate boost.

MDM Changes

iPhones and iPads are more business-friendly with iOS7. Enhancements to the MDM API make it easier for IT departments and vendors like Aruba to improve management of company-owned Apple devices.

iOS7 also changes the Captive Network Assistant (CNA) behavior. This is the web-sheet (i.e. hotspot-style) pop-up that appears after connecting to a Wi-Fi network that requires web login. Some of these usability changes inhibit how networks automatically provision iOS devices. Devices that are already provisioned don't get affected. Aruba has released patches to existing ClearPass software to accommodate these CNA changes. With these patches, networks can automate onboarding and provisioning of new iOS7 devices. More on this soon.