By Peter Thornycroft
Sending broadband video over wireless LANs (WLANs) used to be a trying experience, with jitter and dropouts marring picture quality, and bandwidth limits restricting the number of available channels. Three developments have transformed the video landscape by making it possible to transmit multiple channels of high-quality video over a multiuse WLAN that is also carrying data and voice.
To begin with, organizations that have already deployed pervasive multi-use WLANs are always on the lookout for ways to leverage this infrastructure in pursuit of cost savings. For example, Aruba's university customers report that students already have an overwhelming preference for wireless over wired connections, and as a result up to 90% of the network-connected devices in student housing connect using the WLAN. This presents an opportunity to remove much of the wired infrastructure and reduce operating expenses, and to build new facilities with only minimal wired infrastructure and lower capital expenses.
Since video can account for a large percentage of network bandwidth, multicast optimization across the LAN is an important function. Aruba incorporates IGMP snooping to monitor multicast group members, and only delivers the multicast stream across the LAN to access points whose clients require it.