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For optimum design of a network, network solution providers should calculate more than the WLAN’s coverage and capacity requirements.

On a daily basis Wi-Fi users partake in the overconsumption of internet data completely oblivious to the amount of data their favorite websites or applications require to run seamlessly.

To implement a high-performance WLAN, it is essential that those who design the networks consider external variables, such as client density as well as device and application throughput (bits of data or number of I/O operations responded to in a second) requirements.

Customarily, a network’s target throughput can support double the estimated throughput capabilities required by the environment. Throughput is typically measured in megabits per second (Mbps) and kilobits per second, (Kbps); there is 1 Mbps for every 1000 Kbps. Whether a website, web application or service can run seamlessly depends on the network’s bandwidth capacity and the maximum throughput capabilities of each application and device in a network. Coverage and signal strength are key factors in implementing a well-design network. As shown in the list below, the throughout requirement of common web applications is in direct correlation to the complexity of the service.

Throughput requirements for 5 common web applications:

Ranging from largest to smallest throughput requirement.

  • HD video streaming (i.e. Netflix) – 2 to 5 Mbps
  • Apple Facetime – 900 kbps
  • Web-browsing – appx. 500 kbps
  • YouTube video streaming – 500 kbps
  • VoIP Calls – 27 to 93 kbps for call streaming & 5 kbps for call signaling

Think of the network’s bandwidth (or capacity) as that which establishes the throughput (or speed) at which your web applications can run. If there isn’t enough bandwidth for all applications to run seamlessly, then the application will not be able to successfully operate at its highest throughput speed.

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