Without Proper Planning, Enterprises Deploying iPads Will Need 300% More Wi-Fi
Apple iPads are popping up everywhere in the enterprise environment — executives are using them in conference room meetings, while doctors are checking information as they walk hospital corridors. Although larger touchscreens and improved user interfaces appeal to many users, the limited transmit power and throughput of these devices mean that enterprises need to deploy 300% more access points to get the same wireless performance characteristics as industry laptops. This research looks at the proper planning that enterprises must perform before allowing any device to access the network infrastructure.
- A mobile Apple iPad operating at 5 gigahertz (GHz) has an average of 10 milliwatts (mW; 10 decibels per mW [dBm]) transmit power, compared with the 30 mW to 50 mW (15 dBm to 17 dBm) of typical laptops.
- There are no standards for the implementation of Wi-Fi radios into mobile devices. The coverage and performance of battery-powered iPads with one-stream 802.11n radios can be very different than laptops.
- iPads will prefer to connect to the wireless infrastructure at 5GHz, but will aggressively switch to 2.4GHz, depending on the coverage. The iPad will switch back to 5GHz when it can perform acceptably.
- Document an enterprise policy that denotes the wireless infrastructure design parameters relating to expected performance via each device’s transmit power and receiver sensitivity. Use a 10 mW single-stream, single-channel radio performance as a minimum device radio specification.
- Test all devices that will be connected to the wireless infrastructure to ensure that the expected service level for the end-user usage scenario is being met.