BYOD Becoming a Huge Factor

By Chris Preimesberger  |  Posted 2012-03-16 Print this article Print

BYOD Becoming a Huge Factor

What makes this year more significant than in the past is the phenomenon of BYOD, or bring your own device(s), Jacobs said.

"Now we've got all these smartphones, tablets and netbooks that are capable of streaming all these games., for example, was offering unlimited streaming per person for $4. So for four bucks, you can watch whatever game you want at any time, with any device you have," Jacobs said.

That makes the accessibility practically a no-brainer. Devices such as those mentioned above can all attach to a work network, and now all of a sudden, people are using their work resources to stream the games.

"This can be potentially disastrous for a network," Jacobs said.  "You and I are now on a call that's going through our Internet uplink at my office. If we had 30-40-50 people watching the basketball championships in high-def video, it's unlikely you and I would be able to understand each other."

This might explain a phone conference eWEEK had on March 15, the first full day of the NCAA tournament, in which one of the people on the line was almost completely unable to be understood, due to a very weak connection.

This can be a "teachable moment" in two directions, Jacobs said. "In one direction, users need to understand the impact of their activities on their corporation and corporation resources," Jacobs said. "On the other hand, network administrators need to understand why monitoring all the traffic that goes across their network is just as important as monitoring the networking devices that connect all these things together."

The most important thing is to do traffic analysis, he said. Most network routers can supply reports that tell administrators what's going on. "It used to be, 'Why is the network down?' And the answer was a Boolean yes or no. Now, it's 'Why is the network slow?' Jacobs said. "If you don't have a window into the network, you can't answer that question."

Why Admins Need to Be Proactive

Network administrators need to be proactive and not reactive, he said. especially in this new device age.

"The network is just a service that provides something else," Jacobs said. "You load a Web page, send an email, et cetera. The other end of that is something we call end-user experience monitoring. We have software that will simulate what a user does. For example, at, our Website, we have a simulator that loads a few items into a shopping cart and checks out.  If it takes too long, we get an alert that's going too slow, so we go and take a look at it."

While it is important to peek into the pipe from the middle to see what's going across, it's equally important to simulate what an end user would see, so you can see what they are experiencing, Jacobs said.

Learning from March Madness Network Spikes

March Madness is the kind of "network tsunami" that calls out and brings attention to networking issues such as these, Jacobs said.

"We started seeing this trend about three years ago, we observed empirical evidence in the second and third weeks of March of a big flip in traffic uplinks for corporations," Jacobs said.

The upsurge in network slowdowns during March just happened to coincide with the new 3G smartphones, mainly the iPhone.

"Internet protocol [IP] was always envisioned with QoS [quality of service] controls that would allow network administrators to say: 'Hey, make sure to allow this traffic to be always prioritized over that traffic,' so that NCAA video streaming can never knock off my VOIP telephone system," Jacobs said. "We've now got to the point where we have hardware that can actually do that."

Chris Preimesberger is eWEEK's Editor of Features and Analysis. Twitter: editingwhiz.

Chris Preimesberger Chris Preimesberger was named Editor-in-Chief of Features & Analysis at eWEEK in November 2011. Previously he served eWEEK as Senior Writer, covering a range of IT sectors that include data center systems, cloud computing, storage, virtualization, green IT, e-discovery and IT governance. His blog, Storage Station, is considered a go-to information source. Chris won a national Folio Award for magazine writing in November 2011 for a cover story on and CEO-founder Marc Benioff, and he has served as a judge for the SIIA Codie Awards since 2005. In previous IT journalism, Chris was a founding editor of both IT Manager's Journal and and was managing editor of Software Development magazine. His diverse resume also includes: sportswriter for the Los Angeles Daily News, covering NCAA and NBA basketball, television critic for the Palo Alto Times Tribune, and Sports Information Director at Stanford University. He has served as a correspondent for The Associated Press, covering Stanford and NCAA tournament basketball, since 1983. He has covered a number of major events, including the 1984 Democratic National Convention, a Presidential press conference at the White House in 1993, the Emmy Awards (three times), two Rose Bowls, the Fiesta Bowl, several NCAA men's and women's basketball tournaments, a Formula One Grand Prix auto race, a heavyweight boxing championship bout (Ali vs. Spinks, 1978), and the 1985 Super Bowl. A 1975 graduate of Pepperdine University in Malibu, Calif., Chris has won more than a dozen regional and national awards for his work. He and his wife, Rebecca, have four children and reside in Redwood City, Calif.Follow on Twitter: editingwhiz

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