Much like hospitality, guests and visitors at assisted living facilities consistently rank quality Internet near the top of their list of critical services. Unfortunately, it is increasingly expensive and complex for facilities to provide consistently fast and reliable guest WiFi. Traditional approaches to improving Internet speed – from rate capping and setting up separate VLANs, to adding more bandwidth – are expensive, time-consuming and often fall short of ensuring smooth, reliable network performance.
Designed by technology executives serving the hospitality industry, the CirrusWorks Governor takes a new approach to improving Internet speed for assisted living facilities. Instead of purchasing excess bandwidth or configuring complex rule sets, the Governor uses mathematical algorithms to automatically adjust bandwidth utilization based on user demand in real time. Traditional packet shaping requires IT staff to predict user behavior. This is nearly impossible when the user base consists of patients, guests and visitors. Since the Governor adjusts bandwidth dynamically – regardless of what users are doing – it is extremely effective, improving guest WiFi speed and reliability.
Increasing Demand for Data from a Diverse User Base
Assisted Living guests represent a highly dense, diverse and unpredictable user base. Before breakfast, business travelers tend to sync email and exchange media-rich files. After dinner, business guests continue to place large demands on the Internet link through use of VOIP and video programming like Netflix and YouTube. These activities, especially on weekdays from 8 to 9 am and 5 to 10 pm are generating WAN circuit congestion, packet delay and ultimately poor overall service quality for time-dependent applications. For guests this translates to poor quality of service and low satisfaction ratings.
Increasingly complex streaming media, CDNs and SDNs put increasing real time demands on both the gateway and the WAN circuit connecting the facility to the Internet. This in turn will generate WAN circuit congestion, “ISP buffer bloat", packet delay, drops and ultimately poor overall service quality for all users and all applications. This will subsequently show up in poor service quality scores for the facility.
Adoption of Cloud-Based Applications
Recently, assisted living operators are moving their on-premise IT to datacenter and cloud based operations. While this has obvious benefits in terms of IT strategy, data integrity and IT cost, this move will cause the real time amount of data transfer over the Internet (WAN) to climb exponentially. With all data being retrieved and stored outside the venue site, traffic that was previously relegated to the local LAN, is now transported (usually securely) with high overhead to/from an off-premise data center or cloud server.
The Internet Access Gateway or Controller (IAG or NAC) is also somewhat to blame for poor user perception of the connection quality. When streaming media first appeared on the scene, the NAC needed a way to stop a single user from overrunning or grabbling all the available bandwidth. This is called rate capping. When using rate capping, all users vie for the same Internet resource at a given speed, without regard to actual throughput availability or specific user data traffic volumes. Even when rate capping is applied to tiers or groups of users, the vast peak oversubscription of the Internet bandwidth will overshadow any effects from the rate caps. As a result, all users will continue to have a negative experience.
Additionally, the circuit is assured to be poorly utilized on a second-by-second basis because of the ISP buffer bloat and discard issues. So strict rate capping doesn’t really deliver what the user population needs.
Bandwidth Increases Are Not Enough
The facility IP traffic flow problem is a complex data model that must account for the asynchronous end-to-end data flows of each application and user over time. When delays, congestion and poor connectivity are experienced on the network, the traditional course of action has been to increase the bandwidth of the WAN circuit. But simply increasing bandwidth will not solve the problem. The data protocols that deliver high volume traffic to users are designed to take advantage of all the bandwidth that is believed to be available. Therefore, demand rises to meet the upgraded bandwidth offered and continues until the new circuit is also overwhelmed during peak user loads. The relief from increased bandwidth is often temporary or non-existent. Simply opening a bigger pipe does not necessarily cure congestion, but it will increase operations cost.
CirrusWorks is Different
CirrusWorks has addressed this very complex issue by designing a dynamic congestion and traffic shaping device that can be placed within facility LAN and provide automatic congestion control, WAN (Internet link) optimization and enforce user prioritization. This is done in real time, without application snooping and in a user neutral fashion.
CirrusWorks Governor (CWG) is a next generation bandwidth management engine that does not require rules or policies. CirrusWorks CWG is a cloud-managed, solid-state appliance (or server) designed for minimal configuration, and installation into almost any LAN configuration. The appliance is designed expressly for deployment into end-point LAN architectures supporting public facing Internet or mixtures of corporate and BYOD traffic.
The device works in conjunction with your existing gateway, and packet screening or application aware filters. It serves the function of performance management for your LAN.
The CirrusWorks Governor next generation bandwidth management device provides the following benefits: