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iPad Guzzles Network Capacity

Wireless network provider Meraki has reported that iPad usage consumed more than half the network capacity of one installation despite accounting for less than 10% of the devices on the network.
Wireless network provider Meraki reported that its Network Insight fingerprint technology has been used at an MIT installation that found iPad usage has been consuming more than one-half of the network’s capacity, yet the devices accounted for just 9% of the total devices attached to the network.

In announcing the results of the test, Meraki didn’t pass judgment on the high use, but it’s obvious that the iPad can turn out to be a huge consumer of network capacity.

Meraki, which specializes in delivering wireless networking through the cloud, reported this week that tests taken during a week in May compared the use of different devices on a network at MIT’s CSAIL network, the university’s largest interdepartmental laboratory. More than 300MB was transferred during the week by the average iPad user. iPhone users averaged 31MB and iPod Touch users averaged 12 MB.

The results take on new significance when compared with AT&T’s unveiling this week of metered data plans that include plans with 200 MB and 2GB limits. The average 300MB that was recorded by iPad users in the week would indicate that AT&T subscribers with the larger $25 a-month data plan would come in under AT&T’s limit, although the $15 plan would easily be exceeded by iPad users, at least at the MIT installation. AT&T has been the exclusive provider of Apple handsets in the U.S.

Meraki touts its Network Insight technology for providing network administrators with a forensics tool to analyze network activity as an aid in troubleshooting. The deep packet inspection technology suffers no drop in performance and operates at line-rate, Meraki said.

“There is incredible excitement around the iPad, yet network administrators are eyeing it with caution,” said Kiren Sekar, Meraki product manager, in a statement. “Administrators need visibility into their networks to see the iPad’s impact.”

Meraki noted that once the Network Insight technology is captured, it is uploaded to the firm’s Enterprise Cloud Controller, which hosts the firm’s network intelligence platform. Network administrators can then access the data through the company’s dashboard management tool.