5 Apps That Hog Bandwidth on Your Network

Does your wireless connection ever feel slow and sluggish? Below are five popular applications that can consume quite a bit of bandwidth. Don’t let them bog down your network!

  • Skype and VoIP / video conferencing
  • Dropbox and online backup
  • Facebook
  • YouTube
  • Pandora

Using Meraki’s built-in application visibility makes it easy to see which apps consume the most bandwidth. A look over the past month at the application categories running on Meraki’s network reveals the top three – VoIP and video conferencing, online backup, and email – and the applications that consume the most bandwidth of each of those categories. Figure 1 shows the summary.

Application traffic by category

Figure 1: Application traffic by category

Checking the 5 apps listed above reveals how much bandwidth each uses on the wireless network:

  • Skype and VoIP / video conferencing – 14%
  • Dropbox and online backup – 11%
  • Facebook – 0.8% (all social web adds up to 1.1%)
  • YouTube – 3.0% (all online video adds up to 8.9%)
  • Pandora 2.5% (music apps add up to 6.7%)

A deeper dive into the online backup category shows that Dropbox is the most popular online backup application, and within that, the dashboard shows the top client devices that contribute to Dropbox usage. This was eye opening – my laptop is #2 on the list in figure 2, consuming just over 32% of all the wireless network’s Dropbox usage.


Figure 2: Application Details - Dropbox

Figure 2: Application details – Dropbox

Another application consuming large amounts of bandwidth is Windows file sharing. Like many organizations, Meraki uses some file servers that store and allow sharing of files. Note here that the client consuming the most Windows file sharing bandwidth uses 38% of all the Windows file sharing activity.

What should be done if these categories are out of line with expectations or business needs? The answer is simple – use application traffic shaping to throttle undesired applications by enforcing traffic policies at the network edge (at the AP). For example, figure 4 below shows how one rule can govern peer-to-peer and online backup applications, and another rule lets VoIP and video conferencing flow freely across the wireless network.

Traffic Shaping Rules

Figure 3: Traffic shaping rules

Have you looked at your wireless network recently to see what applications are using the most bandwidth? We’d love it if you share with us a little about the most popular applications on your network.

(Original Post at Meraki Blog. For more info about Meraki in South Africa, see www.skyrove.com/meraki)

3G vs Wi-Fi: It’s no longer a battle

We’re often asked about the relevance of public Wi-Fi in the light of ubiquitous 3G connectivity. Why would anyone connect to a Wi-Fi hotspot if 3G is so much simpler?

Until recently, the main argument for using Wi-Fi was that it was cheaper and faster. But with the launch of Cell C’s R149 pm 3G package and the subsequent responses by Vodacom and 8ta, public Wi-Fi has come under severe threat.

In general, Wi-Fi hotspots are still marginally cheaper and marginally faster than 3G, but it comes at the cost of mobility and more irritatingly, the need to type in user credentials when connecting. Typing in usernames and (oft forgotten) passwords is generally a schlep, but it’s made worse when you’re having to type them in on a mobile phone.

So what do we do? Enter automated logins! Skyrove has been trialing automated logins using Facebook accounts and other methods for a while now, but these still involve some clicking about, occasionally entering user details or installing an app on your phone.

The holy grail, of course, would be to have your phone automatically connect to Wi-Fi networks without you having to interact with it at all. If you’re at a hotel, airport, train station, restaurant or Greenmarket Square, your phone should connect to the Wi-Fi network without any fuss. If you are driving between places, your phone should hop back onto the the 3G network.

Well, this is finally becoming a reality. The global roaming company iPass announced their Open Mobile Exchange program for mobile network operators this week. The key success factor, in my opinion, is that rather than focusing on the 3G-to-WiFi handover technology alone, iPass can offer operators access to a 140,000+ hotspots worldwide and are leading the charge to make it happen.

Skyrove is a member of the iPass network, so if your mobile operator signs up with iPass, you’ll get easy, zero-click, fast internet access at 700 of our hotspots nationwide!

Let’s hope @vodacom, @MTNSouthAfrica and @CellC get going with this pronto!


p.s. GigaOM has a great write-up here

Skyrove – Now up to 66% cheaper

As of today, Skyrove is simplifying its pricing model and reducing prices at more than 800 hotspots nationwide.

Previously, different Skyrove hotspots would charge a different rate per megabyte depending on its location. So you could be paying 30c/MB at your home but 60c/MB when travelling.

We felt this was confusing and inconsistent, so we decided to make things simpler and cheaper.

In future, instead of buying credits and then paying different rates at different hotspots, you are now able to buy megabytes in bundles that can be used at any Skyrove hotspot.

Megabytes can now be purchased in one of the following three bundles:

R5002500 MB20c / MB
R2501000 MB25c / MB
R120400 MB30c / MB
R40100 MB40c / MB

If you have any existing credit with Skyrove this will be converted to Megabytes based on the rate of the last hotspot you used, so you will not lose any credits because of the price change.

As before, Megabytes you buy with Skyrove will never expire and can be used at more than 800 Wi-Fi hotspots nationwide. See http://map.skyrove.com for our Hotspot locations.

Please note that the above pricing bundles do not apply if you are using a 3rd party, such as Skype, to connect to a Skyrove Wi-Fi hotspot.

For a pricing comparison, see the mybroadband article here

Skyrove and Skype offer free Wi-Fi across South Africa over holiday period

Holidaymakers will be able to take advantage of free Wi-Fi access at over 650 Skyrove hotspots across South Africa this December as part of a deepening relationship between the company and Skype.

National Wi-Fi hotspot provider, Skyrove, formalised a relationship with Skype, a communications software company, in October this year which allows Skyrove hotspot users to buy Internet access using their Skype account and Skype Credit.

The ten-day promotion of Skype Access will run from 0000 SAST on December 22nd, 2010 to 23:59 SAST on January 1st, 2011.

“We are delighted that we are able to introduce our Wi-Fi access to the public during this period. Both consumers based in South Africa and those visiting will be able to make use of the offer to reach out to their families around the world. This is also a time when many people are travelling and rely on remote access to keep tabs on work,” explains Henk Kleynhans, MD of Skyrove.

The only requirement is that users have the latest version of Skype on their machines, which will automatically prompt users to connect to the Skyrove network via Skype Access.

The ten-day free offer will allow users to experience the regular Skype Access feature which allows them to make use of their Skype Credit to access Wi-Fi at Skyrove hotspots around the country. This is particularly useful for people who make use of Skype on a regular basis – including South Africa’s growing international visitors.

The deal with Skyrove expands the footprint of Skype Access, which can be found in over 200,000 hotspots around the globe, making it simple and cost effective to make Skype voice and video calls, surf the web or any other online activities.

For Skyrove, the offer means fast, simple and affordable access to a greater number of users.

For more details on where they can find Skyrove hotspots, consumers can visit www.skyrove.com and click on the Find a Hotspot button at the top of the page.

70% of mobile data in Korea is delivered over Wi-Fi

He says that only 10% of data transfer is through 3G networks, 70% coming through wi-fi – which is not that surprising when you consider the number of hotspots in South Korea’s urban areas.
from this BBC article