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Bring-Your-Own-Device Creates Bandwidth Burden on Corporate Networks; Effective Traffic Management Tools can Contain Impact

Shirley O’Sullivan, vice president of marketing for EMEA at Blue Coat Systems

Report shows that additional bandwidth burden from mobile devices on the network can range from 4GB to more than 200GB in any given month

January 14, 2013 11:56 by

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates, 13th January, 2013: In a recent experiment, Blue Coat tracked the bandwidth burden of one employee with two iOS devices (an iPhone and iPad). For just those two weeks, the bandwidth impact on the corporate network was more than 39GB.


BYOD adoption has increased 15-fold since 2009 with 1.02 billion BYOD devices expected by the end of 2012. According to the recent Global Mobility Study conducted by IDG Research Services, 71 percent of employees report that they access the corporate network with their personally-owned smartphone. The additional bandwidth burden of these devices on the network can range from 4GB to more than 200GB in any given month.


Why Is Bandwidth Burden Happening

Since 2009, more than a billion Apple iOS and Google Android smartphones and tablets have been sold. These devices consume a significant amount of additional bandwidth, crowding out other applications on the network.


Data caps on cellular network and home broadband connections as well as app and software updates that require a WiFi connection mean that a disproportionate amount of this activity takes place on the corporate network. At the same time, the business doesn’t have the tools to see or control activity from these devices on the corporate network.


Bandwidth-consuming activities on smartphones include:


  • OS Updates and Upgrades: Carriers require devices be connected to a computer or Wi-Fi network for OS downloads that are up to hundreds of megabytes in size. The result: a single BYOD device can easily overwhelm network bandwidth with one click – and corporate networks and applications will be the losers.
  • App Downloads: More than 1.2M applications are readily accessible from Apple iTunes and Google Play, and the typical BYOD owner downloads over 40 applications. Apps can range in size from a few megabytes to hundreds of megabytes. Additionally, app updates are image files, so the impact to bandwidth is essentially the same as downloading the application for the first time with each new update.
  • Photo and Video Uploads: Cameras built into smartphones can capture still photo, most at high resolution. Anyone can capture a photo (1-3MB) or video (25 MB; 230MB for a minute) and quickly upload it to a sharing site like iCloud or Flickr for co-workers, friends and family. The same photos and videos can be just as easily downloaded by co-workers, creating a double bandwidth impact.
  • Video and Rich Media Downloads: With video content readily available to consumers for download from iTunes, Amazon and others, users have never been able to so easily consume corporate bandwidth. HD videos average 3GB or more in sizes and a full season of a TV show, will consume even more. Additionally, mobile devices provide users with ready-access to the growing library of video content on the Internet. A typical YouTube video will consume 500Kbps, so a single user in a remote office with a T1 connection will consume 33 percent of the bandwidth for as long as the video lasts.
  • Backup to Cloud Storage: iCloud provides users with 5 GB of free storage in the cloud to sync content, such as photos, email, music, videos and applications across all devices. Incremental backups are performed daily and vary from a few kilobytes to as much as 20 megabytes depending on the amount of new data to sync. For example, calendar and web bookmarks are small while emails and photos and videos consume much more bandwidth.


What Can Businesses Do

Like corporate issued laptops, mobile devices are used at work for recreational activities. However, because BYOD devices are not inventoried or issued by companies, many IT departments have no idea how many devices are on their network, what applications they are using or how much bandwidth they are consuming. More importantly, they have no way to control the impact of these devices on the network. Without effective traffic management tools, IT operations is just along for the ride with BYOD.


To contain the impact these devices have on the corporate network, businesses require:


  • Visibility: Real-time view of all application and web content on the corporate network provides visibility into BYOD-driven traffic from millions of rich content sites and hundreds of enterprise applications.
  • Control: QoS policies enable network administrators to limit BYOD downstream and upstream traffic to a manageable portion of network capacity, enabling bursts when bandwidth is not needed by higher-priority business applications.
  • Optimization/Acceleration: Protocol optimization along with object caching of OS or app downloads or on-demand rich content reduces the impact of BYOD while enabling corporate video initiatives like training, communications, and access to documents.


Blue Coat has recently introduced a new plug-in for PacketShaper appliances that gives businesses visibility into and control over iCloud traffic on the network, which can consume tremendous amounts of bandwidth and degrade critical application performance this traffic. This plug-in complements an existing plug-in that allows businesses to see and control traffic from Apple software updates, including updates for Apple iTunes, Safari browser and iOS. With these, businesses can mitigate the bandwidth burden of BYOD initiatives on the corporate network.


The plug-in is part of Blue Coat’s ongoing commitment to helping businesses manage the increasing use of personal devices in the corporate environment.


Blue Coat understands there is no one-size-fits-all BYOD solution. That’s why we’re continuing to deliver flexible solutions that businesses can customize according to their corporate needs and policies,” said Shirley O’Sullivan, vice president of marketing for EMEA at Blue Coat Systems. “With the latest PacketShaper plug-in for iCloud, Blue Coat customers can manage personal devices and applications with the same vigilance they apply to corporate-owned resources to ensure business needs always take priority.”

About Blue Coat Systems

Blue Coat Systems provides Web security and WAN optimization solutions to 86 percent of FORTUNE Global 500 companies. As the market share leader in the secure web gateway market, Blue Coat sets the standard for enterprise security. Its solutions provide the visibility, protection and control required to optimize and secure the flow of information to any user, on any network, anywhere. For additional information, please visit


For more information, please contact:

Manal Abi Rafeh
Blue Coat Systems ME

Telephone: +971 4  3911620

Fax: +971 4 3911635

Email: [email protected]

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