via IT Toolbox
Streaming audio and video over corporate networks has been under discussion and scrutiny for more than a decade, but never before has this streaming had such an impact on networks. Some experts have estimated that 60 percent or more of traffic on a corporate network is from streaming services.
Streaming services are creating more network demands as more and more employees take liberties (if no policy is in place) to view Netflix, YouTube, HBO GO, Hulu, Amazon Prime, and gaming during office hours. Of course, not just the network sees the increased demand: your Internet service provider (ISP) connections are stressed, as well, and that negatively affects your distributed unified communications (UC) solution. Already a threat to network television, corporate networks are beginning to feel the strain on bandwidth. The momentum is unquestionable, and even if your organization has a policy, it needs processes and safeguards to protect its network and environment.
When streaming disrupts service today, the network’s supplier may receive the blame, but it’s not the vendor’s issue. The trusted advisor or reseller conducts a network assessment and recommends alternatives to overcome the bandwidth problems.
Here are seven issues your organization need to prepare for as more video streaming penetrates our business networks.
Which Services Are We Talking About?
Today’s voice over IP (VoIP) systems can work flawlessly when the network has been prepared to support voice calling with quality of service over the network. Bandwidth is reserved for voice and specific applications as well as video calling and video content. Here’s a snapshot of some of the top potentially disruptive streaming services:
4K ultra–high definition (UHD) broadcast TV and video
Skype for Business
Cisco WebEx (and other conferencing services)
Sports (March Madness [basketball], World Cup soccer, the Olympics, the World Series)
Consumer vs. Corporate
Some of you may ask, Why are consumer services dominating your disruptive list? The reason seems clear: office workers want to multitask during office hours and sneak watching these shows while working. The lightning-fast adoption of 4K UHD video is upon us—especially with its inclusion in iOS—and online streaming will explode. Video quality is exceptional, and there is a huge movement for online streaming to replace TV, “cutting the cable” all together. This momentum will not slow down.
As a corporate leader, taking these consumer video and streaming services seriously is critical, because they will create havoc on your network.
These seven steps are imperative to accommodate the employees’ need to stream:
Assess your network 24×7 to determine traffic flows during every hour.
Identify any streaming on your network, and determine which, if any, streaming applications you will allow (for example, YouTube for education, marketing, and training).
Determine the amount of bandwidth you need for core business applications, VoIP, UC, data, and business video.
Determine business and security plans for new applications that will require additional bandwidth over the next 12–24 months.
Consider two ISPs for Internet services and bandwidth for on-demand service under extreme conditions or if you’re migrating applications to the cloud.
Budget, prioritize, and create an upgrade plan to solve all the above steps, and your business will be better prepared for the continued penetration of streaming services for business use.
Create streaming policies, allocate bandwidth for them, and enforce them in your plan.