Overcoming an Olympic network bandwidth challenge

Posted by Mike Vizard on Aug 2, 2016 11:06:25 AM

Summer_Olympics_network_bandwidth_challenge.jpgThis week, the Summer Olympic games are about to begin in Rio de Janeiro. While most of the world will be rooting for their countries’ Olympic teams, most managed service providers will be glued to a different kind of screen. As it turns out, the Olympics tend to bring a phenomenal amount of pressure on the average corporate network.

The Summer Olympics held in 2012 generated 3,500 total programming hours available for streaming online. In total, there were 64.4 million live streams, with an average 111.4 live streaming minutes per viewer. While the majority of that video streaming was done by consumers accessing a service provided by a carrier, large amounts of the viewing took place on corporate networks as well. After all, in many countries around the world the quality of corporate network exceeds what can be obtained at home, and the cost of the bandwidth for accessing that video is absorbed by the company.

Throttling bandwidth

Interest in services to throttle bandwidth on corporate networks usually rises during events such as the Olympics. In fact, it appears many organizations have finally absorbed this lesson. A global survey of 403 IT professionals conducted by Wakefield Research on behalf of Riverbed Technology, a provider of application delivery controllers (ADCs) and IT monitoring tools, finds that 85 percent of the respondents report that they are likely to more closely monitor the performance of their applications and networks during the Olympics. But only 43 percent of the respondents said they were very confident that their organizations could safeguard critical applications during high network traffic events such as the Olympics. Twelve percent admitted they were not confident that their companies could handle the added demand for network bandwidth.

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Not surprisingly, 70 percent of the respondents said they would limit the amount of bandwidth allocated to employees trying to watch the games on a corporate network, and 65 percent of the respondents said they’ve had at least one application performance issue as a result of streaming video content. As far as the Olympics are concerned, the Riverbed study finds that IT managers expect video content from the Olympics will most likely be consumed via desktops and laptops (48 percent), followed by smartphones (34 percent), and then tablets or other non-smartphone devices (18 percent).

A proactive response

Of course, many organizations may view the Olympics as a way to boost employee morale. Some organizations may even go so far as to set up a large-screen monitor in a common room that employees can use to check out the games. In that instance, the organization at least knows what network ports are being used to consume streaming video content.

Managed service providers (MSPs), of course, often find themselves trying to strike a balance between application performance and making end users happy. Rather than waiting for all this to inevitably play out over the next 30 days, MSPs would be well advised to be proactive. After all, if network performance becomes an issue during the Olympics, it’s unlikely any customers are going to be handing out medals to their local MSP.

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Photo Credit: Marco Paköeningrat via Flickr.com. Used under CC 2.0 License.

Topics: IT Services Trends

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