December 19, 2012


Performance vital when using video for employee engagement

By Rob Nunes – VP of Marketing

If you want to get your workers more engaged in their day-to-day processes, an enterprise video plan could be the way to go. Video provides employees with the ability to do everything from creating their own content to connecting to meetings in a more immersive way. As a result, it is emerging as a prime employee engagement tool for many businesses.

However, video does present a major challenge from an engagement perspective – performance. You can have all the great content you want, but if dropped data packets leads to buffering issues and broken viewing experiences, your workers probably won’t bother to watch. As a result, you have to consider focusing on network performance as part of your video strategy.

Understanding why video messes with the network
Think about what most corporate networks spend their time doing. For the most part, the infrastructure sends small amounts of data to applications being deployed by end users. Web content plays a small role in the WAN and has traditionally been devoted to loading websites and other processes that require relatively small amounts of information at any time. The challenge for most business functions, therefore, is to deal with a large number of small data packets.

Ethernet infrastructure is established to send information in small packets that can be labelled for routing purposes, allowing the network to identify when there is enough room for the packet to be transmitted and let through. When too much data tries to go through the network at once, the Ethernet system drops a couple of packets and resends them automatically. The disruption is generally a matter of milliseconds.

Since enterprise networks are designed to carry a large number of small data packets, they generally do not have a particularly large amount of bandwidth, especially in the WAN. However, video depends on a small number of larger data packets, sometimes so substantial that one set of video data can clog the WAN and lead to packet drops.

What data packet dropping means from the end-user perspective
For most applications, a dropped data packet means waiting a second or two longer than normal for an application to load. With video, it often means having the content restart, stutter, stop to buffer or crash entirely, depending on the application and how long it takes for the packet to be resent. Essentially, data packet drops cannot be tolerated for video. As a result, if you want to engage your employees with video, you almost have to prioritize the network to avoid dropped data packets and ensure consistent delivery.