November 14, 2012


University internet policy showcases scope of video issues

Consumers are embracing video at a rapid pace, leading to many people wanting access to more video in the workplace. This also makes the media format an ideal form of enterprise communication. However, network problems can arise from depending too heavily on video. This is especially clear in the consumer sector and in academia, where video consumption cannot be easily controlled by IT departments and corporate departments.

The IT department at Central Michigan University, however, is trying to gain more control over video distribution. According to a recent Central Michigan Life report, CMU is working to avoid bandwidth-related problems by tracking how much data users are accessing through the network and shutting off their web access if they go over the limits.

Considering bandwidth limitations
The report explained that the university has to pay for all of the bandwidth that is used, pushing the IT department to set a limit of 100 GB per week. If the internet is used excessively by any student, his or her internet will be turned off temporarily to prevent the user from going beyond the weekly limit. The goal of the plan is to ensure that the network always has enough bandwidth available to support academic functions and is not severely limited by users watching video.

Evaluating options in the enterprise
For businesses, the big bandwidth issue is problematic in two ways. The first is when video supports important business strategies, like engagement and improved meetings. The second issue occurs when video delivery gets in the way of application data transmission through the network. A CIO could, theoretically, put a cap on how much bandwidth certain individuals use, but that is not a realistic option in the enterprise. It is too difficult to track how bandwidth is used and companies can't afford to cut employees off from the internet when they need web access to get the job done. As a result, strategic network upgrades are often the best options.

When investing in network systems for video deployment, it is usually best to turn to solutions designed specifically for video use. General network upgrades are limited when it comes to making video work well in the network. An enterprise content delivery network or other video-specific solution, on the other hand, can alleviate bandwidth concerns and ensure consistent video and application data delivery.