May 16, 2012


Video at the root of enterprise network challenges

By Kevin Crayton – VP of Product Management

The corporate network is being overwhelmed from a variety of angles, with data-rich applications, cloud computing and voice capabilities combining to push corporate network systems beyond their capabilities. These technologies all demand more bandwidth than many networks can support, but none of them proves as challenging as video, which has emerged as an essential enterprise tool.

Internal video offers businesses an incredible value, as they can use the technology to support employee engagement efforts and train workers. However, using the content to achieve these goals requires building upon a network foundation that is capable of handling video’s unique requirements.

The core problem with delivering video through the corporate network is that infrastructure is inherently designed to send a large number of small data packets to users spread over the LAN and WAN systems. However, video involves small numbers of large data packets, which can quickly use up the vast majority of a network’s bandwidth. This creates two primary problems – video cannot handle performance disruptions from dropped data packets and networks unable to support extensive video use could see significant performance degradation in other areas.

Many experts agree that the convergence of multiple network systems, such as voice and data, into a single platform is combining with the rise of cloud computing to overwhelm corporate infrastructure. However, video plays the largest role in this trend, as the content type is inherently difficult to align with corporate infrastructure and simultaneously challenging to go without, especially as more companies try to encourage social media-like interaction between workers. As a result, businesses working to implement innovative technologies need to focus on making video work well within their network, as getting video delivered effectively will often make it much easier to deal with the challenges presented by data-rich applications, such as cloud services.

Trying to reconfigure the corporate network to handle video, or simply adding more bandwidth, is rarely the most cost-effective and strategic option. Instead, organizations are often best served by turning to solutions that help make the most of what the network has available to deliver video content. Peer-assisted video delivery, enterprise content delivery networks and multicasting platforms are all emerging as ideal options for corporate video requirements, with each working best within specific configurations. The key for businesses is to match their operational needs with their video solution, delivering the result of a powerful network that enables increased video deployment.