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3 common video performance challenges and how to overcome them

Video is a fairly unique data format in how it impacts your network and how transmission disruptions impact end-user performance. While the nuances of video delivery create a situation in which a wide range of performance challenges can emerge, they generally fall into one of three categories – not having enough bandwidth to handle video, trouble getting video out to mobile devices and dealing with connectivity bottlenecks. Each of these performance challenges is caused by different factors, but the solution is generally the same – improve network intelligence.

Adding hardware to the network may resolve simple bandwidth challenges, but video consumption can escalate so much that infrastructure upgrades can’t keep up. At the same time, installing new hardware is rarely up to the task of handling video delivery over wireless networks or dealing with connectivity challenges. Improving data routing, on the other hand, can overcome many of these issues. Let’s take a close look at these three challenges and how intelligent network routing using software-defined technologies like an enterprise content delivery network (ECDN) can address them.

1. Bandwidth
Video data packets tend to be huge. Having one person watching content won’t put a huge strain on your network, but throw in the rest of your business’ traffic, and just a few people watching a video can cause problems. Now consider this bandwidth issue extended out to a live stream event where hundreds, or even thousands of employees are all watching the same video at the same time, and you have a potentially crushing amount of data moving through the network. Even small groups of workers streaming a video event or watching on-demand content can run into bandwidth problems because video generally moves through some of the weakest parts of enterprise networks, and a single dropped data packet can cause performance issues.

ECDN solutions use software-defined technologies to make sure video data packets move through your network in the most efficient way possible, ensuring they stay out of each other’s way and preventing performance problems from emerging. This is especially key when it comes to bandwidth problems, as the amount of data generated by large-scale video strategies is so substantial that hardware upgrades can’t realistically keep up.

“Intelligent routing overcomes many video delivery challenges.”

2. Wireless users
The IEEE 802.11ac standard is opening new horizons for performance advances in Wi-Fi and WLAN systems, but the reality is that even 1 Gbps wireless connections can struggle to support a large user base accessing video. Furthermore, the underlying cabling, switching and routing upgrades needed to establish high-performance wireless networks can be incredibly complex and expensive. As such, you can’t expect hardware to solve all of your wireless-related problems when delivering video.

With advanced Wi-Fi networks, the actual wireless bandwidth is not usually as much of a problem as backhaul throughput capabilities. Instead of adding hardware to your backhaul systems, you can use ECDNs to get data out to wireless access points as efficiently as possible, contributing to major performance gains.

3. Bottlenecks
Every network has its weak points, and making strategic network upgrades to add capacity, only to have network bottlenecks limit performance quality for end users, can be incredibly frustrating. In most cases, these problems emerge because data is being routed out through pre-defined pathways, and groups of users that consume large amounts of bandwidth are being supported by the same cluster of hardware. ECDNs work around this problem by routing data intelligently through the network without being limited to typical data pathways. This effectively eliminates bottlenecks and creates an environment in which your video delivery efforts will not be derailed by problems in one part of your network.

Video presents organizations with diverse performance challenges, but intelligent network routing solutions overcome those issues.