The increasingly heavy use of video in the enterprise has presented significant opportunities for managers and executives looking to drive employee engagement and inspire innovation. However, on the other side of the coin, the trend has been nothing but a headache for network managers, who have to find ways to address the unanticipated bandwidth strain that comes along with enterprise video initiatives.

As a recent TechTarget report pointed out, the WAN was never intended to handle video traffic. Smaller data packets are generally no problem. If a network drops a smaller data packet, the latency is minimal and can be quickly recovered. With larger data packets, like those associated with video, the latency can be substantial, causing frustration for the user and negating the effectiveness of the content.

The prevalence of video-enabled computers and mobile devices compound this concern, TechTarget noted, as businesses are now seeking to use video for everything from employee training and engagement to videoconferencing.

This trend has put additional strain on the enterprise network, and the WAN in particular. But a panel of experts at the recent Interop conference in Las Vegas suggested a way companies can address this challenge: the cloud.

Delivering video through the cloud can significantly reduce the stress put on the WAN without necessitating companies add significant amounts of bandwidth.

Marty Hollander, senior vice president of market development at teleconferencing solutions provider Vidyo, asserted that moving video delivery to the cloud sacrifices some of the efficiency that the WAN provides. However, many businesses are finding that using the cloud to deliver video over the WAN can actually enhance these practices. Not only does such a delivery method put less strain on the WAN, it ensures video gets where it needs to go when it needs to get there.

During her keynote speech at the Interop conference, Cisco CTO Padmasree Warrior told audience members that video would be one of the biggest network challenges during the next three to five years, estimating that video would cause IP traffic to quadruple by 2014. As this development unfolds, businesses may find that turning to a solution that delivers video over the cloud will solve many of these traffic challenges and help the company run more efficiently.