Cloud computing, video creating new networking demands

By Kevin Crayton – VP of Product Management

The rise of enterprise video programs is changing how businesses communicate internally and spread information. However, the technology’s growth coincides with another key advance that is closely tied to that of video – fiber-optic cabling.

According to a recent Cabling Installation & Maintenance report, the rapid rise of video and other forms of media distribution, especially those using cloud computing as the foundation for deployment, has been enabled by considerable advances in fiber-optic cabling technology and its use.

Not too long ago, 1 Mbps connectivity was a big deal. Now, fiber-optic cabling can support 1 Tbps, the news source said. Similarly, the data center used to be a place where copper cabling was key, connecting servers and storage systems. Fiber was only used as the key link to the outside network.

However, the world has entered an era in which the pervasive use of video, cloud computing and other data-rich services has made advanced optical networking technology necessary in a variety of settings. This is especially true in the data center, in which more organizations are going optical where they once would have used fiber, the report explained.

But what should a business do when it does not have fiber available in its office, but needs to deliver video to its end users? The content type requires a lot of bandwidth, making fiber a natural architectural solution, but it is not widely available within LAN and WAN setups. As a result, businesses can only use fiber in their backbone networks and need to be able to replicate bandwidth capabilities within their internal systems if they want to get the most out of the video plan.

To resolve the issue, it is key to look at what fiber truly does and consider solutions that can, in some form, replicate this. Fiber offers fast speeds because it allows signal to travel as light, not as an electrical pulse. You really can’t replicate that without fiber. It also improves bandwidth by using various wavelengths of light and similar techniques to create unlimited throughput. While this is also impossible outside of an optical network, the concept can work for businesses. Essentially, what fiber does is change the nature of the signal to support the content. If you can’t use fiber to shift the signal, use video-specific networking technologies to shift the data packets carrying content. Solutions such as multicasting and peer-assisted video adjust how video is sent through the network, allowing the data packet to hold as little information as possible without detracting from the end-user experience.

– Kevin



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