Latency cannot be tolerated when dealing with video

By Kevin Crayton – VP of Product Management

Dropped data packets and the resulting latency are a nightmare for CIOs trying to make enterprise video work, as the inherent nature of video content is adverse to any form of latency.

On the typical Ethernet network, data packets are sent through LAN and WAN systems, following the network pipe from the data center to end users. Starting in the data center, the packet travels through the various network channels between servers, storage infrastructure and interconnected systems that attach the data center to the office LAN. Once in the LAN, the packet goes to the end user or out to the WAN, where it follows a similar path to reach the employee. If, at any point in this transmission, the packet runs into a traffic jam of too much information being sent through the network, the Ethernet system will automatically drop it and resend from the beginning.

This entire process happens in seconds. As a result, normal enterprise network traffic, such as data or documents, is not really impacted by the latency. It doesn’t really matter if a worker has to wait another second for a file to load. But when you are trying to make video work, that second can completely derail performance.

When video content is streaming to an end user, the network sends a large data packet and continues to send pieces of the content as it loads and is viewed. If one packet somewhere in the middle of the chain gets dropped, the entire video cannot play. If it is a live streaming event, the user can be kicked off entirely. These kinds of problems will turn employees away from viewing video in the first place, making the investment in the initial video platform a waste.

Dropped data packets are not the only cause of latency. Geographical distance, electromagnetic signal disruption and other conditions can also create delivery problems within the network. When organizations work to implement a new video plan, they cannot simply plug it in and hope the content will get to end users. Instead, they need to analyze their network setup and find out if they have everything they need to reach end users without any latency. In many cases, a video-specific network solution can help resolve any issues that the infrastructure may have.

-Kevin



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