By Stephen Blankenship – Director, Product Management
Sometimes video ends up controlling IT when it is supposed to be the other way around. This problem is understandable. IT departments are striving to support operations for every part of a company while video tends to create major network performance issues with users watching content, streaming non-work related videos, using data-rich applications and accessing social media web services.
With so much going on, the network is overly busy, leading to dropped data packets and major headaches for the IT department. As a result, video soon begins to take control of operations because IT has to spend so much time maintaining adequate service levels, analyzing bandwidth requirements and ensuring services are delivered in an effective way. However, the IT department can take control back by making a strategic investment in video delivery solutions.
As you work to use video-specific systems to take control of your network, there are a few options worth considering.
Multicasting enables video to be sent as a single data packet when it travels through the WAN. When it reaches the LAN, it then divides into multiple data packets that are dispersed to various users. This prevents video from dominating the WAN and also limits performance disruptions because all of the packets travel through the network simultaneously rather than in separate bundles that stress the network.
Using peer-assisted content delivery follows the same theme as multicasting, which is to reduce video’s impact on WAN bandwidth. However, in peer-assisted setups, this is accomplished by sending content through to a single end user and then keeping it cached in the LAN until everybody who is required to view it has done so.
Generally, you will not find multicasting or peer-assisted video on their own. Instead, they are usually included as part of a broad enterprise video platform, which can help you take complete control of your network and put you in a good position to ensure consistent content delivery throughout the company. One such platform is an enterprise content delivery network, which brings video data packets inside the firewall, providing a secure and high-performance option for businesses. ECDNs and similar technologies, which are often built using some combination of peer-assisted video and multicasting, can provide the foundation you need to improve networking on a day-to-day basis and save IT from dealing with many everyday service challenges.