Article

Strategic planning, analysis essential when making network upgrades for video

By Stephen Blankenship – Director, Product Management

Supporting enterprise video plans often requires making corresponding network upgrades to ensure consistent performance once the solution is in use. However, making the right improvements to infrastructure is highly dependent on a strategic and analytical approach to the investment.

In many cases, network upgrades are fairly simple. If you need more bandwidth, call your service provider. If your WAN is struggling, optimize it. But these simple solutions resolve issues that occur when the network is having a hard time keeping up with data throughput demands on an ongoing basis. With video, the problem is not so simple.

In most enterprise networks, the design of the infrastructure is optimized to handle a large quantity of relatively small data packets. As a result, when the network gets bogged down, it is usually because too many users are trying to upload data and run applications at once, mandating a simple bandwidth upgrade or optimization solution. But with video, the individual data packets are much larger. As a result, you could end up adding more bandwidth to the network only for it to be used immediately by a few video data packets, but remain underutilized the rest of the time.

Most organizations would not consider it fiscally responsible to pay for bandwidth that is only used some of the time. While some planning for usage spikes is essential, you don’t want your network to be underutilized most of the time. Because of this, you cannot usually get by just by adding bandwidth to support video. Instead, you have to analyze network usage patterns to understand how employees use the network and strategically plan the upgrade to ensure video content and application-related data do not disrupt each other.

There are a wide variety of ways to accomplish this, but it is often easiest to turn to a video-specific solution that can manage video bandwidth more effectively and limit its impact on the corporate network. One such option is an enterprise content delivery network. At its core, an ECDN provides similar functionality to a CDN. However, it is able to function inside the corporate firewall. This makes it adequate for delivering more than just web content and allows for more secure data distribution, two attributes that are essential in an enterprise video platform.

-Stephen

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