The 2012 London Olympics will set a special new world record. Not from the 10,500 competitors from 205 nations taking part in 26 sports but a new world record for wide area network (WAN) and Internet bandwidth consumption.
For 17 days beginning 27 July, regional broadcasters worldwide will stream live coverage of the Olympics over the Internet with countless highlights available on-demand. On average, each video stream requires 500 Kbps but can scale up to 1.5 Mbps per user for HD video.
There will be jubilant winners at the 302 victory ceremonies but many corporate networks and applications will be the losers.
Today, it is increasingly difficult to distinguish the truly recreational from the business-relevant applications. Employees assess recreational applications and content sites at work and consistently consume valuable WAN and Internet bandwidth. On uncontrolled enterprise networks, Blue Coat estimates that 30-60 percent of bandwidth is consumed by use of these recreational applications including YouTube, Apple, social networking, super and national super broadcasters. As a result, the performance of mission critical enterprise applications drops, IT trouble tickets increase and employee productivity plummets.
There are three simple ways to mitigate the impact:
1) Gain Visibility: Make sure you have a real-time view of the applications and Web content on your network to accurately identify and measure bandwidth utilisation.
2) Establish Control: Create simple QoS policies that limit these big bandwidth spenders to 10 percent or less of network capacity, enabling bursts when bandwidth is not needed by higher priority business applications.
3) Optimise Traffic: Caching on-demand video and stream-splitting live videos reduce the amount of bandwidth consumed by multiple employees watching the same movie.
Network disruptions may be seen as a norm for many businesses today but recreational application is one disruption that can be controlled.
Jon Andresen is vice president of marketing APAC, Blue Coat
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