2012 Summer Olympics: 7 Network Management Tips for the All-Streaming Games
The Impact of Streaming Video
NBC will stream all of the Olympics' 302 events live, showing more than 2,500 hours through 24 alternative HD streams. Averaging anywhere from 200K bps to 2M bps per video stream, Olympic video streams could consume from 30 to 60 percent of a business' bandwidth, according to Blue Coat Systems estimates.
Impact on Business-Critical Applications
Today, business-critical applications or services, including file sharing, Internet utilities, storage backup, encrypted tunnels and infrastructure, account for more than 70 percent of bandwidth consumption, while video accounts for about 14 percent. This leaves a scant 16 percent of available bandwidth for email, database and all other categories. Doubling of video traffic or an addition of a 15 percent overhead for VPN connectivity will rapidly eat into any excess bandwidth you may have.
Preparation Is Key
While you can certainly take a more Draconian approach to this potential problem and simply block all traffic related to the games, it probably will not win you the Best Place to Work award. There are, however, a number of steps that you can take to ensure that your business-critical apps are protected while still allowing employees the freedom to watch the gamesshort of blocking them altogether.
Monitor Your Current Traffic Profile
There are numerous hardware and software tools that allow you to monitor and profile your current network traffic to identify when and how bandwidth is being consumed, as well as by whom and by what applications. Further, many tools will give you the ability to map bandwidth usage and its impact on your applications.
Establish Traffic Management or Quality of Service (QoS) Policies
Various network traffic management tools allow you to establish QoS policies to ensure that business-critical traffic, such as voice over IP (VOIP) or Web access to cloud-based applications, takes priority over nonessential traffic.
Increase WAN Capacity or WAN Links
Purchasing additional bandwidth is not the only way to increase your WAN capacity. WAN acceleration will effectively increase or optimize the usage of your WAN. Or if you utilize multiple WAN links, you can direct your business-critical traffic across one link while sending the less essential traffic across another.
Back Up Your Network Configurations
Just in case your network does go down, you need to ensure that you have backed up your device configurations so you can quickly revert back to a known good configuration.