Could streaming the summer of sport have affected your business performance?
As the World Cup and Wimbledon draw to a close, it’s fair to say the UK has been gripped by sporting fever. Figures released this week reveal a total of 31.2 million browsers watched the group matches through the BBC platform. This compares to 32 million online viewers for the whole of Brazil 2014.
The BBC’s Chief Technology Officer, Matthew Postgate, said in a statement:
“millions are watching the big matches on their connected TV at home, while millions more are sneaking a peak on their work laptop.”
Video streaming never harmed anyone, right?
Right, but the simple fact is that spikes in real-time bandwidth-intensive applications such as BBC iPlayer or ITV Hub can put a significant dent in the performance of key business applications. The media provider’s goal is to get the data through your business broadband as quickly as possible, using as much bandwidth as possible. In some cases, network degradation and even outages can occur if the connection becomes overwhelmed with sudden peaks in streaming HTTP traffic.
However, before you slap a ban on employees being part of significant national events, it’s time to find out what is going on in your network. If you notice the service is slow, you first need to get to the bottom of what (and who) is generating the most traffic.
Gaining visibility into your network
Perhaps one of the most frequent IT issues affecting businesses is complaints that the Internet is too slow to use effectively. Before you decide to upgrade your package from your internet service provider, it’s worth doing the following checks:
Diagnose the issue with real time network monitoring
To determine what’s causing the congestion, your IT manager should take a look in real-time to identify active users, devices and applications. If an application, particularly a non-business related media streaming app, is consuming a bulk of your network resources, they can set a policy to cap the amount of bandwidth allocated to that app and minimise its impact on other activities.
Identifying usage at user level is also crucial.
For example, if Paul in Accounts casually streams Netflix at the end of the month while compiling financial reports, you might consider implementing a policy at user level to limit his extracurricular activity.
Still suffering from insufficient broadband speed?
Once you have determined the bottlenecks, you may find that you still have sluggish broadband speed. Users have little patience for a slow network that impedes their ability to get work done and it will undoubtedly have an effect on the growth of the business. If you can’t cope with current capacity, it removes any possibility of undergoing any level of digital transformation – whether that’s virtualising your emails or increasing cloud storage – and the impact can be stifling.
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