Video Killed the Network’s Performance

Originally posted to Blue Coat’s federal blog, Blue Print.

Authored by Grant Asplund

You know your employees are doing it; sitting there, at their desks, watching videos and devouring your network’s bandwidth. Currently Cisco estimates that video accounts for 20-50 percent of traffic on networks, but anticipates that as more and more agencies utilize video conferencing and other ICT innovations to meet both financial and sustainability goals, video could account for up to 90 percent of traffic.

But before the IT Department wages war on an entire department within an agency, it would be helpful to have a few pieces of information at your fingertips, like who is watching, what they’re viewing, and just how much bandwidth each individual or group is consuming.

While this level of granularity could have only been achieved by peering over the shoulders of unsuspecting employees, Blue Coat’s upgraded Reporter enables an at-a-glance view of how employees are using web video – specifically which employees, groups, URLs, and methods of delivery are consuming the most bandwidth.

Without this type of information, it’s nearly impossible for an agency to understand how their network is being used, the impact that usage is having on their overall productivity, and what solutions might actually remediate the problem. For example, does more bandwidth need to be purchased, or can existing bandwidth be optimized?

What Blue Coat’s research team has found is that in most cases once the network’s traffic flow is understood and its gaps are stopped, additional bandwidth is often unnecessary. All hail solutions that don’t require additional funding and more purchasing cycles!

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