World Cup Fever Crippling Many Business Networks

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Exinda cites a combination of HD streaming, social sharing, and volume of viewership creating the perfect storm for IT Managers

Exinda Networks

It’s that time again; if you’re hearing cheers of “Gooooooaaaaaaallllll!” in your office, chances are one or more employees are streaming live video feeds of games from the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil, or at the very least, watching highlights from the top matches. While soccer fans are enjoying these games during work hours, IT managers around the world are seeing unprecedented strain on their networks and in many cases feeling powerless to control employee viewing habits. According to Exinda, a global provider of Network Orchestration solutions, more than 60 percent of business network resources may be consumed by World Cup video traffic during the month-long tournament.

While many IT managers are loathe to ban streaming media or social updates entirely — many are soccer fans themselves, after all — a quick look at some figures from the 2010 FIFA World Cup show how devastating this traffic can be to a corporate network if left uncontrolled. In the 2010 tournament:

  •     There were 3.2 billion viewers overall, which is expected to double for 2014
  •     Average bandwidth usage hit 81 percent in participating nations. Finalist teams Spain (95 percent) and The Netherlands (97 percent) were the worst hit
  •     The U.S. was also caught up in fútbol fever, with bandwidth use rising to 77 percent during key matches

“There are three big differences between 2010 and 2014 that many network managers haven’t adequately prepared for,” said Brendan Reid, vice president of marketing for Exinda. “First, there has been a distinct change in user behavior. Employees are much more likely to stream games live from their laptop or mobile phone using the enterprise network than they are to seek out a TV over lunch. Second, more people are streaming content in high definition, which means they are using even more bandwidth than in 2010. Third, users aren’t just consuming, they’re also sharing more content by uploading, viewing and sharing Vines, gifs, YouTube videos and other content that consumes valuable bandwidth. This combination, if left unmanaged, could cripple many networks and dramatically reduce employee productivity as a result of poorly performing business applications.”

While the potential impact seems alarming, businesses are not powerless when it comes to controlling how bandwidth is used. By implementing an orchestration strategy for their networks, companies and education institutions can effectively monitor and analyze users, applications, devices and activities across all locations. Orchestration, when applied to the network, can provide IT managers with insights and actionable policy recommendations to ensure resources are always available for business-critical applications, while recreational traffic such as video streaming receives lower priority.

Exinda's free white paper, "5 Best Practices To Prepare Your Network for the FIFA World Cup" can help IT managers identify steps they can take immediately to better control streaming video traffic and prepare for the next big social event that will impact the network.

About Exinda

Exinda is a leading global supplier of WAN solutions that enables organizations to assure a predictable user experience for strategic business applications through policy-based WAN Orchestration. Exinda solutions intelligently allocate network bandwidth and optimize traffic based on the priorities of the business. The company has helped more than 3,500 organizations in over 80 countries worldwide assure application performance, improve the end-user experience, contain recreational applications and reduce network operating costs for the IT executive.

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Ryan Tollofson
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