The world is getting ready to watch the opening ceremonies of the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio. IT teams may find themselves behind the game, though. They might be spending some time over the next 16 days dealing with the consequences that the event will have on network bandwidth and application performance.
People Will Consume Video Like It's Their Job
The games will be streamed live on the web with media outlets sharing results in real-time. History shows that a large number of workers will be following the events from their personal mobile devices or laptops as they unfold. Given there are so many games across so many days, there will inevitably be something of interest to watch during the workday.
For a point of reference, according to the London 2012 Olympic Games Global Broadcast report, that event produced 81,500 hours of video content. This, in turn, delivered 1.9 billion video views, totaling 450 million hours watched.
The expected influx of video streaming in the workplace will degrade network and application performance. Along with overall productivity. While users chew up network bandwidth reserved for business. Sysadmins, prepare yourself.
70% Experienced Network Problems During the 2014 FIFA World Cup
We issued a survey during the 2014 FIFA World Cup that showed 70% of the IT pros who took the poll noted they had encountered problems associated with the streaming of the tournament. Among this group another 70% noted that video streaming had a negative impact on network performance or operations. Considering BYOD and bandwidth hogs, a poorly prepared IT team may find itself struggling to catch up.
Some network managers choose to closely monitor network bandwidth use during events, and block the websites associated with it. At the risk of being tarred and feathered there are simpler ways to deal with the problem.
Just Plan Ahead
The key to success is being prepared for what could happen. Companies that provide a TV showing the games in the company cafeteria will reduce the strain on the network. If needed, modifying existing Internet access and usage policies is a good idea. And sharing them, like, soon. It's a way to document the issue in advance of it turning into a problem.
Secondly, IT teams should make use of their network monitoring tools. They should monitor wireless and network bandwidth use to prevent really important apps from being adversely affected.
Monitoring traffic by port number, IP address or data packets helps to control and balance bandwidth use. A blacklist is an option, but it’s typically really hard to differentiate between streaming content that is non-essential or essential to employees’ work.
Planning for large scale media events is now a part of the IT puzzle. The ability to anticipate network bandwidth spikes that can harm core business functions needs to be second nature for IT teams.
Once your IT environment is competing at world-class level, you can sit back, relax and root for the home team. And give yourself a gold medal for planning in advance.