Why is the Internet so slow? It’s a common complaint many IT departments receive on a daily basis. Especially at small and midsize businesses (SMBs) and those that have grown in a short period of time. Identifying exactly which user activities are eating up your company’s bandwidth or clogging the network is a challenge. Network performance is essential to daily operations which means that IT managers must proactively identify and deal with bandwidth hogs before they cause problems across a network. Here are some common causes to consider so you can avoid service degradation.
The most gluttonous of data hogs is video. Unfortunately, video delivered via the web keeps many an IT Manager at the office past five o’clock. While video is the biggest culprit, it’s not the only one. Voicemail, email, productivity, accounting and customer service put constant demands on corporate bandwidth and other network resources. While the applications alone might be bandwidth hogs, it’s important to remember that users are the ones using those applications and eating away at the network’s bandwidth. In many cases, the offending employees don’t realize they’re doing anything “wrong.” But if your company’s network has limited resources, then they are.
When video hogs the data on your company’s network, employees will experience slower access speeds, pixelation on video services and poorer Internet access. This means more calls to the helpdesk. What can an IT department do? Monitor and measure the network on a daily basis so that the right source can be more accurately and quickly identified when a problem occurs. When you don’t routinely measure your network’s performance you’re more susceptible to diagnosing the wrong source of the problem. By routinely measuring network performance you’re also in a better position to re-balance network resources as a means of dissipating a bandwidth hog’s effect on the network.
In some cases, business-critical applications can be mitigated with a virtual local area network (LAN). For example, creative departments working with a high volume of large media files, including video, could be set apart from the rest of the organization to streamline overall network performance.
But the employee who’s been downloading high-definition movies or watching lots of YouTube videos is a productivity problem and an IT problem too. Music that’s streamed online often causes network performance issues as well. Such employee practices require company policies that address the behavior in order to be managed effectively.
By the same token, the last thing IT pros need is to have their time and energy wasted as they try to solve problems that are better left alone. It’s good to know what else could be bogging down your network and what’s not.
Whether it’s YouTube, Netflix or Amazon, there’s a growing number of video services delivered online with employees streaming or downloading videos while shirking on their job duties. This is a pretty straightforward issue to sort out but video conferencing is a different story. Video conferencing requires a significant amount of network resources. If your company hosts its own video conferences, especially in high-definition, then you understand how bandwidth intensive this is. Many companies opt to move video conferencing to the cloud to ease some of the pain. Reducing the resolution below HD is another option.
In “ Bandwidth Hogs Bogging Down Your Network – Part II,” we’ll discuss employees who use company Wi-Fi to save on their own personal wireless plan, social media, listening to music, email, moving large files around, cloud usage and Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) systems.
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