As we veer closer to post-pandemic work life, more research and predictions continue to emerge on what that could look like. An obvious evolution to the workplace is our newfound reliance on video for communication and engagement. Whether it’s employee training, team meetings. or virtual conferences, the demand for video is on the rise.
With more companies beginning their journey back to a physical office, it is clear that video is here to stay. Many large enterprises anticipate a necessary investment into technology that can help relieve inevitable network congestion as a result of video traffic.
Has your organization thought about potential network congestion? Learn more about network congestion, its impact, and how to tackle it here:
What is network congestion?
Network congestion is like having too many cars on one road. There is a delay in traffic because cars have to wait their turn — moving one by one. Similarly, users on the corporate network experience delay in data transmissions as a result of congestion.
On a congested network, packets are delayed, lost, or sometimes have to be retransmitted. This can manifest as dropped calls, choppy audio and video, time-outs, and even lost connections. Ultimately, what suffers is employee productivity and company performance.
Here are 5 common causes of network congestion:
1. Low Bandwidth:
Keeping with the “car analogy”, bandwidth is the equivalent to the width of the road. It puts a limit on the rate at which network packets flow. If there are too many devices requesting data from the network simultaneously, then the network becomes overloaded. Just like having too many cars on a road with too few lanes.
For example, when a live webinar has too many viewers, a bandwidth shortage can occur. Viewers may experience lag, delayed voice, and/or video buffering.
2. Design and Misconfiguration:
Network design takes into consideration connectivity as well as capacity. A well-designed network ensures that all nodes stay connected, and capacity can support expected traffic. However, not all networks are designed to the same standard. Therefore, unexpected levels of traffic can cause network congestion.
For example, if suddenly a large group of devices demand data, but all these devices funnel their traffic through a low-bandwidth uplink, it will cause network congestion and severe performance degradation.
3. Traffic Prioritization:
When your network experiences heavy traffic, routers have to drop packets. However, not all packets require the same level of urgency. If traffic is not prioritized using features such as active queue management, routers do not know which packets are more urgent.
For example, packets carrying voice and video via teleconferencing are more time-sensitive than software updates. But without prioritizing one class of traffic over another, users will experience poor performance on the more time-sensitive requests.
4. Bandwidth Allocation:
Every office tends to have a data hog. Unfortunately, there’s always that one person or team, that consumes more data than anyone else. Your router should detect abnormalities and isolate misbehaving devices, but when it fails to do so network congestion becomes apparent.
It is possible that you have the perfect network configuration. But even if that was indeed the case, there could still be opportunities to optimize your bandwidth usage. If your network is not being optimized, it could be ill-prepared for high-traffic instances.
For example, your network could be configured based on your organization’s typical needs. However, without consistent optimization, it is unlikely that the network can support evolving demands on bandwidth. If suddenly 100 users download the same file from the origin server, your network will likely experience congestion.
A Simple Solution
Video is now a key medium for communication, and businesses cannot avoid the complexities of video traffic over the corporate network. Video uses a lot of bandwidth. Without the proper technology, network congestion will severely impact company performance.
Yet, the solution does not need to be complex. The easiest way to solve enterprise network congestion is to simply deploy an enterprise content delivery network (eCDN). An eCDN solution can intelligently route the flow of video traffic through the corporate network to enhance performance and diminish or eliminate congestion.
There are multiple types of eCDN technologies—multicast, video cache, and peer-to-peer (P2P). It may seem daunting to accurately assess which eCDN solution is the best fit for your organization; that’s where Ramp comes in. Ramp’s Universal eCDN includes all technologies in one unified solution.
Every network can achieve flawless video streaming and seamless video on-demand delivery, without the hassle of new infrastructure. Ramp can help you mitigate network congestion. This means you can focus on delivering better communication and productivity.
Not sure which eCDN technology is right for your organization? The Ramp team can help with a free network assessment, or contact us to learn more.