Enterprises have relied on the stability and scalability of the multicast protocol for delivering live video inside the enterprise for decades. It has long proven to be an extremely efficient method of reaching large numbers of viewers with a great quality of experience (QoE) while minimizing the impact of bandwidth-intensive media on the corporate network.
The easiest way to think of multicast is to think of your cable box. When you turn on your television, the content is already streaming. When you turn to another channel the content from that channel is right there. You don’t have to wait for it to load. The content is always there, ready to watch. And that same content is available in your neighbor’s house and in the restaurant down the street.
The same is true with multicast. It’s a one-to-many protocol that simultaneously delivers a single stream of content to hundreds or thousands of viewers. For that reason, multicast is highly efficient and gives network administrators predictability over the network.
Let’s look at an example. Let’s say you have a high definition stream with a couple of audio channels and maybe closed captioning, etc. That’s roughly two megabits per second being delivered over the network. If you have 500 people at an enterprise location and they all pull that video without multicast, you have 500 times the two megabits per second coming across the WAN, a recipe for congestion. But, if you send that video out over multicast, no matter whether you have one person watching or 500,000 people watching, it’s still just two megabits per second on the network.
From the IBM webinar Optimizing Video on Corporate Networks