Resolving the Strain of High-Definition Video on Your Network

By: Pam Baker| - Leave a comment


From the outset, Netflix understood that high-definition video would heavily affect cellular networks, drain customers’ data caps and, if managed improperly, hurt the streaming media business. To keep this from happening, the company elected to reduce its video resolution and slow its streaming speeds.

While that may have been a smart play for Netflix, it’s not necessarily the right move for every company. After all, high-definition video often contains details that are invaluable to security, worker safety analysis or even virtual meetings. Fortunately, you don’t have to turn high-definition video into standard definition to preserve your network. What you should do, however, is control and minimize the impact of high-quality visuals.

Prioritizing High-Definition Video Traffic

A significant piece of the high-definition video traffic on your company network could be entertainment video such as Netflix movies and YouTube videos. If it is too heavy, this traffic could be sucking the wind out of your network’s sails.

However, these sites can be tough to recognize and push into a low-priority queue, since they typically use the Transmission Control Protocol rather than the User Datagram Protocol. Fortunately, there are alternate ways to identify and throttle them, ranging from source identification to analytics and machine learning.

The Lag-Time vs. Quality Trade-Off

At the moment, the average network manager is trading video quality for less buffering. In other words, less lag or buffering waits are valued over video quality. However, this trade-off is unacceptable, particularly when it comes to security and worker safety footage, where details that can only be obtained from high-definition streams are absolutely crucial — as are real-time streaming and analysis. The trade-off is particularly a problem when remote workers use mobile devices to manage Internet of Things (IoT) devices and view and analyze real-time streaming video.

“Essentially, the quality of today’s mobile video experience is sinking under the demand,” according to RCRWirelessNews

The source notes that companies need to combine network changes, application and content delivery technologies and efficient streaming tools to improve the quality of service (QoS). Networks must be optimized to ensure consistent QoS, packet loss prevention and buffering elimination.

The Difference of an Intelligent Network

The most common factors behind these problems are legacy networks and manual processes. Humans simply can’t respond fast enough, especially if they’re working with outdated hardware and software. No matter how you allocate the network, it will never work out like the business needs it to, and it especially won’t work down the road when network demand increases because of the influx of IoT traffic.

An intelligent network is a far more efficient approach to resolving these issues and getting ahead of new ones such as the IoT and real-time high-definition video feeds. Organizations can benefit from software-defined networking (SDN) with complementary analytics — both predictive and prescriptive — and machine-learning capabilities.

“The solution is to deploy performance monitoring within both physical and virtual appliances,” according to NetworkWorld. “When extra performance management capacity is needed, spinning up additional virtual appliances on demand enables performance monitoring to flex with the demands of an SDN environment and still provide answers in seconds.”

The bottom line is that enterprises can’t afford to sacrifice anything in terms of their networks, least of all video quality. However, smart optimization of your network means you won’t have to make sacrifices to meet these new challenges.

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About The Author

Pam Baker

Freelance Writer

Pam Baker is an award-winning freelance journalist based in Georgia. Her published credits number in the thousands, including books, e-books, e-briefs, white papers, industry analysis reports and articles in leading publications, including Institutional Investor, CIO, Fierce Markets and InformationWeek, among many others. Her latest book, "Data Divination: Big Data Strategies," has been met with rave reviews, was featured in a prestigious National Press Club event, is recommended by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce for business executives and is currently being used as a textbook in both business and tech schools in universities around the world. Baker is a "big-picturist," meaning she enjoys writing on topics that overlap and interact, such as technology and business. Her fans regualrly follow her work in science, technology, business and finance.

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