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Video Content Bandwidth Can Eat Your Network
Whether you produce, distribute or consume video content, you’ll need more bandwidth soon.

By: John Shepler

A recent projection by Cisco predicts that video will account for more than 50% of Internet traffic by the end of next year and increase to 62% by the end of 2015. Whether you are a provider or a consumer of online video content, it’s a fact that you’ll be scrambling to keep up with the enormous bandwidth appetite of streaming and downloadable video.

The Internet Needs No Set Top Box
Certainly, the rise of Netflix as an alternative or adjunct to Cable and Satellite TV is hastening the day when video packets will be the lion’s share of traffic on the Internet. The consumer is going through a revolution in what used to be called “TV” viewing. Now computers, tablets and smartphones can provide the television function. The difference is that these computing devices don’t have over the air tuners or connections to external set top boxes. What kind of sense does a set top box make for something like an iPad?

TVs as a Tablet Computer
The design of TVs themselves has morphed into more of a digital media display with Internet connections as well as HDMI and the now ancient coaxial connector. Some models come equipped to directly access Netflix content and other Internet services. The LED backlit HDTV is starting to resemble a very large tablet device that mounts on the wall.

The Internet Is Getting Loaded Up
This technology shift has not been lost on the Satellite and Cable operators. They are moving to make their content available through the Internet as well as over their dedicated delivery mediums. The advantage of Internet delivery is that the service can be accessed on mobile devices as well as any type of fixed monitor with an Ethernet or WiFi connection. It also increases the load on the Internet infrastructure, including the core network, content delivery networks, and last mile access.

Businesses All Use Video Of Some Type
Businesses that don’t produce or distribute video content may look at this situation with amusement but not be the least bit concerned that it will affect them. Oh, but it will if it doesn’t already. The days of using the Internet to send emails or look things up through a Web search engine are headed for nostalgia. Much of the information worth accessing online is now in video form. That includes training materials, news reports, demonstrations, promotional brochures, tutorials and even press releases.

Conferencing Replaces Travel But Uses Bandwidth
As a savvy company keeping up with the competition, your people need to be able to check out all the resources a vendor has to offer, monitor industry news, and participate in conferences. More and more those conferences are online video conferences and webinars. The high cost of travel, which looks to be on the rise again, is going to limit business trips to the most important meetings. Employees won’t be able to jet off to all the seminars and conventions they might like to. That doesn’t mean that you are stuck waiting for your email or Twitter client to ding in order to communicate. Most of what can be seen and done in person can be done with desktop video conferences, webinars, or telepresence.

Yes, You'll Produce Content
Don’t forget that you will likely need to produce video content to keep up with your competitors. If they’re all over YouTube and you aren’t, potential customers are getting comfortably up to speed with someone else’s products and services.

WAN Bandwidth Options Abound
Are you thinking this over and feeling bandwidth constrained? That’s probably true for a lot of companies. Things are moving fast and traditional telecom services are expensive and time consuming to upgrade. Don’t despair. There are many new options available that can eliminate your WAN bottlenecks at a lower cost that you expect. For instance, did you know that you can get 100 Mbps Fast Ethernet access over twisted pair copper or coaxial cable for a fraction of what you’d expect to pay for fiber services. Even fiber costs have plummeted, especially for Ethernet over Fiber that is affordable for 1 Gbps and even 10 Gbps for the most demanding applications.

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