The World Cup v the Workplace – Who Wins?

Network operator Opal is warning UK businesses that overloaded networks caused by employees tuning into streamed World Cup matches does not need to become a reality, and with the right approach, football fans and IT managers can work harmoniously.

Network statistics from Opal showed a 100% increase in traffic across its MPLS network during England’s win over Slovenia, but despite this, there were no bottle necks reported in the network.

Despite Opal network monitoring systems showing peaks in traffic being downloaded by their customers with the significant increase during the World Cup coverage on data being uploaded by customers remained at a comparatively normal level.

Opal is attributing this to the extra capacity it has added to its network over the last two months, as well as upgrades made to its hardware platforms and increased capacity at key exchange points where audio and video streaming traffic is carried.

Opal expects that the bandwidth demands across the UK’s networks will continue to soar, but providing businesses are partnered with a prepared network operator, working in sync with their IT managers, then problems should be avoided.

Andy Lockwood, Opal’s Transformation Director, says: “It was inevitable that an event like the World Cup would attract this level of interest, especially as the quality of online video is better than it ever has been, due to high speed, high resilience broadband connections. But failing to prepare really is preparing to fail, and for those businesses either partnering with a network operator which is ill equipped, or IT departments and network operators not working collaboratively, problems could arise.

“And as video streaming becomes more important strategically for businesses, these kinds of issues are only going to grow – regardless of whether a major sporting event is on or not. Now is the time for businesses to ask the right questions of their network operators.”

As the games continue to mid-July, Opal suggests companies essentially have 4 options s to ensure key matches don’t compromise the connections vital to a business.

Stop It – applications like Opal WebController can either block broadcasting sites or send splash screen warnings to users outlining the legitimate uses of each site.

Encourage it but be vigilant – some broadband providers are able to view real time internet traffic statistics, pinpoint the root causes for excess use and manage it accordingly.

Encourage it and increase bandwidth – developments in NGN network capability means it’s far more cost effective to upgrade your bandwidth ahead of events which might generate major traffic.

Encourage it but with peace of mind – some providers can offer network performance checks and identify ways to improve end to end performance.

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