When offices closed and workers became remote in 2020, businesses turned to video to keep connected. This increased adoption led to a 45% surge in live video usage, according to a recent IDG Market Pulse Survey, as video became critical for enterprise communications.

With 75% of executives expecting to see half of their workforce back on-site by July 2021, according to the January 2021 PwC Remote Work Survey, hybrid workplace scenarios and physical distancing limitations will require the continued use of live video. The influx of on-site viewers paired with the demand for enterprise video will put a strain on networks many will not be prepared for. To be certain networks will not be put at risk, video-specific network testing must be implemented.

Video’s Impact on Network Capacity

As the high use of live video continues and the number of employees on the corporate network increases, the impact on network performance will be significant. Video is a bandwidth-heavy medium. If a network’s bandwidth is insufficient, it can quickly become overwhelmed leading to event failure, or in worst-case scenarios, impact business-critical applications.

For context, live events created in Microsoft Stream get a fixed encoding profile:

  • 720p – 3.5 mbps
  • 540p – 2.2 mbps
  • 396p – 1.4 mbps
  • 288p – 850 kbps
  • 216p – 550 kbps
  • 192p – 200 kbps

What’s important to note is that video playback is not a static number and will change according to:

  • The video’s original resolution, bitrate and content
  • A user’s available bandwidth
  • Size of the player

Estimates on the impact of video on a network can be made by measuring and sampling the bandwidth of a typical piece of content and extrapolating that data across the anticipated number of viewers. The more viewers, the higher the bandwidth, leading to network spikes that impact the viewing experience as well as every application relying on the same network.

Organizations familiar with the pressure delivering live video at scale puts on their networks utilize an enterprise content delivery network (ECDN) browser-based peering platform. With browser-based peering, one user accesses the video and shares it with those nearby, reducing bandwidth consumption and ensuring live video does not take down the network.

Why Traditional Load Balancing Technology Isn’t Enough

To prepare for the increased strain, 93% of IT managers say they have tested their networks, according to the IDG survey. With 59% of those respondents expecting a modest to moderate impact and only 28% anticipating a significant impact, the threat is being underestimated.

When tests send pings across the network between two endpoints, they’re usually looking at time to live (TTL) and round-trip time (RTT). It’s more difficult and less common to simulate the load that a 720p video stream at scale causes. The ramp rate for the data is extremely unpredictable, and a load balancer’s ability to scale when you’ve got a large meeting is hard to simulate.

Network Readiness Testing is the Last-Mile Load Balancer for Live Video

Traditional network testing does not cover all the variables created by live video. Kollective’s Network Readiness Test was developed to bridge that gap and provide event-specific insights on your network’s performance.

By simulating a high-quality live event, the Network Readiness Test allows you to replicate the unique conditions of your upcoming event and provides detailed performance data like:

  • Quality of Experience (QOE)
  • Ahorros de ancho de banda
  • Eficiencia de interconexión
  • Alcance
  • Duración

The Network Readiness Test provides seamless network testing with no additional software necessary. Running silently in a hidden browser, there is no impact on end users while testing is in process.

Know Your Network is Ready

As employees return to the office and stream live and on-demand video at their desks, corporate networks that have not been properly tested are at risk of exceeding capacity. Network Readiness Testing takes the guess work out of network impact and creates peace of mind when delivering large events across the enterprise.

For more details on the benefits of our Network Readiness Test for your ECDN, read the Solution Brief.