Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Has World Cup Fever Spread to the Network?

It's called World Cup fever for a reason. With millions of people watching and reading related news online, it undoubtedly increased Internet traffic. In fact, people apparently care more about soccer than they do the presidential election. The very first day of the tournament, traffic exceeded the previous record of 8.5 million views per minute (vpm), which occurred when Barack Obama was elected. According to measurements by Akamai, traffic for news sites on June 11 started to climb steadily at 6 am ET and peaked six hours later, reaching nearly 12.1 vpm.  And the fact that June 11 was a workday didn't stop people from watching. People turned to their office computers to follow the action. Being able to identify high talkers and effectively manage traffic is a must for organizations that want to stay productive and successful.

Below are some considerations for enterprises in regards to their networks during times of high traffic: 

Understand how your network performs normally

The only way a company can improve network performance is to know where they stand in terms of network demands. Then they can measure success against those baselines. By looking at Internet connections, WAN links, WLAN environments and the data center, enterprises can get a sense of how their network normally acts. A network analyzer can also help organize this information into a report that can be used to not only solve issues that currently exist, but also to allow organizations to go back in time to validate performance and bandwidth utilization as necessary.

Prune and clean WLAN traffic

Remove unnecessary traffic. Devices like printers, support stacks and protocols that aren't in use in the environment can be eliminated. Sometimes, protocols that help manage the network, like routing protocols and SNMP can be found, hogging valuable bandwidth without any purpose.

Know your options

Consider a Web surfing policy. The 2010 FIFA World Cup lasts from June 11 through July 11, 2010 and will likely suck up a lot of bandwidth. Having a set policy in place will help keep traffic down and is an option to be explored. However, getting employees to abide by regulations it's often more of challenge than it's worth.

The fact is, it is important to see new trends approaching and make changes to the network to account for an enterprise's behavior. Popular events can erode profitability and corporate security, as employees not only watch but also participate in social media discussions and gamble online. Review network analysis measures and policies now, so when 2014 rolls around, networks stay healthy and humming.

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