Why is videoconferencing a critical application in the IT infrastructure?

The IT infrastructure and the network is the nerve center of any company or organization. Email, VoIP and intent access are critical applications that can make or break an organization in today’s business environment. Videoconferencing needs to be included as yet another critical application within the IT infrastructure. Two concerns are typical within this infrastructure — One is bandwidth and the other is configuration. The first concern is bandwidth. The good news is there are many providers and with this competition, very good pricing and costs strategies. Rule of thumb would be whatever bandwidth you think you require double or even triple it as your needs will far outgrow your initial assessment, especially if there is video conferencing in the plan.

Video conferencing, especially high definition video conferencing uses a lot of bandwidth. Jokingly IT staff often calls video conferencing a “BSA” or “Bandwidth Sucking Application.” It certainly can be, however with enough bandwidth and the proper configuration video conferencing is just another part of the network infrastructure. The key is to plan for video conferencing in your network ahead of time.

Configuration also has a major impact on video conferencing. If you are already using VoIP and it’s working smoothly your network configuration will accommodate video conferencing. One good way to configure the network is through MPLS or Multi Protocol Label Switching. MPLS prioritizes data packets for voice and video. This means that all other traffic, like email or other internet traffic gets a secondary priority. MPLS with QOS or Quality of Service accommodate video conferencing and insures quality and reliability.

If all else fails and you can’t accommodate video conference as part your IT or network infrastructure you can always add dedicated circuits for the videoconferencing. As mentioned earlier bandwidth is more priced competitive and it’s a simple process to add DSL or cable dedicated to the video conferencing system or CODEC.

There are times when the network is so badly configured and inadequate that video conferencing will never work and in fact make the network perform worse or even crash. We have one client in this scenario; however we easily worked around this by adding dedicated circuits to the video conferencing units and this had no affect or encumbrance in their network. Management is happy because they didn’t have to wait the many months it will take to correct the network issues to accommodate video conferencing.

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