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A Network Guide for Videoconferencing Rollout

The Biggest Videoconferencing Challenge?

Real-Time Performance Management

Did you know that according to Enterprise Management Associates EMA analysts, 95 percent of organizations have VoIP on their network- and more than half have deployed videoconferencing? IP videoconferencing has strong appeal to businesses through its promise of significant cost and time savings.

But how simple is the transition to video? For end users, video communications are expected to be smooth, seamless, and simple. For the network team, although there's an expectation that video will be similar to VoIP, they need to be prepared for several challenges unique to video. This article explores key video requirements and monitoring strategies to ensure the technology meets end-user expectations. 

Managing in Real Time

The primary challenge that differentiates videoconferencing performance management from other applications is the real-time nature of the service. Even minimal quality issues can be incredibly disruptive. As a result, every effort must be made to ensure the network is clean and ready to support live IP-communications sessions. This requires a concerted effort by the networ team to test, characterize, and pre-qualify the network as ready for videoconferencing. It also means finding ways to recognize problems as they happen. Efforts to identify and troubleshoot performance quality issues will also require the ability to reconstruct and study inicidents in detail. 

QoS is a Necessity

A significant differnce between VoIP and videoconferencing is the amount of traffic generated. This means network Quality of Service (QoS) class definitions and bandwidth allocations must be reevaluated before deploying videconferencing. 

Organizations often find that setting aside 10 percent of bandwidth for VoIP is sufficient, but to accommodate even moderate rates of concurrent videoconferencing sessions will require 30 percent or more. The potential negative implications go well beyond bandwidth consumption-providing latency-sensitive video traffic with increased precedence raises the likelihood of contention among other applications for remaining network resources. 

"With Observer, not only can I look at QoS Layers 2 and 3 to see that packets are being tagged correctly, but I can also look into the protocol to understand how the application interprets the information"

-Everett McArthur, Enterprise Network Engineer, Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center

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