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Reduce Enterprise Video Traffic Impact with Multicast IPTV

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A growing number of enterprises today rely on video to share important information with employees and other stakeholders to access a wide variety of critical communications—from training and corporate announcements to policy updates and general news reporting. Multicast IPTV distribution is emerging as a critical tool in a constantly changing business landscape to support real-time decision-making. The applications are endless and have only grown in scope throughout the pandemic.

According to a BTR-100 survey commissioned by VITEC in 2021, 93% of enterprise technology executives say video traffic in their organization is growing because of end-user demand for video applications. This often translates into requirements for capacity upgrades to their networks, providing clear evidence that video has emerged as the fastest-growing traffic category on enterprise networks.

Growing reliance on video applications is forcing many businesses to reevaluate their enterprise networks and find ways to improve capacity to handle the increase of video applications in day-to-day business. Video applications are bandwidth-intensive and latency-sensitive, and as a result, can quickly consume precious network resources if not managed correctly.

Organizations have two options for meeting the growing demand for video content at work. They can either increase capacity or find ways to optimize current resources. Increasing capacity can be costly. It often entails buying new servers and new transcoders to upgrade equipment in their infrastructure. This is especially true for enterprises that depend on unicast technologies—rather than multicast solutions— to deliver video to end-users.

Evolution of Enterprise IPTV

The good news is that rapidly maturing industrial-strength IPTV-based multicast technologies are now available to support video traffic on enterprise networks in a more cost-efficient and operationally effective manner.

Before IPTV, most video distribution relied on cable and radio frequency (RF) solutions that required dedicated network resources. While this strategy gets the job done, it is bandwidth-intensive and expensive.

With unicast, every person that watches video content must establish a virtual point-to-point circuit to access a content stream. This approach to delivering video can have a significant impact on network capacity. The number of resources needed to stream compounds with every user that logs in to experience the video stream.

For example, if 1,000 users access a 3Mbps video stream in a unicast delivery, it would require 3-GB per second of capacity. This is extremely expensive and can compromise the performance of other mission-critical data and applications fighting for bandwidth on the network. In the end, it is not a sustainable solution. 

Organizations can respond in two ways. They can limit the amount of video that is streamed through the network. Or they can reduce the number of people who can access video content. Many organizations with a unicast-based video delivery strategy end up pursuing a combination of both strategies. It is not ideal for companies that see video as an increasingly valuable format for delivering content to key stakeholders, including employees, customers, and investors.

By contrast, the same scenario streamed over an IPTV multicast delivery network would only require 3Mbps capacity. 

IPTV Plays a Key Role in Addressing Enterprise Video Needs

IPTV is an open standard based on the internet protocol that allows video to travel on any network, at any level of resolution, in the most efficient manner possible. It is an excellent platform for enterprises delivering video content to users anywhere on the network—whether into a common area (such as a lobby) or to individuals at their workstations. In addition to streaming conventional video from internal and external sources, IPTV platforms can support applications for video walls and digital signage. It is a very flexible and scalable solution.

The initial generations of business IPTV multicast applications depended on plugins supported by the major browser providers—including Google, Apple, and Microsoft— to enable the entire workforce to access video applications cost-effectively. However, this strategy experienced a major setback when concerns about the inherent risk of plugins prompted the industry to stop supporting plugins altogether.

The removal of browser plugins may force organizations to shift back to expensive and resource-intensive unicast video delivery.

To address the challenges posed by the “plug-in apocalypse,” new multicast technologies will be needed to enable video content to flow to all stakeholders, even when there is high demand for the same stream of live content. Plug-in-free multicast will offer enterprises a critical tool for meeting increasing demand for video content with existing network resources in a cost-efficient and technically effective manner.

[Editor's note: This is a contributed article from VITEC. Streaming Media accepts vendor bylines based solely on their value to our readers.]

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