Can you hear me OK? How to keep video conferencing from dragging down your network

Posted on April 12, 2022

Believe it or not, employees didn’t flock to video conferencing when the pandemic first emerged. Many kept their cameras off and opted for audio to communicate remotely. But almost two years later, video conferencing is now being put to good use. In a recent global survey, 80% of executives said video is becoming the norm as opposed to audio conferencing, and 92% of them agree that the expanded use of video has had a positive impact on their business performance.

Although video meetings are high impact, they are also high bandwidth, meaning collaboration tools and real-time communication applications can drag down network resources, easily disrupting call quality and application experiences. Today’s trends in using the public internet for connectivity only exacerbate that problem. A 2021 study by Altman Solon found that 50% of public internet users report insufficient application performance and 48% say the cost savings of the public internet doesn’t justify the lower quality of service. A stronger, more reliable network service is non-negotiable as organizations increasingly rely on video conferencing for remote and hybrid work. Here’s what IT leaders should consider.

Start with SD-WAN

A software-defined wide area network (SD-WAN) is crucial for supporting bandwidth-intensive work-from-home applications like video conferencing. This virtual WAN architecture optimizes application performance by running traffic across multiple connections, selecting the best route for traffic in real-time, so video calls can run with minimal jitter and latency. Here at Masergy, we see SD-WAN boost available bandwidth by as much as 30% and reduce costs by as much as 40% for our clients. How does it do all that? Prioritization features help address quality-of-service issues, enabling critical apps to stay online. Plus, centralized network management helps simplify the work of IT staffers. Get a more in-depth overview here.

Add Artificial Intelligence or AIOps

While SD-WAN’s prioritization features can help prioritize applications to ensure critical communications get the bandwidth resources they need, network engineers still spend nearly 50% of their time troubleshooting the network environment. This is where artificial intelligence (AI) helps automate some of the complex network analysis that is better suited for machine learning engines. AIOps, also known as AI for IT operations, is an advanced technology capable of serving as a virtual network analyst. With AI-powered insights into bandwidth consumption trends, root causes behind video service degradations, and network configuration recommendations that will boost performance, IT teams can correct, predict, and even prevent network and collaboration application outages.

Layer on Security Measures

Video performance is crucial, but so is security – especially when employees are working from anywhere. Several other technologies are clutch for creating a secure approach to video conferencing. These include:

  • Cloud Access Security Broker (CASB): The advantage of video conferencing and cloud collaboration applications is how easy they are to deploy and access across the enterprise. But the downside is that many applications do not have integrated security controls to address data loss prevention risks. This is why CASB solutions step in with proven protection for SaaS applications and public cloud services.
  • Endpoint Detection and Response (EDR): By securing personal devices and quickly responding to potential threats, EDR services expand your security approach to network endpoints. While endpoint protection platforms only cover the technology, EDR also addresses the security threat response necessary for a comprehensive approach.
  • Secure Access Service Edge, or SASE is a new category of solutions that combines SD-WAN with security functions (including CASB) in one integrated service platform. These cloud-based services offer a simple way to install and manage a host of capabilities with one solution and one partner.

Finally, Choose the Right Partner

As an IT leader, you know how many unified communications applications, network services, and security solutions are out there – all touting the same benefits. But the providers of these solutions are the real factors to explore. They’re the ones not only supporting the technology but fulfilling your service level agreements (SLAs) and determining the experience you get.

Masergy offers one secure network and cloud platform to support your remote work and video initiatives. Our industry-leading SLAs include 100% in-sequence packet delivery, and our integrated artificial intelligence tool intelligently predicts and prevents service outages. With one dashboard that provides visibility across your entire network, you’ll be able to monitor application performance in real-time for any app at any location. We also offer fully managed services, taking the burden off your IT team. Now you can focus on higher value-added areas while we ensure 24/7 effective video conferencing coupled with security monitoring and response. Check out our work-from-anywhere solution brochure.

Lawrence Sanders

Lawrence is an engineer with 30+ years of telecommunications experience. He has been a part of designing technical solutions for some of the world’s largest companies including Amazon, eBay, Microsoft Corporation, FedEx, Cisco Systems, Oracle Corporation, and The Coca-Cola Company.

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