Infrastructure // Networking
News
1/25/2013
02:13 PM
Kevin Casey
Kevin Casey
Slideshows
Connect Directly
RSS
E-Mail
50%
50%
Repost This

9 Bandwidth Hogs: Reality Vs. Myth

Which user activities are actually eating up your bandwidth and clogging the network, and which can you ignore?
Previous
1 of 10
Next


There's an English-language idiom that warns against the perils of greed: "Pigs get fat, hogs get slaughtered." It's a cautionary phrase, a pork-centric version of "Quit while you're ahead." There's an IT translation here when it comes to matters of network performance, bandwidth consumption and related technology resource issues. Usage is inevitable, but beware the usage hogs. Failing to identify and deal with them proactively can cause problems across a network.

"The downsides are simple," said Stephane Bourque, CEO of Incognito Software. "Not understanding and managing data hogs will eventually lead to service degradation for those that reflect the more normal usage patterns."

For Bourque, most roads these days lead back to video. In his view, it's the most gluttonous of data hogs, and as a result the one most likely to cause headaches. Bourque's firm counts multiple system operators (MSOs) -- industry-speak for the cable companies -- and other Internet service providers (ISPs) among its customers. Video delivered via the Web is the application that keeps their executives up at night.

The same principle holds true on a much smaller scale. Small and midsize businesses (SMBs), many of whom rely on those same ISPs for broadband access, can experience usage and performance problems when a handful of hogs gobble up the majority of their network resources.

Video might be the biggest culprit, but it's not the only one. Businesses do so much online these days -- voice, email, productivity, accounting and customer service -- that there are constant demands on corporate bandwidth and related resources. Although the hogs themselves might be applications, it is almost always users who are generating the bandwidth-eating activity. That doesn't make them bad people, per se. There's a decent chance the offending employees don't even realize they're doing anything "wrong." But on a company network with limited resources, they are.

Among the problems that can occur as a result, according to Bourque: "Slower access speeds, pixelation on [video] services, more calls to the help center, [and] poorer [wireless] Internet access." Network monitoring and measurement is important. "[Adminstrators] need to be able to point the finger at the right source when the problem occurs. Not measuring may cause you to wrongly diagnose the source of the problem," Bourque said. "Measuring could also allow a provider to take proactive steps and perform network re-balancing in such a way to dissipate bandwidth hogs' effect on the network."

Legitimate hogs, such as business-critical applications that employees can't do their job without, could be mitigated with a virtual LAN or another method of segregating users. A creative department that works with and moves a high volume of large media files -- video included, of course -- could effectively be set apart from the rest of the organization, for example.

Then there are the less-than-legitimate bandwidth hogs. The employee who co-opts the corporate network to download high-definition movies or watch YouTube videos might not just be a productivity problem, but an IT problem as well. Even applications that might be acceptable for some employees, such as listening to music while working, might cause an issue when streamed online. Whether productive or not, such usage can be effectively managed by putting "the proper policies in place to address the behavior," Bourque said.

At the same time, IT pros could waste time and energy trying to solve problems that might better be left alone. We asked Bourque to weigh in on a variety of likely bandwidth hogs and help sort reality from myth. Read on to find out what might be bogging down your network.

Previous
1 of 10
Next
Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
sjacks982
50%
50%
sjacks982,
User Rank: Apprentice
1/29/2013 | 12:38:42 AM
re: 9 Bandwidth Hogs: Reality Vs. Myth
The article is Network hogs not Internet hogs. Most SMBs have fractional T1, ADSL, MPLS, frame relay, etc. (Asynch DSL: upload speed lags download) or Cable (quoted in "burst" download speed; upload speed lags download). POTS Voice is 8KB/s and example Windows Live Meeting 350 kbps for video (50 kbps min). Most routers now have QOS options. (We throttle user Internet access to match Modem throughput.) NETWORK disruptors are encryption (e.g. VPN slows server) and (multifunction) printers.
Leo Regulus
50%
50%
Leo Regulus,
User Rank: Apprentice
1/28/2013 | 9:41:45 PM
re: 9 Bandwidth Hogs: Reality Vs. Myth
Information Week only had one important New Year's Resolution this year. '"No Slide Show Articles with out a prominent 'View-as-one-page' link." How's that working out for you so far?
majenkins
50%
50%
majenkins,
User Rank: Moderator
1/28/2013 | 6:28:10 PM
re: 9 Bandwidth Hogs: Reality Vs. Myth
Now wait a minute. Video conferencing is only part reality but VOIP is fully reality, sounds a little out of whack to me folks. In addition you listed like 9 potential bandwidth hogs and only 1 or 2 of them you listed as myths so why even bother with the whole myth vs. reality nonsense in you title and just use, watch out for these 7 bandwidth hogs. Of course none of your 7 were any news to anyone so maybe that is why the "myth Vs. reality" teaser.

What a waste of my time, and my companyGÇÖs bandwidth. Oh BTW the you should have included stupid slide show news articles that have to load the ads 11 times as a reality hog in your list.
.
2014 Private Cloud Survey
2014 Private Cloud Survey
Respondents are on a roll: 53% brought their private clouds from concept to production in less than one year, and 60% ­extend their clouds across multiple datacenters. But expertise is scarce, with 51% saying acquiring skilled employees is a roadblock.
Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
White Papers
Current Issue
InformationWeek Government, May 2014
Protecting Critical Infrastructure: A New Approach NIST's cyber-security framework gives critical-infrastructure operators a new tool to assess readiness. But will operators put this voluntary framework to work?
Video
Slideshows
Twitter Feed
Audio Interviews
Archived Audio Interviews
GE is a leader in combining connected devices and advanced analytics in pursuit of practical goals like less downtime, lower operating costs, and higher throughput. At GIO Power & Water, CIO Jim Fowler is part of the team exploring how to apply these techniques to some of the world's essential infrastructure, from power plants to water treatment systems. Join us, and bring your questions, as we talk about what's ahead.