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8/27/2007
02:36 PM
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Unified Communications Can Cause Network Traffic Jams

Nearly four of 10 companies surveyed have suffered application performance problems due to the convergence of communications apps, the survey says.

More businesses are moving to implement unified communications, mainly because of the efficiency and potential cost savings it offers. While most deployment today are small and limited, users are discovering that there is a down side to unified communications: a significant growth in network traffic that can slowdown application performance and cause other problems, according to a survey released Monday.

A survey of 576 unified communications users found that 75% said one-quarter of their network traffic in the last three months consisted of UC applications like VoIP, unified messaging, and instant messaging. The survey was conducted by Network General Corp., which polled its worldwide customers.

"The ramp-up in unified communications is already taking its toll," the survey stated. "Nearly 40% of companies have suffered application performance problems due to the convergence of communications applications onto their IP network."

James Messer, Network General's director of technical marketing, noted that the demand of growing mobile workforces is propelling UC to newer usage levels. "IT departments are finding that their environments are becoming increasingly complex as each new service often comes with unique management tools," Messer said in a statement.

The survey's respondents indicated the growth of UC is likely to continue; just 9% of them said they don't yet utilize UC in their businesses.

Network General, which offers a suite of network management tools, listed several ways of improving unified communications and network performance, including consolidating VoIP and UC management into a single suite that include dashboard-level IT service views.

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