What To Do About March Madness?

Are backups taking longer? Are your users complaining about slow Internet? Are applications non-responsive? If so, it must be March…madness that is. The annual basketball tournament that engages the nation and bogs down your network. Whether your employees are streaming games on their computer or using their mobile device on your wifi network to watch clips and check scores, there’s no question that the amount of basketball data being downloaded can take a significant amount of your network’s bandwidth. In a recent survey by Braun Research on behalf of Modis, 42% of companies say the tournament has a real impact on their network with 37% of those saying the network has slowed down and an astonishing 34% saying that is has shut down their network for a period of time.

As an IT manager, you have three choices on how to deal with the problem – prevent it, celebrate it, or live with it.

Preventing it may seem like the obvious choice, but there are a few issues. First – what do you block? You can find the obvious sites that stream the games, but nowadays there are lots of alternate ways to stream live sports and it might seem like a game of whack-a-mole trying to find them all. Plus, draconian blocks can anger employees and cause more productivity loss as they complain and look for ways around the blocks. And you can’t just block video streaming altogether as various forms of video are now an integral part of many people’s jobs.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, you can show some or all games in common areas of the office, simultaneously increasing employee morale and limiting the network impact. By showing the game in just a few locations, you can limit the total amount of video used and create a shared experience that will bring the company together. Until they go back to their desks anyway.

The third approach is to live with it. Accept that March Madness is now part of our annual calendar but keep it from bringing your network down. By allocating a share of the network for Internet traffic, while reserving adequate shares for business applications, you can ensure that streaming will get some bandwidth but won’t choke out more important data.

With an SD-WAN from Talari, it’s easy to translate whichever decision you make into network reality. Talari’s solution makes it easy to implement the network changes you need leaving you time to do what really matters: filling out your bracket.

Categories: Software Defined WAN (SD-WAN), IT Challenges