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Will your office internet connection survive the Rio Olympics?

  • Internet Protocol (IP) usage could topple previous traffic records set during the FIFA World Cup in 2014 as more people tune into the Olympics
  • UK Internet Service Providers anticipate record numbers streaming Olympic events to mobile, tablet and desktop devices
  • As with London 2012, the BBC are making 24 live Olympic channels available to stream your favourite events from on the BBC Sport website
  • Avoid the downtime and frustration caused by a poor internet connection by making sure your office is ‘Olympics ready’

The 2016 Rio Olympics are here and this year could see businesses grappling with their broadband speeds as record numbers of employee’s watch their favourite events on streaming video services.

Here at Kit Out My Office, we’ve been looking into the impact that Worldwide sporting events such as the Olympics or the Football World Cup have on broadband usage and what this means for the workplace.

The FIFA World Cup 2014, also hosted in Brazil shattered previous internet traffic records according to Cisco’s Internet Traffic Predictions Report, with millions of people watching games and/or highlights via the internet. Figures suggest this generated a staggering 4.3 exabytes of IP traffic, the equivalent of three times the amount of monthly IP traffic generated by Brazil at the time.

To put this into terms we can understand, Cisco go on to breakdown future internet usage, predicting 132 exabytes of traffic per month by 2018. This is the equivalent of:

  • 8 billion screens streaming the FIFA World Cup final game in Ultra-HD/4K at the same time;
  • 5 billion people binge-watching 'Game of Thrones' Season 4 via video-on-demand in HD or 1.5 billion watching in Ultra-HD/4K;
  • 5 trillion YouTube clips; and
  • 940 quadrillion text messages

If the World Cup 2014 is anything to go by, we can expect even more internet usage during the 2016 Olympics as visitors turn to their phones to upload and view large images and video files.

Thankfully, Cisco have been chosen by NBC Olympics, a division of the NBC Sports Group to provide IP video contribution and distribution solutions, along with networking and security solutions for its production of the Olympics 2016. This includes products and services to support 24/7 broadcasting from 26 venues to satisfy the thirst of Olympic fans.

Whilst we won’t have to worry about handling all of the IP traffic generated in Brazil like Cisco do, here are some of the top factors that could impact your internet connection speed back at the office during the Olympics:

  • Streaming of live and pre-recorded events will put additional load on your workplace internet connection
  • Business lines offer a lower contention ratio, normally a line will be 1:1 meaning that if you pay for 70mb internet down, it will be all yours. A residential line will normally be shared between say 10 people.
  • Cable Vs. fibre broadband – generally speaking, if fibre is available in your area, this will give you the best results when streaming video due to increased bandwidth offering speeds such as 1 gigabit per second. It might be too late now to upgrade for the Olympics, but check with your ISP and future proof your connection speeds
  • Inconsiderate colleagues who ‘hog’ available bandwidth by streaming non-work related material at the office - cited as the third biggest time waster at work
  • Peak usage within businesses is normally at lunch time when staff start to browse the internet

This year’s four-hour time difference between Rio and the UK will make it difficult to watch some events on live TV. Because of this, the BBC iPlayer catch-up service will be a good option for most viewers.

It features a daily Rio 2016 'Olympic Playlist', with highlights of the best late-night action. Of course, any streaming video catch-up services like this require additional resources and bandwidth - the rate at which data can be transferred to your computer from a website or internet service within a specific time.

The increase in people at work turning to streaming video and catch-up services like the BBC iPlayer to watch their favourite events could spell disaster for your workplace or home office network.

What can you do to make sure your office is ready for Rio?

  • Check that your broadband is up to the job to have multiple people streaming from catch-up services such as the BBC iPlayer at the same time. You can test this by streaming from the BBC iPlayer
  • Make sure before offering this out to staff that BBC iPlayer and video content is accessible on your network, some business will restrict/prevent use of video
  • Quality of service rules can be configured to ensure that video traffic is prioritised on your network lower than core services like web browsing
  • You could even route traffic through an alternative internet connection such as a backup internet or ask staff to use this instead for streaming
  • Organise set viewings for major events that your teams can watch together on the same screen to minimise broadband usage to one device
  • Rather than have people watching Olympic events, why not get teams involved by hosting your very own Office Summer Games 2016…

Celebrate the Rio Olympics with your own Office Summer Games!

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