What’s actually driving bandwidth demand?

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You may have heard lots of talk about explosive demand for enterprise bandwidth and a future of multi-gigabit connectivity. But what does this really mean? What is actually driving demand?

The adoption of a cloud-based infrastructure, for both storage and applications, means that demand for bandwidth grows in line with usage of these services, especially if these applications live in the public cloud. Moreover, key enterprise applications such as Unified Communications (UC) are becoming richer and more sophisticated, placing greater demand on the network in terms of latency and bandwidth.

Video is one of the main culprits. The trend towards bring-your-own-device (BYOD) initiatives means that users are consuming more rich media in both a personal and business capacity, sucking up the bandwidth on their smartphones and tablets (ever experience that lunchtime lull, when everyone in the office is on YouTube or Facebook?). But it’s not just consumer applications that are to blame. More and more enterprises have adopted video for conference calling and remote working, and a sudden burst of simultaneous usage can have a knock on effect on latency- sensitive applications and result in a negative experience all round.

Cisco publishes a Visual Networking Index (VNI) every year, this year predicting that global IP traffic will increase nearly threefold over the next five years, with business IP traffic seeing a CAGR of 18 per cent over the same period, largely due to increased adoption of advanced video communications. In the enterprise segment video will cause business IP traffic to grow by a factor of two between 2015 and 2020.

However, any enterprise CIO will know that budgets don’t often keep pace with demand, creating a situation where requests for extra capacity are only actioned once the network is already under strain.

The numbers above show that a digital transformation is definitely coming – for some, not fast enough, for others, too fast. A Gartner survey found that enterprise executives expect that 41 per cent of revenue will come from digital business by 2020 – almost double what is was in 2015. But the analyst believes there are still too many enterprises that have yet to embark on a digital transformation strategy.

One of the ways Colt is looking to help customers meet this increased demand and stay ahead of the growth curve is by delivering a contract on a fixed price for a fixed term that actually doubles your bandwidth over three years.

Food for thought, because it looks like bandwidth will be the only thing to curb that appetite.

Real life businesspeople shot on location. Since these locations are the real thing, and not shot in an "office studio", high ISO levels are sometimes needed to catch the moment. The ISO range is between 250-600 so it should be fine for most usage cases. Most people won't notice anything really, but if you are a nerd like us, you can see a little noise.

Peter Coppens

18 August 2016


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