Can your Network handle Telepresence?

Telepresence is a big hit in the business world. For good reason too, not only does it provide unique and sophisticated remote collaboration but it’s inexpensive and more environmentally friendly. Enterprises are quickly discovering the business value in telepresence as it transforms conferencing into a lifelike and immersive experience with high-definition video, life-sized video displays, high quality sound and unobtrusive cameras and microphones. Cisco, who owns the mindshare around telepresence, couldn’t be more pleased.

With the technological benefits of telepresence comes the responsibility in making sure networks can handle the demand. Monitoring the network is critical as it carries the service for telepresence.

In terms of network strain, video is much more demanding than VoIP. VoIP expects regular delivery but video does not as it largely depends on movement and what is going on in the environment. Video is much more bandwidth intensive as well as more sensitive to latency, jitter and packet loss. In fact, below a certain quality threshold for video it is nearly impossible to see anything.

Organizations should understand their current baselines and network in preparing for telepresence. Key metrics include travel levels per segment, packets per second and packet size distribution. Also be aware of what the traffic level is per application including average rates, peak rates and weekly patterns. With this depth of understanding of network performance, organizations can better scope telepresence computing needs and validate network configurations.

There are three points to consider when implementing telepresence in a network environment:

1) Success breeds success

In order for employees to accept a new technology and adopt it fully, the initial experience using it has to be successful. Beat the outset; be diligent in terms on network analysis as this is when user opinions are formed. Expect the demands to be extreme when first introducing telepresence into the organization.

2) Success increases network demands

The more people that are using the successful technology, the more demand on the network. It’s important to stay in tune and not assume a certain baseline status will be reached. Network needs will constantly change depending on load.

3) Interoperability is key

Ensure quality across networks segments you don’t control. When monitoring and optimizing the quality of your network, try to reach for the best quality at the end point and don’t settle for the lowest common denominator.

Telepresence can provide an organization a lot of advantages and benefits provided the network is designed to handle it. In short, don’t compromise on what’s under the hood – the network and tools to keep it humming. Otherwise, your telepresence deployment will be remembered as an expensive mistake.

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