Monday, April 28, 2008

What Are The Bandwidth Requirements For Business Video Conferencing And Multi-Media Applications?

A commonly asked question ..... and one that often causes confusion and headaches .... concerns just how much bandwidth does a business require for video conferencing and multi-media applications.

Let's get right to it and try to shed some light to clear things up a bit. Here's some basics to give you a good foundation to move forward.

One location running low traffic to view video could be 256 to 384k ..... Two locations running and downloading files via the internet with video could be 384k-768 ..... Three locations feeding off a main location through MPLS on a full T1 burstable is up to 3mg's. Plus, simultaneous allocation of channels with voice, data and video could work fine.

It's important to consider area's of traffic for voice, data, internet, locations, ..... and software specifications, equipment and any devices connected. Where they are ran from and back to .... and the termination points.

You might use a simple T1, DS3, bonded PRI ..... ethernet (if corporates headquarters is in NY say ..... and you've got multi locations running back through the main server ..... then it's something to consider based on what types of software, devices and bandwidth are being worked into the configuration back to your central point.)

Keep in mind you may need to brush up some other LOC's or configure them a little differently to free up space...

If your talking pretty basic simple set up ..... low cost and nothing lagging any latency issues ..... a fractional T1 all the way to a bonded PRI for simultaneous allocation of channels is cost effective and upgradeable. Having dedicated point to point T1 for moderate use would be fine also.

Headaches for corp use are DSL, BRI, ISDN, Frame Relay. That's not saying they don't work well .... but there's more defects per incident if your serious about running and availability of paths (think quality and reliability).

If you are planning a Halo or TelePresence room, then 10 Mb Ethernet or DS3 is a minimum as the requirements are 3 Mbps per channel.

For units like Tandberg or Polycom, using H.264, you can get away with 384-768 kbps per site. Using H.263, 768 kbps is a minimum for quality; you can use as little as a T1 in these scenarios. How you want to integrate that into your current WAN is up to you ..... MPLS, FR, ATM, ethernet, etc.

Personally, I would try to use MPLS for my WAN and add the video as a higher priority so I could dynamically allocate bandwidth as opposed to dedicating circuits.

There ya go folks ..... just the basics.

For the next step of actually finding a bandwidth solution .... take advantage of the free consulting available at DS3 Bandwidth

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Anonymous Julie said...

Hi Michael:

I was wondering if you'd be willing to speak to me for a brief article I am writing for an online small-business magazine about bandwidth. Essentially, I'm explaining what bandwidth is and giving business owners pointers on how to determine how much they need and what their options are if they need more.

I am on a tight deadline so, if possible, would like to interview you by phone or email in the next day or so. I can be reached at

(My apologies for contacting you like this but I couldn't find an email address!)

Best wishes,
Writer, Your Business Online

1:00 PM  

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