The iPhone video threat: Can networks keep up?

With 9 billion video downloads last year over wireless, business and cell networks are becoming overwhelmed

Organizations are cracking down

John Collins, the CIO at Prairie Cardiovascular, a Midwest health care company with 28 facilities, is already feeling the pain from the doctors coming into one of his facilities with their brand-new iPhones. Collins has faced numerous incidents of slowing networks and was forced to institute a policy that completely turned off wireless streaming video to its staff of doctors, nurses, and administrators. Collins also uses SurfControl from WebSense to block all shopping sites.

Prairie Cardiovascular's policies came about after the health care organization began experiencing serious problems with slow access over its Wi-Fi network. IT analyzed the system using a combination of Aruba Networks' built-in diagnostics, SurfControl, and features on its Nortel switch to identify and manage access, ultimately identifying shopping sites and video as the root cause.

"Most of these [28] facilities have VPN back to me. What would happen to the network if a doctor wants to stream a soccer match from India? I can't allow it. I need my EMR data and diagnostic imaging data going back and forth during the day," says Collins.

Nevertheless, after vociferous complaints from a number of physicians who wanted to do watch video streams over their handhelds, Collins relented just a bit and opened up the network for doctors' personal use for a half hour during the day and one hour at night.

Prudential Fox Roche, the third-largest US real estate firm, also had a problem with employees bringing in their wireless devices for video surfing, so it too tried to limit the use of video-oriented sites such as YouTube over its wireless network. "We do get overloaded with streaming," says William Friemann, the firm's vice president of technology operations, security, and compliance. Prudential offices typically have a single T1 line as the backbone for its wireless network, and a lone user can hog three-quarters of that with a video download. In fact, one employee was terminated for his refusal to stop streaming. "It was constant even after numerous warnings," Friemann said.

But Friemann says he can't shut down video streaming because Prudential also uses streaming for e-learning; the marketing department uses the technology extensively as well.

With tight budgets, Prudential won't increase bandwidth to satisfy YouTube users. "We are just not going to buy additional bandwidth," Friemann notes.

Join the PC World newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Ephraim Schwartz

InfoWorld
Show Comments

Essentials

Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive

Learn more >

Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop

Learn more >

Mobile

Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive 

Learn more >

Exec

Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive 

Learn more >

Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones

Learn more >

HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450

Learn more >

Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards 

Learn more >

Budget

Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Kathy Cassidy

STYLISTIC Q702

First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.

Anthony Grifoni

STYLISTIC Q572

For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?