Facing the Olympic bandwidth challenge in 2012

23 August 2011

Staff watching landmark global events at work have put major pressure on the UK's communications infrastructure and business networks in the past. InTechnology, a leading managed services provider, is advising businesses to prepare now for the 2012 Olympics as most of the events are expected to be held during the working day.

The opening ceremony of the 2008 Beijing Olympics saw Internet traffic peak at five times the norm and the majority of viewers were business customers watching the event live from the office. So businesses need to prepare now for the effect of multiple people simultaneously streaming and downloading data during next year's Olympics in London. At worst , the effect will be to seriously compromise network access and overall IT efficiency if preventive steps aren't taken.

Ian Rhodes, platform director at InTechnology comments: "London 2012 is expected to draw a global audience of over 4 billion people. In the UK, research suggests that more than a quarter (28%) of people plan to keep up with events online - via their laptop, tablet or smartphone. Businesses must open their eyes to this as the huge demand for online services is likely to cause a significant headache for IT departments up and down the country."

"And it's not just businesses. ISPs should also be making provision now to factor in the upsurge in demand we're likely to see over the course of the Olympics and Paralympics."

Aside from businesses introducing flexible working schemes to accommodate staff who want to watch live coverage, they can also take some simple steps to lessen the impact of the Olympics on their bandwidth and network access:

  • Devise a policy so that staff know exactly what is acceptable
  • Position televisions in locations around the office
  • Increase the company's Internet bandwidth
  • Ensure their network provider can provide the resilience and scalability to handle media-driven Internet demands
  • Restrict the bandwidth available to their Internet users

Rhodes concludes: "There are ways and means of reducing the IT impact of the Olympic Games without detracting from the celebration of the event itself. Doing your homework now will ensure you still have a network that supports the business as well as staff that know exactly what is and isn't acceptable when it comes to watching London 2012."