Bandwidth: The Entertainment Industry’s True Star

Move over George Clooney, there’s a new star in Tinseltown. But you won’t hear much about it in the tabloids nor will you see the up-and-comer giving an acceptance speech at the Oscars or Emmys. The entertainment industry’s new star is operating behind the scenes: in studios and video streaming websites like Hulu and Netflix. The name of Hollywood’s new star? Bandwidth.

The rise of video streaming is one of the primary factors driving the need for more bandwidth for both workers in the entertainment industry as well as viewers. According to eMarketer, the average adult in the United States watched almost 300 times more digital content in 2015 than he or she did four years earlier. Among sites that strictly feature videos, such as YouTube and Netflix, as well as social media sites like Facebook, large amounts of bandwidth are required to support consistent delivery to users.

But it isn’t just end users watching shows at home that need more bandwidth support. Within the entertainment industry, employees need the support to piece video together. (more…)

This July 4th, Declare Your Independence from the Big ISPs

240 years ago, our founding fathers declared the 13 American colonies a united, sovereign nation free from the rule of the British Empire. On the grounds that they were being unduly taxed and controlled without proper representation, these revolutionary thinkers changed the world forever.

This Independence Day, commemorate the spirit of liberty and declare your independence from the big Internet Service providers.

The big ISPs are a lot like the British Empire of the 18th century: they’re massive, imposing corporations. Due to the sheer size of their organizations, it can feel like you’d have to travel across an ocean to develop a meaningful relationship and demonstrate the unique needs of your business.

Furthermore, larger ISPs must create services that will have a broad appeal. Their business model does not leave room for customizable solutions.

What does that mean for your organization? (more…)

Will 2016 Be Remembered as the Year of IPv6?

In 1983, when the Internet was still in its infancy and still referred to as ARPANET, IPv4 was deployed for the purpose of routing traffic. The original standard was designed to assign unique IP addresses for 4.3 billion possible devices to ensure that data flowed securely to the appropriate destination. That seemed like an inexhaustible supply of addresses at the time, but, in subsequent years, the number of devices connecting to the Internet has exploded.

The issue of running out of IP addresses came to a head in 2015 when the folks at Regional Internet Registry (RIR) for North America determined that their pool of available IP addresses was becoming exhausted. This was largely due to the popularity of connected “things.” According to a recent report from Gartner, 6.4 billion connected devices will be in use this year—a 30 percent increase from 2015.

From smartphones to smart refrigerators, the Internet of Things is disrupting the nature of connectivity and will continue to do so. Indeed, Gartner predicts that, by 2020, the number of connected devices will reach 20.8 billion.

The 2015 conclusions from the RIR may come to be known as the eulogy for IPv4, meaning that 2016 may come to be remembered as the year of IPv6. (more…)

What’s Sapping Your Bandwidth?

Forward-thinking business leaders are introducing all sorts of technology solutions to increase worker productivity these days. Just think about your offices: How many employees are using desktops? Mobile devices? How much of your vital data is stored on your network? When it comes to staying in communication, do you pick up the phone or do you send an email, text or Skype request? There is no question that your company’s success depends upon the tech that employees use every day to get their jobs done.

So what happens when your Internet speed starts to slow down? Or the quality of your video conferencing no longer facilitates group discussion? What if you have a time-sensitive document to send to a client and your network stalls?

Just as your employees depend on these tools to grow your company, all that technology relies on bandwidth. So if you’re experiencing problems with your network performance, it’s time for you to ask the question: What’s sapping my bandwidth? (more…)

All a Farmer Needs: Sun, Soil, Water … and Lightning-Fast Connectivity

Since the dawn of civilization, the recipe for farming success was fairly simple: sun, soil and water. But, today, things are a little more complicated. Partly due to a more competitive globalized economy, prices for crops and livestock have plunged, leading to a 15-year low in net income for farmers, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Yet with a global population of 7.5 billion, demand for food has never been higher.

Given the demand, the opportunity to boost revenue can practically be tasted. Bringing it home to roost hinges upon modern technology, specifically, adding lightning-fast connectivity to the mix.

But what, exactly, does high-speed Internet access have to do with farming? (more…)

In a Smart City, the Real Movement is Underground

Can you imagine a major metropolitan area without traffic? Or poorly lit side streets? How about a city that gave you a strong public Wi-Fi connection whether you were riding a subway or standing at the top of a skyscraper? If you’ve been dreaming of a city with the infrastructure to match the technological developments that have emerged in the past few years, you may not have to wait much longer.

Around the world, city officials are beginning to adapt to the times, leveraging connectivity solutions to integrate major segments of their metro-area infrastructure into the growing Internet of Things (IoT) network to build “smart cities.”

But while government officials and citizens alike are dazzled by the potential impact of a connected city on daily life, more attention needs to be paid to what’s happening below the surface.

Without a strong fiber optic network underground, smart devices may not work to their full potential. (more…)

When Disaster Strikes, How Will Your Business Respond?

When disaster strikes, people usually fall into one of two camps—those who were ignorant to the risk and become paralyzed; and those who were prepared to deal with the circumstances that have beset them and are primed for action.

Which category does your business fit into?

To find out, answer the following questions:

  • Does your business have a continuity plan in the event of power loss?
  • If your network is exposed to ransomware, leaving you without access to critical data, what would you do?
  • If an earthquake hit and destroyed one of your branch offices, would another location be able to step in and quickly fill the void?

Though such scenarios are beyond the scope of your typical day at the office, these questions are necessary to ask and answer because the cost of dealing with disaster recovery after the fact can be dangerous for both your bottom line and your brand image—and it only needs to happen once to alter the course of your organization.

So what kind of measures can you take to ensure preparedness in a disaster? A two-pronged approach, focusing on both network and data protection, is smart. (more…)

Separate Locations Doesn’t Have to Mean Separate Networks

Running a business with two locations can have you seeing double: twice the personnel, twice the supplies and twice the bills. More than that, and you might have the urge to put your optometrist in your speed dial. But if you’re duplicating your efforts when it comes to networking, you’ve got blinders on.

Business leaders tasked with managing multiple locations have a number of explanations as to why they have separate networks for each location. Some operate under the assumption that it is less costly than procuring unified network solutions. Others simply cite convenience. Still others argue that they don’t have the IT acumen to manage a more complex network.

If any of these explanations sound familiar, it’s time to dispel your beliefs about multi-location networking. (more…)

You Can’t Afford to Miss Wolfe at International Telecoms Week

Now in its ninth year, the International Telecoms Week (ITW) conference is heading to Chicago. It is the world’s largest meeting of the global wholesale telecommunications community. Last year’s event included more than 6,000 attendees representing over 1,900 companies from 140 countries—this year, turnout is expected to be even greater!

From May 8 to 11, ITW will be held in the windy city’s Hyatt Regency and Swissotel, and will feature a blend of exhibitions, conferences and networking events. You can see the full agenda for ITW 2016 here.

Of course, at the world’s largest telecom conference featuring industry powerhouses discussing big trends and announcing big news, it would be easy to lose sight of the simple fact that bigger isn’t always better. (more…)

The Home of the Future Is Built on Lightning-Fast Internet

If you’re a developer getting ready to break ground on a new residential neighborhood or condominium, you know that you need to furnish your dwellings with the most modern and innovative amenities possible.

Today, the amenities garnering the most attention are connected devices that turn ordinary homes into smart homes.

Household connected devices are improving the quality of many facets of everyday life. Consider, for instance, simple conveniences like automating light switches, or financially rewarding and energy-saving technologies like smart thermostats. New sensor technology is even being implemented to provide medical support for the elderly to help them live more independent lifestyles.

In a way, building a smart home is much like constructing any edifice: You’ve got to start with the foundation. In this case, that foundation happens to be high-speed Internet. (more…)