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  • Writer's pictureAaron Magruder

March Madness: The Network Killer

ATTN Business Owners: Don't make this IT's problem. ATTN IT Departments: Business Owners will make this your problem. It never fails. Calls start flooding in about slow response times of critical applications. What just happened? Every year employees stream March Madness over the internet killing the companies internet bandwidth. The company policy doesn't state they can't stream media over the internet so it becomes your problem to solve. Been there, done that. What do you do now?

  1. Tell people that complain about performance the entire sales department is watching March Madness and to go complain to them. (Not Politically Correct)

  2. Shut down all streaming media in and out of the network at your internet gateway. (Not a good idea, many angry executives)

  3. Ask people politely to stop streaming the game over the internet as it is affecting production. (This may work for some people, but not effective.)

  4. Set up TV's around the office to allow people to watch the games rather than watching over the internet. (This is a very effective solution if your office has cable TV)

  5. Throttle streaming media in and out of the network to 25-50% of your available internet bandwidth. This will allow people to get actual production work done, keep the streamers happy, human resources doesn't have to deal with the problem and executives don't have to hear about the problem.

How do I do limit the bandwidth March Madness consumes?

  1. If you have a proxy server in your network, they have the ability to classify traffic by type. i.e. Streaming Media. You can limit a type to a specific bandwidth usage.

  2. No proxy, Cisco Routers have the ability to rate limit, shape or QoS traffic types.

  3. No Cisco Routers. The solution won't be as affective, but most small business internet gateways have the ability to deny traffic by ip address and possiblly URL.

  4. OpenDNS can filter by category. Unfortunately this an allow Podcast / Sports or deny which would leave several other sites blocked as well.

Conclusion There are several ways to prepare for the effect March Madness will have on you network. First, if you have a proxy server use it. If not, contact your CIO and human resources to see if a policy can be put in place around March Madness streaming. Make sure corporate communications broadcast it 3 times before it starts. If not, document, document, document that fact that you informed everyone of the situation and side effects that will occur.

Aaron Magruder

NonStop Networks, LLC

Cisco Unified Communications Solutions

(816) 846-0676

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