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Nomis Connections guides UK businesses in how streaming the 2014 World Cup could impact their broadband connection.

The football World Cup kicks off in Brazil this Thursday (12th June) and the world will flock to watch until its conclusion on 13th July.

Many people across the UK will watch the competition over the internet, streaming games through BBC iPlayer and ITV Player, possibly from the office. This activity has the potential to slow other business-critical services, due to higher demand on your bandwidth.

Businesses that allow staff to stream the World Cup also risk exceeding their monthly download limit. Thankfully, Nomis Connections can help minimise any potential disruption, and avoid you exceeding your download cap.

Due to the time difference, the earliest matches start at 17.00 UK time. This minimises the potential impact on many UK businesses – though staff may watch the build-up from work. Staff with working hours extending beyond 5pm may watch all the game from the office.

What services can excessive streaming affect?

Streaming can take up a large amount of your bandwidth, and this can be multiplied if you have a number of streams at once. Such streaming may have an impact on business-critical processes such as data transfer between your office and cloud applications (hosted servers and CRM systems, for example). Slowing these services is likely to frustrate staff, and result in inefficiency.

If you run your voice traffic over the same internet connection as your data, high levels of streaming may degrade your call quality. Thankfully there is a solution called ‘Quality of Service’ (QoS), which is explained in the next section.

A high level of streaming is more likely to effect connections with a lower bandwidth, though we suggest that you consider your situation individually. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

Where appropriate, businesses should give preference to business-critical devices and processes above all else.

Mark Balzaretti - Head of Operations and Customer Service, Nomis Connections

What can Nomis Connections do to help minimise excess broadband use?

If you use your broadband to make and receive calls as well as send and receive data, and have a business-grade router managing your internet connectivity, you can activate Quality of Service (QoS).

This service can typically be activated by your router manager (often Nomis Connections or your IT company). Once activated, QoS will prioritise voice traffic on your broadband connection, ensuring that no call quality is lost due to other network activity.

Broadband usage alerts

If you have one of our business broadband services, we will send you an alert when your broadband usage reaches 60% of its monthly download limit – ensuring you’re aware of your monthly usage trends.

What can I do in my business?

Internally, we suggest you review streaming policies during the World Cup. If you’re confident that you have sufficient bandwidth for business-critical services not to be affected, and accept that you may be alerted to – and potentially go over – your monthly use, then there is little reason to act. We’ll alert you if your usage reaches 60%.

If, however, you wish to take action in order to minimise risk, we suggest that you advise staff to not stream directly from their PCs – and instead set up a television or stream in a communal area. This way staff can enjoy the event without impacting on your business service.

Note: If you do allow streaming through the World Cup, please ensure that your staff stop the stream when not in use. Streams left running can eat into your monthly usage limits unnecessarily.

Recap: Ways to limit the impact of streaming on your business broadband

There are a number of things that can be done to limit the impact on your business from increased demand on broadband services:

  • Ensure QoS is enabled if you have a compatible router – this guarantees voice quality is given preference over VoIP or SIP connections
  • Consider placing a television or computer in communal area, instead of staff streaming services to their own computers individually
  • Accept that your usage will increase – Nomis Connections will alert you when your usage reaches 60%, allowing you to keep track of your usage
  • Enquire about raising your data cap

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