Advanced Ethernet infrastructure key to enabling unified communications

Ethernet upgrades are becoming critical to support unified communications systems.

By Max Burkhalter
October 21, 2011
The unified communications revolution is well on its way to entrenching the robust collaboration technology in enterprise and small business environments alike. However, leveraging the operational advantages presented by UC systems is dependent on robust Ethernet infrastructure capable of supporting the technology. According to a recent Business Intelligence report, making Ethernet upgrades to enable unified communications technology can be a major challenge, as UC platforms typically demand significant network resources.

The news source explained unified communications has the potential to completely change the way businesses handle communications by enabling videoconferencing, telepresence and other real-time collaboration methods. The challenge, when dealing with UC systems, is finding the best way to enable these capabilities without experiencing performance disruptions.

According to the report, enabling robust UC performance can be challenging for organizations because more companies are moving away from premise-based solutions and turning to cloud-based unified communications deployments. As a result, these data-rich applications need to be delivered from the data center to multiple end users while also being supported by a connection to transmit data between participants in a collaboration event.

Managing network performance to support UC is especially important as dropped data packets, small amounts of latency and other typical issues that are not a major problem for everyday networking tasks can completely derail unified communications systems. The report explained that equipping the network to handle voice and unified communications capabilities requires robust routing and switching architectures to deliver data in real-time to users in a variety of locations, often countries apart.

Upgrading Ethernet infrastructures to support unified communications is becoming a critical consideration for a growing number of businesses. As a result, the report said many businesses will be working to upgrade their data center networks to support UC deployments and optimize performance for the sophisticated technologies involved in UC platforms.

Video is a key part of the unified communications portfolio, and can be one of the hardest types of content to deliver over the network. According to a recent Sys-Con Media report, dealing with video can be a major challenge for IT workers handling infrastructure, as the content has a tendency to use high quantities of bandwidth, creating performance issues for end users. Optimizing WAN infrastructure is emerging as a key solution to this problem, as the technology helps the network minimize the impact of video content on the network's bandwidth capabilities.

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