Bandwidth Management

is a general term given to a set of tools and techniques that can be used by an institution to reduce the critical needs of a network segment.

Often bandwidth management is applied to the WAN segment that connects the institution to a larger internet. This can also be applied to internal segments that are also critical in nature, such as segments that connect campus rooms to the entire network. CIO Magazine has published a good overview article on bandwidth management entitled “Bandwidth Trailblazers”.

Several technical issues related to bandwidth management technology:

  1. Data compression, to reduce the size of data that must be transmitted.
  2. Local caching, to store frequently used data locally instead of sending it multiple times.
  3. Bandwidth priority, allocates bandwidth based on application importance.
  4. Distributed content, to move content from one location to several locations closer to the end user.
  5. Blocking of unauthorized traffic.
  6. Internet accounting packages, to track bandwidth usage and collect fees for the
  7. use of related services from customers (pay per use, commonly used in Australian universities).
    User education tools, to educate users about the consequences of their actions and convince them to become good citizens of the network they share.

Bandwidth management allows you to control the amount of bandwidth available to your customers. Used properly, bandwidth management ensures that each user receives a fair share of bandwidth. The need to balance bandwidth usage can often cause network managers to increase bandwidth, speed up network traffic or cut off access to applications – but this approach is short-term, ineffective and can actually contribute to network congestion.

Why Network Bandwidth Management Is So Important

Excessive use of bandwidth in one part of your network can affect the performance of the entire network. Bandwidth issues can even impact business-critical services and cause network disruptions. If you only buy additional bandwidth to reduce this problem, you may only treat the symptoms of a bigger problem.