VHS Tapes, My Daughter's Bike, and the Future of Your Network Infrastructure
When I was 10 years old, my parents bought a VHS video camera. It weighed 9 pounds and was roughly the size of a small child. That camera got dutifully toted to recitals and games, where my Mom would hoist it up onto her shoulder to record her children’s superstar performances.
After each recital or game, my brother and I couldn’t wait to get home so we could watch ourselves on the TV, in all our grainy VHS glory. The first few viewings were incredibly exciting. But back then, the only way to share videos with someone was to invite them over to your couch to watch them on your TV. So by the time all the grandparents, aunts, friends, neighbors, and cousins came over to watch the video, it was old news.
Hard to believe, but all of this occurred only about 25 years ago! When I compare these memories to the way things happen today, it’s mind-blowing how much has changed in such a short time.
For example: My daughter learned to ride her bike without training wheels last month. I used my iPhone to take several high-def videos of her first few rides. I immediately emailed the video to my parents, friends, and in-laws. My mother-in-law then uploaded the video from her iPad to Facebook, and also emailed it to her sisters, who probably sent it off to a few of their own friends.
So what does this have to do with network infrastructure?
A few things, actually:
- My 30-second video was not a very large file, but when you consider the bandwidth it consumed as it was transmitted and retransmitted to all those people, it really adds up. And I am only one person on one device. When you think about the 24.5 billion networked devices expected to be on Earth by 2019, the amount of bandwidth that will be required is enormous.
- I did my emailing from the street in front of my house, so I was still picking up my home wireless network. However, it occurs to me that before long, I’ll be able to transmit videos over wireless networks right from the bike trails in my town’s local park. As technology advances, people are starting to expect wireless access everywhere, even outside. Most major US cities have already responded to this growing demand by offering free wi-fi in their public spaces.
- My example is a personal one, but the same principle applies in the enterprise space as well. Think about hospitals, where diagnostic imaging files can be up to 50 MB each. Or universities, where large lecture halls need to accommodate hundreds of students simultaneously using their mobile devices. The network infrastructure in these facilities needs to be equipped to keep up with the demands of growing bandwidth requirements and evolving wireless technology.
The takeaway from all this?
Plan for the future! Your network infrastructure may be performing okay for you now, and maybe you don’t think you need anything more. But keep in mind, only 25 years ago, the VHS video camera was considered state-of-the-art. And when it comes to technology, the pace of change is staggering. Be prepared for what’s ahead (and save time and money later) by installing solutions that will deliver maximum performance for years to come.
One final note
If you’re lucky enough to be born post-1990 and have never experienced VHS video, or if you’re a little more “seasoned” like me and are feeling nostalgic, LA-based Rarevision sells a VHS Camcorder app that lets you use your iPhone to take video that looks and sounds like VHS. It’s available in the App Store for $3.99