Swine flu contingency

Interesting article on BBC website regarding BT announcing that their network is ready for the extra demands the swine flu pandemic may put on the broadband network. Looks to me just like a press release but with the buzz word of the moment and the big news agencies are sitting up and taking notice. The fact that the announcement is completely pointless hasn’t put them off.

How BT can make a generic statement that people will be able to work from home is beyond me. However it is true that businesses who have adopted home worker technology will be able to cope with such an outbreak well in times of crisis. The fact that an employee could be at home working on their computer as if they were in the office, use the office phone and even video conference with other members of staff ensures the business can continue to trade. And with the advent of cloud computing this kind of scenario is easier for businesses to deploy, they just need to make sure the corporate network is up to scratch.

On a recent meeting I was surprised to hear that one company looking at Fluidata’s offering has plans in place to start sending people home this week on shifts to ensure there are enough staff to man the factories if swine flu took hold. He was also well prepared with systems being upgraded to cope better with remote working and VoIP deployed throughout the organisation. What he needed though was a fast, resilient corporate network with the capability to easily bring home workers into the network. One of the problems with this is making sure that the voice and data requirements are met so that the user experiences perfect quality.

Technologies such as ADSL2+ with Annex-M make this possible by giving users up to 2.6 Mb/s upload which is twice the capability of BT’s closest offering. The upload is just as important as the download when looking at voice and video requirements and therefore needs careful investigation when looking to deploy home workers. Certainly home lines have always focused on download rather than upload with poor contention guarantees making BT’s statement about the UK network being ready to deal with a national crisis slapdash especially if the businesses are using BT technology.

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