We are quickly approaching a world in which 10GB networks will be commonplace — necessary, even. Still, to many people 1GB networks feel like plenty of bandwidth.

For integrators, this is making 10GB a tough sell. How can you convince a client to move to 10GB when they feel their existing 1GB infrastructure is more than enough for their needs?

Granted, 10GB does represent a significant investment. Clients can expect to pay up to three times more per port on 10GB switches than they would on 1GB switches. That said, prices for 10GB have fallen and will continue to fall.

And of course, each client's needs are unique. Their individual circumstances and their existing infrastructure must inform what kinds of integrations they select.

At the same time, we believe every integrator should at least recommend that clients look into 10GB and start making plans for an upgrade. One big reason for that? The convergence of 4K video and big data, says Insight Media founder Chris Chinnock. Client demand for 4K video and the prevalence of huge amounts of data — even at smaller companies — are putting downward pressure on the price of 10GB networks. And if your client needs (or will need) high-quality video streaming, it's better to plan now for more bandwidth later.

Below, we outline the three reasons integrators should recommend 10GB infrastructure as a sound investment.

1. Lossless Video Needs a 10GB Network


If you plan on streaming video now or in the near future, a 10GB network should be viewed as compulsory. This is despite many solutions claiming to support 4K streaming over 1GB.

While it is possible to do so, some level of compression will be needed if you wish to distribute high-resolution video over a 1GB network, says AV expert S. Kyle Davis. Typically, this means compressing the video using JPEG2000 to reduce bandwidth.

The result may not be pretty, according to James Meredith, a WyreStorm sales manager. “Think of the banding, blockiness, and overall image softening resulting from the 20-1 compression needed to fit such a small bandwidth. Only a 10Gb solution gives you a lossless image and audio indistinguishable from an uncompressed source.” 


2. 10GB Can Futureproof Your Network

10GB is the way of the future, says Paul Harris, CEO of Aurora Multimedia. Like Meredith and Davies, Harris also believes that 4K at 60Hz isn't really possible over 1GB at the moment. So it has no chance of being able to distribute 8K video in the future. “Once into those higher refresh rates and bandwidth, you must be on a 10gbps system — period.”

Being able to stream the future's high definition video is just a small part of a much larger goal, however. Ultimately, many AV and IT professionals are aiming for the true convergence of IT and AV networks. And to achieve this, says Justin Kennington, president of the SDVoE Alliance, requires an upgrade in the capacity of the network.

“Using a 10 Gbps network, 4K video can be transmitted without compression, while a full 1 Gbps (or more) can be set aside for the data network users. On top of that, no compression means no latency and no compromise of image quality.”

3. Upgrading to 10GB is More Accessible


If you want to make the move to a 10GB network, it's now more affordable for businesses of all sizes. It wasn't that long ago that 10GB infrastructure was way outside the budgets of most SMEs, says Datto's Andrew Burton. But that's not the case anymore. Today, there are several affordable 10GB solutions, with many switches priced below $1000.

Chris Scurto, VP of marketing and business development at ZeeVee Inc., agrees. The price of high bandwidth network switches, and 10GB switches in particular, has been dropping constantly at about 20 percent per year. You can now pay less than $100 per port. 

Taking the Long View of Pro AV

Even if a client isn't ready to upgrade their network, the time to start planning for a future migration is now.

For instance, imagine you have a client who is in the early stages of a digital transformation, one that will create a predominantly cloud-based working environment in which video conferencing will replace face-to-face meetings. Or, imagine that same client is considering an upgrade to enterprise software like Oracle or SAP. In either case, the team at Curvature points out, a 10GB network would be necessary to support that change.

The time for planning is already here. Tell your clients' IT directors to start sketching out milestones, sourcing vendors and anticipating pitfalls of a migration. For many of those IT teams, an upgrade to 10GB might come much earlier than they are anticipating.

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