The BBC's decision to stream all its football matches live on the internet has been greeted with joy by UK fans, but could cause massive headaches for the country's network managers.
Roger Mosey, director of sport at the BBC, admitted that there would be a lot of office viewing as some games kick off at 2pm and 5pm.
"We know that a lot of online viewing is done in the office, so we suspect this will allow people to do their job and to keep up with the very latest action from Germany," he said.
However, experts in the networking industry warned that staff using the service could bring UK corporate networks to their knees.
"This is obviously going to have an impact on business productivity, partly due to a workforce more focused on the football pitch than the sales pitch, but also due to the impact on the network," said Mike Bailey, UK country manager at Ipanema Technologies.
Mike Hemes, country manager for UK and Ireland at Packeteer, warned that there is already a battle for bandwidth on company networks between recreational and legitimate business use.
"It is likely that millions of workers will log-on to watch matches due to faster internet connections at work than at home," he said.
"This will generate a huge surge in network traffic, eating into the bandwidth available to run business-critical applications effectively."
Bailey explained that network managers need to take note of possible problems to make sure that systems are not adversely affected.
"Being able to watch the World Cup online is great, but businesses cannot afford for it to result in problems such as delay, jitter or loss for business-critical applications," he said.
Bailey added that, with the right restraints in place, the network need not be affected. "Businesses need to manage the traffic on the network so that business-critical applications are given priority," he said.
"This would mean that the streaming of matches would not have any negative impact on the other applications that are needed by the business, but will still be able to run as long as there is enough network capacity."
However, Hemes believes that most networks are unprepared. "Many IT managers do not have the correct tools to combat the disruption to network performance caused by video streaming over the internet," he said.
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