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I work at a midsized global company (~3000 employees), and I recently have had the opportunity to train a new employee. The new guy asked about IM at the workplace, and I told him to have the IT department install MS Office Communicator on his machine, because from what I understood the company had been using Communicator for the past year. He, put in a help-desk ticket with IT, and this was their response:

"Office Communicator is only being installed after approval when needed for communicating to our sister companies overseas. They do not want users using up the band with to IM each other internally. This may change once the new infrastructure gets in place someday."

Is there any bit of truth to this claim? Can IM traffic actually use that much bandwidth? Our only alternative is to bombard the MS Exchange server with e-mails back and forth (or call the other person on the phone.)

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the real reason may just be that everything you say with communicator or email is logged, and msn IM isn't (centrally). That alone would kill it stone dead for me at least. – Sirex Sep 28 '11 at 12:05
It doesn't matter whether it's the truth or not, does it? That's their policy. Do you really envision that you'll be "bombarding" each other with email or phone calls? Do you really communicate that much? While I see the value in having some type of IM in place, I never bought in to the neccessity of it at the same level that end users seem to. You know what most end users use IM for? To chat with their buddies about non-work related stuff and to send links to funny cat videos on YouTube to each other. – joeqwerty Sep 28 '11 at 12:24
up vote 3 down vote accepted

For text only chat, it's a ridiculous claim. You could have many IM clients running from a dialup connection without any problems. To give you an illustration I just ran a packet capture for MSN (which for better or worse we use for communicating with one another at my workplace) traffic on my machine and after 5 minutes the capture file was 12k.

edit - There are about 500 users at my company and I have ~60 contacts online now.

File transfers and video chat would be a different story though, I guess.

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I'd say this sounds pretty accurate. Maybe even a bit high compared to AIM (AOL Instant Messenger). If they're concerned about external bandwidth, and it's for legitimate corporate purposes, just setup a Jabber server. – Jason Antman Sep 28 '11 at 20:55

Since IM is considered short text message, it should use definitely less bandwidth then email.

But MS Office Communicator (or Lync now) can also be used for Voice over IP, or videoconferencing, so this is probably why IT thinks that users will use up their bandwidth.

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I just got more information from my IT guy, and the situation is that they can’t disable the video chat function on the version of Communicator we have. So, essentially it comes down to the fact that they do not trust employees to use video chat responsibly (only when talking overseas). =(

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presumably there is a firewall between the sites - could you suggest that they block the ports required for video chat? – paulos Sep 28 '11 at 12:09
Acutally it comes down to idiots on the IT department that are unable to configure Office Communication Server properly - it has nice controls to enable / disable the SIP stack per user based on profiles. – TomTom Sep 28 '11 at 12:09
So exactly what I thought.. :-) – George Tasioulis Sep 29 '11 at 9:42

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