British network managers spend more time on WAN management than their colleagues anywhere else, according to a survey by market researcher ICM. In the UK, 35 percent spend a day or more a week on issues such as identifying network faults and dealing with billing problems, compared with a global average of 25 percent.

The survey of 301 CIOs around the world, which was commissioned by managed service provider Vanco, did also show that the amount of time spent on WAN management has come down in recent years. Vanco, which calls itself a virtual network operator, said, to no great surprise, that this is thanks to the increasing use of network outsourcing.

Scott Farquhar, the CIO of property company Lend Lease EMEA, said he's not noticed UK network managers spending that much longer on their WANs than their counterparts in his native Australia, even though 52 percent of the latter claimed in the survey to spend no time at all on WAN management.

"It could be the Australians are talking themselves up," and the Brits talking themselves down - perhaps in the hope of winning more resources - he suggested.

However, Vanco marketing manager Michael Piddock said that the company's survey results have held up well over the years, and argued that there's several possible reasons for UK admins having a tougher workload.

"Who are the UK guys dealing with today? Mainly BT!" he said. He added that the results could also reflect a higher than average level of mergers and acquisitions in the UK, as these can lead to duplicated and confused WAN structures.

"We view companies involved in M&A activity as ripe for the Vanco model, as it allows them to hand it all over to us to manage," he said.

The survey also revealed that network security is more important than bandwidth to the CIOs, all of whom have a networking budget of at least €250,000 a year, but that cost reduction is still the top priority in their WAN plans for the next two years. MPLS is growing in importance too, but only 5 percent said they saw voice/data convergence as their top priority.