Businesses run on bandwidth. Any modern business requires high speed internet to function effectively, and bandwidth provides the stage for fast internet to run wild. Instant communication enables a business to stay constantly connected internally, as well as with customers and clients. No business wants to risk the cardinal sin of the modern age — a dropped connection due to slow internet.
For a business, it’s impossible to overstate the importance of fast internet and the role of sufficient bandwidth. The internet plays a big role in your business- from uploading video content to blogging. The best way to secure reliable high speed internet for your business involves bandwidth. Sufficient bandwidth guarantees your operations run as fast as your internet. Sure, your customers and employees will thank you, but remember to thank yourself.
Ensuring you posses a requisite level of bandwidth means your business will continue to function and grow, thanks to your foresight. Don’t put off bandwidth or suffer with a slow connection — start investigating the issue right now.
But how do you know how much bandwidth you’ll need? Welcome to the million dollar question. You want enough bandwidth to cover your needs, but not too much. Overspending on unnecessary bandwidth coverage results in unnecessary money losses. So what’s the right amount and how do you calculate that figure?
We, at MDSi, sympathize with anyone struggling to understand their internet needs. So, we laid out this simple guide to help business owners, possibly like yourself, get on the right path to figuring out their internet usage.
Bandwidth and the Internet
The internet is a resource. This uncontroversial claim and double entendre helps to illustrate the role of bandwidth. As a resource for information, we draw from the internet. After all, the internet represents the greatest source of information since the dawn of technology.
However, we’re distracted from the limitedness of the internet by its ubiquity. We lose track of reality — the internet is a resource, and like any other resource, it exists in measureable quantities.
The focus of our present investigation relates to this concept — quantifiable internet usage. The importance of usage defines our core mission here, which is how to meet your internet usage amount demands.
Say you run an office, or a company. It goes without saying that you perform nearly all intra and inter-communication through email or the internet. In other words, your operations move at the speed of your internet connection.
Bandwidth represents the infrastructure of the resource aspect of the internet. Everyone carves out a piece of the internet for their own purposes, but if too many people over extend their usage, it grinds down the overall speed for all users. You might think of it like water. Overuse results in less available for everyone.
It’s not the employees’ fault, though. It’s the obligation of management to ensure there’s enough bandwidth to cover the office internet demands. It’s not a matter of employees complaining about a minor inconvenience, either — slow internet is bad for business.
Slow internet means a reduce rate of operations, and a stunted level of operational capacity cuts down on workplace efficiency. This leads to longer wait times and a disconnection in real-time communication. For a cutting-edge business, such a scenario cannot occur. You need rapid fast internet to stay ahead of the curve and keep your office rocketing forward like a juggernaut of modern efficiency.
So what can you do if your internet is slower than it should be?
The next step in fixing the issue involves diagnosing your level of internet usage. In the following sections, we’ll address tactics to identify your amount internet needed. We’ll assist this task by explaining which online activities require the most bandwidth. Ready? Let’s learn how to make your internet faster.
How Much Bandwidth Do I Need?
The internet bandwidth requirements for your business rely on assessing your usage. Once you’ve established how much internet you use, the next step involves predicting your future internet appetites. You want to ensure you’ll possess enough internet bandwidth to cover your possible growth projections.
The other side of the issue involves overcompensation. You don’t want to buy more bandwidth than you’ll need. That’s just expensive and wasteful. So, how do you assess your bandwidth needs?
This question will occupy most of our investigation. In the course of our suggestions, we’ll lay out several strategies for analyzing and predicting your bandwidth needs. Afterwards, you’ll command a much stronger sense of your internet usage and level of bandwidth required to support that demand.
Weighing Your Usage
The first step in estimating your usage involves a breakdown of several factors. Begin by considering your number of employees. In a given office environment, each employee likely uses some level of the office internet. With this assumption, calculate the amount of time they spend online. It’s wise to offer a tip at this point — not all time spent online weighs out the same, but we’ll go into that later.
How do you gain an idea of your employees internet usage? Ask them! Request your employees fill out individual self-evaluations of their time spent online and, most importantly, what duties do they perform online. The nature of their activity online determines how much internet they use.
The amount of bandwidth needed for your business can vary from 10 x 1 MBPS to 300 x 20 MBPS depending on the number of users and devices using the network.
Bandwidth and the Cloud
Nowadays, many organizations store large quantities of their information using cloud software. If you’re unfamiliar with cloud computing, here’s a quick definition. At a basic level, you’re likely familiar with iCloud. This program syncs all your Apple products. Any device can access the information on another device using an intermediary program — the iCloud.
Cloud computing functions along the same lines. A cloud user can upload all their data to the cloud service, freeing up hardware space on their computer. Nowadays, companies increasingly rely on cloud computing services to handle their data.
Offices handle huge amounts of digital information. Sure, the collective memory of a business’s computers and additional data storage can handle some data storage, but outsourcing to cloud storage offers an enticing alternative. A company saves space on their local disks and simply reaches into the cloud to access necessary files. Often, a company’s entire online presence and web platform will exist in a cloud.
Cloud computing sounds great — save space on your local computers, store it in the cloud. However, there’s a necessary downside, and it involves bandwidth. Like any online activity, the more you do, the more you use. With cloud software, it’s easy to think you aren’t actually using the internet, but you are.
For our present purposes, consider your relationship to cloud software and gauge your usage accordingly. To introduce a formula:
Your cloud involvement x Your usage = Your bandwidth requirements
Uploads and Downloads
Uploads and Download comprise another area in which substantial amounts of internet get spent. Both types of web interaction require data. These activities use up a lot of internet because of the frequency rate. Uploading includes such things as:
- Sending emails
- Posting to Dropbox
- Uploading to CRM (customer relationship management) software
- Updating web presence
- Interacting with platform
While these areas deal with uploading, downloading often involves a simple role reversal. For instance, receiving an email, opening a webpage, file or extension all qualify as downloading. However, the boundaries elude easy classification.
Video conferencing, a popular mode of communication, straddles the definition of upload and download. Technically, when you watch and hear the person you’re talking to, it’s downloading. In turn, you upload your visual and audio information for them.
Although we haven’t solved the problem yet, we’re on the right track. Keep an eye on the type of operations common to your workplace. Next, we’re going to give them a value in megabytes. Then, you can multiply the rough megabyte usage by the frequency of activities to gain a valid estimate of your bandwidth needs.
Different tasks online eat up dissimilar levels of megabyte (MB) data. To give you a basic idea, here’s a quick breakdown:
- Opening a webpage – 1 MB
- Watching a live streaming video at 720p – 5 MB/minute
- Skype video calling – 28 MB/second
Other processes such as uploading or downloading files use roughly the same amount of MB as the file size contains. Using these metrics, you can begin to gain an idea of your office’s collective internet use.
Other Examples of Internet Eaters
We’ve only just touched on several types of common web practices. However, there are many other areas to identify when forming your bandwidth need assessment. In retail outlets, for example, other variables, such as the number of point of sale (POS) terminals in use at a given time all factor into overall internet consumption, as does employing an open Wi-Fi source. Who’s using that hotspot and for what? That Wi-Fi might drain your bandwidth more than you think.
You have even more to consider if you belong to a business that:
- Constantly sends and receives large file sizes
- Maintains an unusually active social media presence
- Operates a VPN security software
- Deals in VOIP calls, hosts streaming services
- Offers long customer service interface calls
- Deals with high frequency internet financial transactions
- Provides online banking or e-commerce trade practices
We’re just suggesting some of a near-endless number of possibilities. Fundamentally, the assessment comes down to you. Take stock of the actual activities in place, predict the amount of internet they require, and form a prediction as to how much bandwidth will accommodate them.
Cable and DSL
Another factor which affects bandwidth and internet speed involves which type of internet service you employ: cable or DSL. These two options qualify as “asymmetric” services. This means both offer a different upload and download speed. If you want the same upload and download speed, or symmetrical bandwidth, it’s more expensive.
Often, symmetric upload and download speed isn’t necessary for a business. For instance, it’s occasionally less urgent for a business to upload information immediately. Businesses frequently prefer to keep abreast of other information and lean more heavily on downloading services.
For businesses with large bandwidth needs, symmetrical service might assume greater importance. A large variety of needs within a business dictate the requirement for better uploading and download speeds.
Cable type also affects speed. Whether you choose Ethernet, fiber optic, fiber or fixed wireless depends on your needs. Ask your service provider for details about pricing.
Check Your Bandwidth
To figure out the amount of internet bandwidth you have right now, check out Speedtest.net and run their evaluative program on your system. It’s smart to perform the test outside of work hours to ensure the bandwidth is running undisturbed. This results in the cleanest reading.
Once you’ve determined your level of bandwidth, if you’re still not satisfied with your internet speed, then you have a concrete number to focus on improving. To get greater bandwidth, just talk to your internet bandwidth provider and see what options are available for increasing your limit.
At MDSi, we know firsthand the finagling necessary to nail down your optimal bandwidth needs. You want to meet, and slightly exceed, your current demands while fixing an eye to the future. Your enterprises shouldn’t chafe under any restraints to expansion. Don’t let insufficient bandwidth stand in your way.
Analyze your usage with regard to the areas we discussed, and don’t go overboard. Don’t over estimate and buy more bandwidth than necessary. You’ll lose money both by under-investing and overinvesting in bandwidth. It sounds like a tight squeeze, but with the right attention to detail and proper monitoring of your internet habits, you’ll nail that Goldilocks zone of bandwidth perfection.