Identifying and Addressing Bandwidth Needs for Businesses

Any thriving business must rely heavily on fast internet speeds and sufficient bandwidth. Without these critical resources, your business may be bogged down, costing you time and productivity. So, how can you determine the right amount of bandwidth for your business? It’s a tricky balance ensuring you have adequate supply without paying for too much.

In this article, you’ll learn the critical factors you need to consider when selecting the appropriate amount of bandwidth for your organization.

Internet Access Is a Resource

Like any resource a business uses, internet bandwidth will become drained the more it’s used. If you have too little bandwidth, everything moves in slow motion—reducing productivity and increasing frustration for users. When thinking about bandwidth, it’s not solely relegated to speed and capacity; it’s also about the quality of the service.

Consider the processes that require internet during a normal business day—Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) devices, streaming media, downloading large video files, and more. You want enough speed to perform all of these tasks while also ensuring optimal quality of service. When your bandwidth is overused by specific applications, other applications will suffer, which can put your entire network at risk. It’s vital to find that balance between bandwidth capacity and internet speed that will allow your business to keep up with the modern business world.

The Internet Feeds Your Operations

The internet serves an important role in any business, providing access to information and acting as the hub communications. When considering your bandwidth needs, the first step is to test your current speed. From this, you’ll be able to see if there are slowdowns during the day. You can also test upload and download speeds to assess the quality of your connection.

Understanding Your Bandwidth Usage

Your bandwidth equates to the infrastructure of your internet as a resource. So, what can you do if sluggish internet is impacting operations?

With some focused planning, you can ensure that major drains on bandwidth such as VoIP video calls don’t slow your internet to the point it causes business interruptions. There are five major factors to consider when calculating bandwidth needs.

    1. How many people use the internet at the same time? Start with the number of total visitors. This can fluctuate so use the greatest number.
    1. Type of devices being used. Outdated hardware can impact your speed because this equipment may not support the most up-to-date wireless standards. This may prompt you to upgrade some hardware to better optimize bandwidth. Consider each device used by those at the business, including PCs, laptops, tablets, and smartphones.
  1. What is each user doing?
    • Light usage: basic email and web browsing
    • Moderate usage: small file downloads, cloud-based platforms, streaming music or video, and VOIP
    • Heavy usage: large file downloads, interactive web conferencing, and multiple devices per user
  2. Follow a traffic estimate for tasks based on industry standards:
    • Backup: 1.15 Mbps
    • Cloud services: 2 Mbps
    • Emails without attachments: 1 Mbps
    • Emails with attachments: 1.15 Mbps
    • File sharing: .5 Mbps
    • Messaging: .5 Mbps
    • Online research: .33 Mbps
    • Social media: .2 Mbps
    • Streaming a webinar: 1.5 Mbps
    • Uploading photos: 1.5 Mbps
    • Video conferencing: 4 Mbps
    • VoIP video calls: 1.28 Mbps
    • Web browsing: .33 Mbps

Calculate real numbers by multiplying the number of users by the required speed of the tasks they perform. Then get a grand total by adding all the bandwidth needed by assuming that all tasks will need to take place simultaneously.

Maintaining the Right Amount of Bandwidth

Determining bandwidth isn’t something you simply do once. Your business is ever-changing, and its bandwidth needs will continue to change in pace. That’s why it’s important to monitor bandwidth. You’ll want to obtain a tool that can monitor wide area network (WAN) and local area network (LAN). The most sophisticated tools can even provide traffic analysis that allows you to understand peak times to establish usage patterns. You should also have in place bandwidth governance practices while modeling possible situations to determine if they will impact bandwidth.

Tessco can help you, or your customers, identify the optimal bandwidth for your purposes – balancing performance and cost considerations – to deliver the ideal solution for your needs. Visit www.tessco.com to get started exploring our complete, end-to-end solutions today.

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