Businesses, even if they're not solely dealing with online services, need to have connectivity to the internet.
Dobson Technologies mentions that while fast internet isn't a necessary consideration, the amount of data throughput may be more of a concern. Companies that focus on online strategies for marketing usually need more bandwidth than those that need the connection for cloud data backup. Each business' requirements are unique to the type of business and the extent to which it incorporated connectivity.
Chron mentions that small businesses have a lot to gain from investing in connected technologies. Even so, not all companies use the Internet the same way. Companies need to take it slowly to determine where their needs for connection lie and what sort of link will give them the best value for money. It makes no sense paying for excessive bandwidth that the company doesn't and will never use. Paying for too little could cripple the company and leave it unable to perform basic necessary actions. To determine what a business needs from its internet connection, we can break down the analysis into discrete steps.
Current Level of Connectivity
Most businesses understand the need for an internet connection. To this end, they usually invest the money as soon as the company sets up an office in making sure the necessities are turned on, and among those critical utilities is internet connectivity. However, due to the high cost of business connection rates in cities, the company likely opted for the cheapest option possible.
To determine the current bandwidth that the company has at its disposal, it can perform a bandwidth test. The simple test gives the business a figure that it can use as a benchmark for what it currently can use from its ISP. As IBM states, bandwidth determines how fast data moves across the network, and the result of the bandwidth test will be used in the next step to help us determine if the company has enough bandwidth to support its needs.
Gauge Current Usage
Bandwidth is spread out across a company and is usually used more for downloading than it is for uploading. To this end, Cox Blue informs us, ISP's consider downloading to be a higher priority than uploading and thus prioritize the download speed. The number of employees connected to the internet at the same time will be a significant factor in determining bandwidth usage. The split bandwidth means that, for transfer-intensive tasks, each user only has a maximum throughput of their portion of the company's total bandwidth. If all the users are doing is surfing, emailing and the occasional social media upload, then lower bandwidth may suffice. However, with more data-intensive tasks, the need for more bandwidth will arise.
A business can break down its internet usage into individual tasks, and then use the average bandwidth requirement for those tasks as a rule of thumb to help determine the optimal connection speed. Among these common tasks are:
- Backup 2 Mbps
- Cloud services 1.5 Mbps
- Email no attachment 1 Mbps
- Email with attachment 1.15 Mbps
- File sharing 0.5 Mbps
- Messaging 0.5 Mbps
- Online banking 0.2 Mbps
- Online research 0.33 Mbps
- Social media 0.2 Mbps
- Streaming webinar 1.5 Mbps
- Training webinar 1.5 Mbps
- Uploading photos 1.5 Mbps
- Uploading large files 2 Mbps
- Video conferencing 4 Mbps
- VoIP calls 0.01 Mbps
- VoIP video calls 1.28 Mbps
- Web browsing 0.33 Mbps
- Wi-Fi 1 Mbps
Factor In Number of Users
After a company has figured out what the average usage of their business internet tasks is likely to be and which users are assigned which tasks, the next step is to multiply the number of users by the tasks assigned to them. As more users enter the network and dedicate bandwidth to more responsibilities, the need for internet bandwidth rises proportionally. This methodology doesn't factor in individual usage from client and employee devices or other connected devices that may exist around the office, such as printers that connect to their manufacturer website for firmware and software updates.
The number a company gets from this analysis is simply a guide to the Minimum Required Connection Speed that it needs to be functional. A business should not employ it as a definitive statement to order an internet package for a business. However, it does offer insight into the base requirements of the company.
Compare Current Connection Speed to Minimum Required Connection Speed
Once a business has both numbers in their possession, they can set about comparing what they currently pay for to the minimum that the company requires. In some cases, the company can safely half the amount of money they spend on an internet connection without affecting productivity. However, in some cases having faster internet is more of a necessity, and the bandwidth the company currently has access to is woefully small for the tasks that the business needs to complete.
Small Biz Trends notes that a general rule-of-thumb a company can get a ballpark figure for maximum bandwidth by starting with 5 Mbps connection and adding 0.5MBPS for each employee that uses the connection. In some companies, this will lead to wildly exaggerated numbers, but for smaller companies, it might be a useful estimation for the upper limit of what the company may need in terms of bandwidth. Choosing a bandwidth that falls within the minimum required, and the estimated maximum is an excellent start.
Assess Usage Over the Quarter
Businesses grow, and so do their requirements for internet bandwidth. Some applications might require increased bandwidth when they upgrade, and those must enter into the final determination for the cost of internet bandwidth. To ensure the company keeps ahead of the demand curve and doesn't find itself mired in inefficient bandwidth usage, an assessment should be done each quarter to verify that all systems work correctly and that there aren't widespread reports of slower than usual internet connection speeds.
A Constant Race
Technology changes and businesses need to adapt to these changes. Technology that offers the edge to some enterprises can also impact their infrastructural needs. For specific technology to work correctly, the infrastructural framework must be established and maintained. Going through this checklist will ensure that a business will have an idea for its initial connection bandwidth, but will also develop a system for retracing the company's steps when it needs to upgrade its bandwidth speed to deal with the inclusion of new hardware or software.