Many businesses are so steeped in the daily grind of their day-to-day operations that they don’t realize they’ve outgrown their Internet service. In fact, it’s not uncommon for companies to have a “set it and forget it” mode where they sign a telecom contract and just deal with the services they have – even when their usage and demands outgrow their bandwidth. We’re here to remind businesses to stop squeezing into a business Internet plan that doesn’t fit general IT needs. But first, how the heck do you know what those needs are?
How much bandwidth you need is dependent upon a few factors that are easy to identify – but might require you to do some planning. Figuring out your Internet services needs depends on the following factors:
- Number of users
- Type of applications your employees are running
- Acceptable speeds and/or slowing of the network, especially in peak times
- Your company culture — Is flextime an option for employees? Do you have a loose or strict non-work related Internet content policy?
With those key factors in mind, here are a few questions to begin the process and guide your bandwidth planning.
How many users do you have? Would you categorize them as light, heavy, or moderate users?
Generally speaking, the number of users is multiplied by the traffic estimate (based on Internet usage), and that equals the bandwidth needed. It’s not a hard and fast formula, and the way you calculate Internet usage can get a little tricky. You most likely have a variety of light users, moderate users, and heavy users, so the best thing to do is use your best guess.
What applications are you running? Are these applications heavy upstream and downstream?
Many legitimate applications your company uses regularly such as online back-up and Salesforce, as well as operations like video and web conferencing, can drastically increase your bandwidth needs in both directions.
Does your email live in the cloud or on your LAN? How much email does your company send and receive? Do your employees need to transfer or email many large files?
If your email lives in the cloud on a service like Google Apps or Microsoft Office 365, every time one employee sends a 5 MB file to another employee, the network needs to upload it from the sender and then download it for the receiver. If your email lives on your LAN, this 5 MB file never goes out to the Internet at all. You also need to consider spam in your estimates of how much email your company uses. Recent estimates say that for every 1 MB of “real” email you receive, you will get an additional 8 or 9 MB of spam.
Do you allow your employees to access social media and other “entertainment” websites such as YouTube?
If you allow Internet usage for entertainment or mental health breaks, you need to consider the bandwidth required for streaming music, video, and social media. You also should consider what time of day those activities are most likely to happen. Are they times that interfere with business communications? If so, is it your desire to have policies to control employee behavior or would you consider adding bandwidth to preserve a more loose culture? No wrong answers – just good food for thought.
How reliable do you need your connection to be?
For most companies, this should be the easiest question on the list, as a reliable connection is now one of the most crucial aspects of running a business. If your Internet connection is critical and you need 99.9% uptime or better, you need to be sure you always have bandwidth available so you don’t reach capacity.
Once you’ve asked yourself these questions, you will have a better understanding of all the factors that go into determining how much bandwidth you need. It’s difficult to calculate an exact amount and often your bandwidth choice could come down to weighing cost against need.
The nice thing about Wicked Bandwidth is that you don’t have to compromise when it comes to bandwidth – and faster, more secure bandwidth can fit within your telecom budget. The bottom line is, you can have enough speed and symmetrical service at a relatively low price.
Learn more about our Wicked Bandwidth solutions today and talk with us about how much bandwidth your business needs.