For the business that relies heavily on their Internet connection, the term “High-Speed Internet” can often be a misnomer. Currently the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), the United States’ governing body regarding interstate and international communications, allows Internet Service Providers (ISP) to advertise a speed of four megabits per second (4 Mbps) as “high-speed”. While not every user needs to upload large files and stream data quickly, many of today’s businesses require broadband speeds that supercede the ones that normal consumers have, especially if they want to take advantage of some of today’s most innovative productivity solutions.
To get the confusion over definitions out of the way early, the FCC, in its 2015 Broadband Progress Report, has voted to change the definition of broadband by raising the minimum upload speed of a “broadband” connection from 1Mbps to 3 Mbps, and raising the minimum download speed from 4Mbps to 25Mbps. This was done as a result of a push toward giving every potential user in the country the option and availability of a faster Internet connection. The confusion lies in the use of the “high-speed” moniker, which, as stated before, is only 4Mbps. Make no mistake, if you use a high degree of Internet-hosted solutions, 4Mbps likely won’t cut the mustard for your business.
If your company is having issues with its Internet connectivity or if you are simply searching for the right situation for you, before you commit to a lengthy and expensive contract that many of these ISPs command, you should consider what technologies you plan on taking advantage of that will eat into your bandwidth. Two simple variables that you should take into consideration include:
- What are your current bandwidth needs?
- What new solutions do you plan on implementing that may require a boost in bandwidth?
Your Current Needs
When trying to ascertain which service plan is right for your organization, it’s important to understand what processes absolutely need bandwidth. The biggest data hogs are invariably some of the most dynamic. Things like video conferencing or any other video streaming will definitely be the biggest culprits in bandwidth strain. Also, if your organization relies on a cloud solution, these platforms will also need a fair amount of resources. If you don’t have the proper bandwidth to run the services you have instituted, you’ll quickly find that the little money you saved in a lower cost broadband connection, really isn’t worth the headaches and inefficiency you will experience in connectivity issues.
Think About the Future
Over the past several years, the cloud has begun to provide secure computing platforms that do a vast number of things. You can get complete packages with servers, storage, application deployment, and productivity and collaboration suites, deployed through your company’s broadband connection. If you are trying to establish whether or not a cloud platform is right for your business, you should first take into account the speed of your Internet connection, because without the proper bandwidth, these platforms will be less than efficient.
Other technology solutions, such as Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) phone systems, should be considered as well. This provides the organization a unified communications solution for all of its voice, and conferencing needs, but without ample bandwidth, the solution can be a miserable failure.
Every organization needs a well-thought-out wireless plan. The larger the Wireless Area Network (WAN), the more devices being used on that network, the more bandwidth it will take up. Many organizations, to get the most out of the devices that their employees bring into the workplace, are committed to a bring your own device (BYOD) strategy. This places additional stress on your network capabilities, but in turn, can create a more collaborative workplace.
For the growing business, the proper amount of bandwidth will be the amount where there is limited-to-no bottlenecking in the network traffic. If you are experiencing network connectivity issues, such as lag, cut outs or syncing problems, it may be time to evaluate your bandwidth usage and needs.