What’s Causing Your Bandwidth Woes?

Bandwidth Issues

Every time you or your employees send or receive data online they need bandwidth. Like time and money, bandwidth is often a scarce resource in many offices. After all, every computer and digital device relies on bandwidth to complete various tasks online.

Bandwidth is the amount of information that can be sent or received per second. This is usually measured in Mbps (millions of bits per second). Many people think having a higher bandwidth will mean a faster user experience but in fact, it is only one factor that affects response time. Bandwidth is actually about capacity more than speed.

Eight bits of information is one byte. A byte is the amount of memory it takes to store one character, such as the letter “A”.

You can’t drive fast on a one-lane road when there’s a lot of traffic. You also can’t navigate the information highway as quickly when there is online congestion. If you are the only one in the office late at night, you will probably have no trouble trying to stream an online webinar, but you might struggle to stream the same webinar when someone in sales is on a video conference call, someone in advertising is sending a graphic-heavy email and someone else is downloading a training video.

What Is Using Bandwidth?

There is greater demand on bandwidth every day. Your business migrated to cloud services for greater mobility and online consistency, but sharing information in real time requires bandwidth usage to synchronise the data.

Backing up to the cloud provides businesses with greater peace of mind, but it can be a headache if that backup is happening right when you want to get on a video chat with a client as your connection can suffer. You will be that person who keeps dropping in and out of that important meeting!

When you are using an online meeting tool (audio or video), you can also slow things down for others.

Even email needs bandwidth to send and receive data. The bigger the files (e.g. images or spreadsheets?), the more bandwidth activity. Uploading a few PDFs can take up 30-40Mb, which can choke a network with limited upload capacity.

All those personal devices your people are bringing to work can make a difference, too. Smartphones may also be set to start backing up to the cloud when they are on a Wi-Fi network.

Bandwidth Usage Solutions

Often, there is no option for greater bandwidth because the infrastructure where you’re located won’t support greater speed or bandwidth. You may already getting the most capacity your provider can offer but it pays to speak with your ISP first to make sure that is the case.

If you are on the highest speed and you still have issues the look at the following ways to better manage your bandwidth:

  • Generally, the routers that ISP supply or that you can buy off the shelf at the local electronics store are only built for home networks with limited connected devices.Switch to a business-grade router or a Unified Threat Management (UTM) appliance as they are designed for higher usage. They also allow you to identify and manage bandwidth usage better. They also add security (firewalls, filtering) to your network connection.
  • Set up Quality of Service (QoS) to rank the activities your business values more (e.g. configuring video conferencing to take data preference ahead of file downloads).
  • Restricting usage to certain employees or departments. Do all your employees need Facebook or social media access through out the entire day (you can block it entirely or only allow usage before / after work and during office breaks)?
  • Block employee devices or place them on a separate virtual network.
  • Schedule some activities for a more convenient time (e.g. set your system backups to happen in the middle of the night when fewer people are likely to be trying to do things online).

Want to regain control of your internet capacity? A proactive IT provider (or MSP) can help you monitor your Internet traffic and usage, and help set up a solution for smarter bandwidth usage.

Improve productivity today by contacting DP Computing on 08 8326 4364 or via email at support@dpcomputing.com.au.

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