How Much Bandwidth Do I Need for my Business? Determining the Right Bandwidth for Your Business

Exactly how much bandwidth do you need? The amount of bandwidth your company needs can seem like a mysterious and elusive number. While it’s tempting to go big just to stay safe, there’s really no need to pay for more bandwidth than you’ll use. However, if you’re too stingy with your plan, your productivity will suffer for it. The key to determining that magic number involves taking several factors into account.

How Many People Are Using the Internet?

This is one of the most telling factors when it comes to determining your bandwidth. Naturally, the more people you have on a computer, the more bandwidth you need. It’s crucial, however, to consider only those employees who really use their computers. Employees who work in the warehouse won’t spend the day plugged in to a computer using up bandwidth, so you don’t need to include them in your calculations. Only count on-site employees who spend the majority of their day on the computer.

Residential users are frequently accustomed to upload speeds being slower than download speeds. Activities such as browsing and video streaming require much more downloading than uploading. Businesses though often require higher upload speeds and may need a dedicated Internet connection.

When considering your bandwidth needs, make sure you take peak usage into account. Think about how many users you have and what applications they will be using. If you find that your business uploads quite a bit (cloud storage, video conferencing, etc.) then you will need a fast connection to support this.

What Do Employees Need to Access Online?

If you’re looking for a way to simultaneously cut costs and boost productivity, start by examining how your employees use their time online. Lay out the functionality that they require for their work-related tasks. This will typically include email, some web-based applications, and perhaps video conferencing with clients or remote employees. You’ll notice this doesn’t include streaming Pandora, Netflix, or other forms of entertainment.

Unnecessary online activities can put a significant strain on your bandwidth. If your employees are using Google Hangouts for interactions that could take place in a conference room down the hall, or streaming music throughout the day, other more important activities may suffer. Reevaluate how Internet is being used by employees and adjust your projected bandwidth needs accordingly.

What Other Technology Is Using Bandwidth?

Your computer is no longer the only device that may use bandwidth. Anything connected to the Internet will use some bandwidth. This may include your phone system and and any virtual meeting tools you utilize. Don’t forget mobile devices. If employees are connected to the office Wi-Fi on smartphones or tablets, these devices will eat into your bandwidth as well.

Calculating bandwidth for a VoIP system can get quite complex depending on the technology you’re using. The best course of action is to consult with a professional technician who specializes in your phone and Internet systems. This will help you get a clear and accurate picture of how much bandwidth you need to allot for phone system functionality.

What’s Your Plan for Future Growth?

While you don’t want to purchase more bandwidth than you can use, it’s still important to consider the future technology needs of your company. The ideal Internet provider will have a plan in place that allows for smooth and seamless upgrades. If you need to make complicated changes to your system to add a bit more bandwidth, you may want to look elsewhere for a service provider.

Give your company enough bandwidth to function smoothly with all your current employees and a few more. This way you can easily accommodate days with slightly more videoconferences than normal, or added activity when several of your travelling sales reps happen to land in the office at once. You’ll know when you’re beginning to exceed your allotted bandwidth, as load times start to lag. As soon as you see these indicators, begin investigating the next upgrade so your productivity doesn’t suffer.

With adequate bandwidth, your employees will function efficiently while your Internet bills stay reasonable. If you’re ever in doubt, consult with a professional about your office habits and needs to come up with the perfect plan for your individual business.