Bandwidth, like most technology solutions, is not one-size-fits all. Most companies need to do an evaluation of what they use bandwidth for before they can figure out how much bandwidth they need. A single circuit mentality is a thing of the past when so many applications require access to the cloud. You need to be considering redundant bandwidth and shifts in network technology such as SD WAN. Here are the top 4 considerations you should keep in mind when figuring out your business’s bandwidth needs.
Who uses the network?
Bandwidth is like a highway: data packets are like cars, and if you have more cars or more data, you need a bigger road or more bandwidth for traffic to flow. When thinking about the bandwidth your company needs, consider how many people access the network, whether they are in an office or work remotely, what sort of information is being shared, and whether any non-employees use the network. For example, if most of your employees are remote and sharing secure information, you will likely need more bandwidth on the WAN side, rather than the LAN.
What are the users accessing?
Today, the cloud is everything. We use VOIP for our phones, Microsoft 365 for our document sharing, and cloud-based applications for customer support. Accessing data on the cloud also requires more bandwidth. Many companies today are also relying on video conferencing to meet and communicate with their teams. Video requires a lot of bandwidth, including upload speeds rather than download. Considering not only who uses the connections, but what they use them for is vital for figuring your bandwidth needs.
How fast do you really need it to be?
If we use the traffic analogy, sometimes it is OK if you are stuck in a slow patch. But if you are an ambulance responding to an emergency, it’s not. Similarly, different businesses have utilization and latency needs. Basically, if a slowdown can lose you businesses or cause damage to your work, that is an important factor when considering how much bandwidth your company needs. A little bit of extra speed can save you from losing revenue.
What type of bandwidth do you need?
Video and voice require real-time bandwidth, and latency, jitter and packet loss will cause you poor video performance. For example, if you send an email next door, it doesn’t matter if it lags a couple of sends. Packets are like cars on the internet highway, and like a meeting, everyone needs to show up at the same time. So if you are on a video call, all the packets have to line up perfectly or you are going to have poor performance, with lags and delays.
It’s also important to make sure that all of your cars are not taking the same highway– this can cause a traffic jam or worse, if there’s a roadblock, no information can get through. If you only have one internet connection and it is down for some reason, you are done. It’s better when your circuits take different paths and have redundant bandwidth, and have two circuits for your core network, last mile, and central offices. When the circuits don’t hit the same spot until they get to your computer, there will never be single point of failure and you are always connected.
ProfitComm offers the best options for independently sourcing those options from over 100 vendors nationwide and a proven 20+ year track record. We have a Fiber Locator Tool, which shows every lit building and route in the US, bidding and evaluation of SD WAN performance, engineering resources for network design and performance, and we provide a single point of contact for improved support. Contact us today to find out more about how to find the right bandwidth provider.