As your company adapts to an increasingly digital landscape, you are likely experiencing different internet needs than you had when you first went into business. Maybe your network is struggling to keep up with increased call or video chat volume. Or maybe you moved more of your services online and your connection is getting bogged down by more employees attempting to access the network at once. Before you invest in an upgrade, you probably want to know how much more bandwidth you actually need.
Fiber is, in many cases, the gold standard for business internet, for its bandwidth and for its 99.999% up-time. When you get a dedicated fiber connection, you do not have to share bandwidth with neighboring areas, so you get the same high quality connection even during peak business hours. But there are reasons fiber may not be a business’ first choice or its only type of connection, which is why Digital Agent also offers coaxial and T1 connections.
The type of connection you get and the bandwidth you need comes down to a number of factors. If you are not happy with your current connection, look to these factors for how you can optimize and improve your network.
You can get away with just 10-20Mbps of bandwidth on a home internet connection because you typically only have a few users on the network at a time. But as you scale up to a business network with tens, hundreds, or even thousands of users, you need a lot more bandwidth. Exactly how much more depends on what your users are doing. If all of your employees need the ability to make high-definition video calls, you will need a lot more bandwidth than a company the same size that communicates only via email and VoIP calls.
Sometimes your hardware limits your bandwidth more than your service provider. While all of the devices and users on your network end up sharing your total bandwidth—remember, bandwidth is not the same as internet speed—each user may still be getting less than they should because of outdated or inadequate hardware. Check the network adaptors on office computers and other network devices, especially your main modem and router, to make sure your hardware can handle the bandwidth you want to use.
Even if your business uses wireless internet, the connections between your office network and the rest of the internet are hard-wired. It takes a lot of time and resources to install new cables and fiber optic lines. Because of this, some locations, particularly in rural areas, simply do not have access to fiber yet. This, along with considerations like budget and hardware, is one of the main reasons a business might opt for a cable connection over fiber.
Of course, one of the biggest factors that affect the amount of bandwidth you need is how you plan to use that bandwidth. A company with a large call center has different needs compared to a media company or a doctor’s office. Talking with an IT expert is the best way to customize your network to suit your business’ specific needs.
Find the right internet connection for your business
While your internet needs could change in a variety of ways as your business grows, right now, the most common change in business network use is an increase in remote work. For places like doctors’ offices and medical facilities, this means more telehealth appointments, which are typically done over encrypted video or voice calls that take up significantly more bandwidth than other online activities. By contrast, a company that has sent most of its workers to work with home is likely using much less bandwidth than it was before. In cases like these, finding an internet provider that can work with you to adapt your plan to your changing network needs is crucial.
How we do business with one another is changing faster than ever before. 2020 may mark an irreversible shift in business towards becoming as digital as possible. That comes with expansions in the remote workforce, e-commerce, delivery services, and even more innovative solutions to the unique challenges of online business. Make sure you have a Digital Agent you trust to keep you on the cutting edge of IT for your industry.
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