What Internet speed does your business need?

Prepare now for the return to the office by building the right Internet foundation for your business. But to keep your business up and running at all times, there are several factors to consider that may affect your Internet speed and performance.

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Internet speed

The business world has changed a lot since March 2020. When companies shuttered their doors and asked employees to work from home, the biggest consideration was how to keep everyone connected.

The rapid adoption of cloud apps and services was necessary to keep everyone working, but employees largely relied on their home Internet options to stay connected.

Now, in late 2021, companies are looking forward to opening offices and welcoming employees back. But in an environment where everyone uses cloud apps and many employees work in a hybrid model, many companies are asking, “What Internet speed does my business need?”

The answer? It depends.

Assessing business Internet needs isn’t as simple as just ordering high-speed Internet for your office. To keep your business up and running at all times, consider several factors that may affect Internet performance:

  1. Number of devices. The more devices you have on a connection, the more bandwidth you will need to ensure prompt delivery of data. And if your company allows a “bring your own device” policy, it’s possible to have as many as two or three times the devices as you have employees in the office.
  2. Age of devices. If your routers and internal network devices are older, they may be limited in how quickly they can process data. Consider updating older routers and firewalls as you welcome employees back to the office.
  3. Type of connection. DSL, cable, fiber optics—it can be tough to wade through promises of blazing fast speeds to know what will really serve your needs best. If you determine that you need higher bandwidth and speed, fiber optics is the best option.
  4. Data usage. It can be useful to look back at your previous usage when the office was full to get an idea of how much data you need. Assume you will need at least that much or more if you are now more reliant on cloud apps and services. And if you have to regularly transfer large files or hold regular online conferencing sessions, you’ll have a higher bandwidth need.
  5. Data caps. Also be aware that some providers of broadband use data caps (Allstream does not). When the cap is exceeded, those providers “throttle” the connection or charge fees for overage. For the average user, data caps aren’t an issue, but if your office regularly transfers large amounts of data or holds video calls, check to see if you might risk hitting a data cap.
  6. Shared connections. If you’re using public Internet services, you’re likely sharing bandwidth availability and speed with other users in your building or down the street. Using a shared connection can impact your speed and business continuity, making it tough to access your business-critical cloud apps and services when you need them. A dedicated connection can guarantee that you get the bandwidth and speed you pay for—when you need it—while also allowing you to easily add other services, such as voice.
  7. Connection security. Security is often overlooked when it comes to Internet connectivity, but having a connection that’s not only dedicated to you but also protected from Internet threats with the use of a firewall can keep your business secure and reduce the risk of data breaches.

For most users with a small number of devices and average data usage, a lower speed (50-100 Mbps) may be sufficient. For offices with more than 10 users or 30 devices, a range of 200 Mbps to 1 Gbps will be better. Above 100 users and 250 devices, bandwidth should be above 1 Gbps to offer a quality experience.

Users Devices Recommended Bandwidth
< 10 < 30 50-100 Mbps
10-100 30-250 200 Mbps – 1 Gbps
> 100 > 250 Above 1 Gbps

 

Of course, these are broad guidelines, and an office with fewer users and devices may still require higher bandwidth than some larger offices, depending on specific needs. If you notice that your Internet is slower during “peak” hours, such as first thing in the morning or right after lunch, you may be sharing a broadband connection with multiple other businesses. A dedicated connection can help guarantee consistent upload and download speeds.

Spending a few minutes to really assess your past and future Internet access needs with an Allstream professional can help you determine the right bandwidth and speed for maximum Internet performance. If you need dedicated access, Allstream can help. Contact us to learn more.

Image: nadla/iStock

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