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Getting the Right Amount of Bandwidth Can Open New Possibilities

Regardless of what you use it for, having the right amount of bandwidth to support your business’ needs is extremely important. Not only does it support enhanced productivity, collaboration, and business efficiency, it removes the bottlenecks that can stymie a business’ progress. Today, we will take a look at bandwidth, and tell you how to determine the bandwidth you need to support all of your business’ Internet-facing needs.

What is Bandwidth?

Before we get into how to determine how much bandwidth you need, we should iron out what bandwidth means. Bandwidth is not speed per se, it is the amount of data that can be transmitted at one time with the current connection that you have. Think about a straw. If you have a small straw, the speed in which the liquid flows is the same, but there is less room for liquid to flow through it, reducing the amount of liquid you get in a period of time. Bandwidth works the same way. It is mostly represented in megabits per second, or Mbps.

Calculating your projected download speed is fairly simple, as long as you keep in mind that there are eight bits for every byte. This means that, if you were trying to download eight megabytes of data on a one Mbps connection, it would take approximately 8 seconds. 512 megabytes would take over an hour to download, and a gigabyte (which is 1,000 megabytes) would take close to two-and-a-half hours.

How Do I Know What My Business Needs?

In order to accurately estimate your business’ required bandwidth, you’ll need to do a little math. First, you will need to determine the estimated traffic that each of your processes take up, as well as the total users that are likely to be engaged in that process. You will want to assume that this is during peak operations, so you don’t inadvertently get less bandwidth than you need. Naturally, the bandwidth required by different processes will vary, but the following is generally the case:

  • 100Kbps and Under – Most single-line VoIP phones and e-fax machines. Some basic-use computers and laptops may utilize under 100 Kbps, but in business that isn’t the case.
  • 100Kbps to 500Kbps – It is common for computers and laptops to fall within this range, as they are more often used for streaming and downloading, emailing, and more rigorous browsing.
  • 500Kbps to 2.0Mbps– If yours is like many businesses today and utilizes cloud solutions and video conferencing, you’re likely using this much bandwidth. This is also the bandwidth necessary for centralized management platforms such as Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) or Customer Relationship Management (CRM) platforms. Also, if your business uses a point-of-sale system, you will probably fall in this range.
  • Over 2.0Mbps and Up – This bandwidth is usually called for by a high-definition conferencing solution, a lot of remote access, heavy cloud access, and more.

Of course, with any technology, you will want to get a professional perspective to help you plan for your technology costs before you implement solutions to avoid the costs of continuously upgrading and to make sure not to put your business under more pressure. If you would like more information about Macatawa Technologies or our bandwidth consulting services, call our IT experts today at 616-394-4940.

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