Keeping Internet Bandwidth issues under control

slow internetInternet bandwidth has become a big issue with business. We get calls with complaints of slow internet speeds.  They justify their concerns by referring to a bandwidth test they performed at an internet site.

Most speed test work by giving you an upload and a download speed, which they calculate by sending sample binary files to your computer with instructions to send them back again.  Several things can impact the results of the test.

 

  1. Location: The tests involve sending and receiving information between your computer and the test giver’s server. Where that server is located will change the reading considerably – you’ll get a much faster reading if the server is in the same town or nearby than you would if it was the next state over.  Some servers even very close to you may give poor results because they are on another Internet Service Provider’s (ISP) network.  Your data may have to travel through multiple routers and networks to get to the destination even a block away.
  2. Time of Day: If there are more people online in your local area then it’s likely that will result in a slightly slower speed. Peak time Internet is not as fast as it would be at 3 a.m.
  3. What else you are doing online:  This can be the most important factor.  If individuals or software packages on you network are accessing the internet then a percentage of your bandwidth is already being used so you will never see the speed test result you expect.
    Say you have a 10 MB connection but between running applications and streaming music a constant 6 MB is being used.  In this example you should only expect to see around a 4MB download result.

Before spending money to increase your bandwidth try the following suggestions.  They may not only speed up your internet but make your staff more productive.

  • Insure a good antivirus software is installed on all computers and it is up to date.
  • Scan all computers for malware, many of these are constantly sending information to the internet.
  • Find out who is streaming audio or video and then determine if it is required for your business.
  • Implement content filtering to block applications and sites such as social media that may not be required for your business.
  • Develop an acceptable use policy for the business internet and computers and make sure all employees are provided a copy and are held accountable.

For a business the internet is like any other tool and should be used to increase productivity and profitability.  It is an expense and you want a return on your investment.  If you have business vehicles you most likely do not allow your employees to take them out for joy rides.  So why let them take your internet for a spin downloading music and movies or keeping up with friends on Facebook.

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