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How much Bandwidth is enough?

Kyle Keith By Kyle Keith on 9/1/16 2:40 PM

Have you ever tried drinking a milkshake through a coffee straw?  It’s nearly impossible. What if you had a Chocolate_Milkshake_with_coffee_straw.jpg
normal straw, or even a giant straw that is two, three or four times the size of the normal straw?  The milkshake would flow easily so you could consume that sugary treat much more efficiently.

The straw analogy relates perfectly to the way your business consumes data. If your company’s straw is too small, it may be holding you back. Let me explain how.

As the business climate changes and technology advances, we are seeing more and more software applications and hardware solutions being converted to the cloud.  Based on several studies, cloud usage increased 20%-30% from 2015 to 2016, depending on which study you read.  (I’ll say the answer is probably somewhere in the middle of those two numbers.)  With this increase comes the question of how much bandwidth you need to keep up with the demands of transferring data to and from the cloud.  Before we get started in answering this question, let me explain what bandwidth really means.

If you read Newton’s Telecom Dictionary, the definition of bandwidth is, “the width of a communication channel” with a lot of other big telecom words that most people don’t understand.   My definition of bandwidth would be a pipe – or a big straw – in which you can send and receive the maximum amount of data at any given moment.  So how much is enough?  Good question. 

Imagine the bandwidth at your business being the coffee straw/milkshake analogy.  How much more efficient would your business run with a bigger straw?  How much faster could you get information to your employees?  How much faster could you get quotes to your customers?  And most important of all, how much better could the customer experience be? 

Do you know how much bandwidth you’re using?  If you’re not sure, you can start by monitoring your internet connection.  There are several online tools you can use to measure your bandwidth.  Check out BitMeter OS, FreeMeter  Bandwidth Monitor or Bandwidth D to figure out how much bandwidth you’re using and to what capacity. This will give you a baseline. 

Nielsen’s Law of Internet Bandwidth  states that internet usages doubles, if not more, every 12 months.  If you are using 100Mbps (Megabytes per second) now, you will most likely need 200Mbps next year.   You should always plan for growth! 

Remember, do you really want to run your business through a coffee straw?
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