From the smallest mom and pop coffee shop to the most technically advanced international corporation, the internet has changed the way the world does business. Today, a reliable internet connection is just as important as common utilities like water and electricity. And yet, most businesses have little understanding of their actual internet usage or bandwidth requirements. Nor are there tools in place to determine why your internet is slow.
Let’s understand the basics first. What is bandwidth, how much do you need, and what does it mean when the network is slow?
Bandwidth is the amount of data that can be carried from one point to another in a given time period. The amount of bandwidth that you have, also known as internet speed, is measured in megabits per second (Mbps). Theoretically, if you have a 1 Mbps connection, it would take 8 seconds to transfer a 1 MB (megabyte) file.
Many factors determine a business’ bandwidth requirement. Number of simultaneous users is obviously a factor. But media streaming such as YouTube videos and music services, heavy use of cloud based tools, upload/download of large graphics files, and sharing the bandwidth with a VoIP phone system may also necessitate a faster internet connection.
All of those communications that go back and forth on your network are called traffic and too much traffic can result in a “slow” network and is called bandwidth saturation. Other reasons might be concurrent downloads, peer to peer resources, or maybe even a virus.
Regardless of the cause, having insight into your bandwidth use and needs is extremely helpful and allows preventative measures to be put in place to avoid downtime or “slow” time.
There are many ways of gaining insight into network traffic and most fit into two categories: traffic graphers and traffic analyzers.
Traffic graphers provide a visual reference into how much bandwidth is being used currently and historically. This allows you to find out if your slow Internet complaint is due to a saturated connection or a separate issue. You can see when your peak bandwidth loads take place and determine if you need to upgrade your bandwidth.
Traffic analyzers can provide insight into not only how much bandwidth you are using, but also what application or website it is and who is using it. You’d be surprised at what percentage of your bandwidth is used on social media and streaming media such as YouTube, Facebook, Pandora, Spotify, ESPN, etc. This information is important when implementing a feature called Quality of Service (QoS) to prioritize certain types of traffic. For instance, if you have a VoIP phone system across multiple branch offices, you may want to give voice traffic priority on the network. Some network analyzers can show you how effective your traffic prioritization is. In short, traffic analyzers allow you to collect data over time and find actionable patterns to which you can make changes.
Knowledge is power. The more you know about your network traffic the more you can understand why your network is slow and take measures to correct it. If you are interested in gaining insight into your network traffic, Revolution Group can help you implement the right product for your needs. We’re experienced with many different traffic graphers and analyzers. Call us today to learn more, 614-212-1111 or fill out form below.