Find out if your small business needs to strike up the bandwidth.
Slow business Internet speed can sneak up on you slowly. Maybe you’re seeing the progress bar a little longer during downloads. Maybe it takes a few extra seconds for web pages to load. Maybe your videoconferences are getting more glitchy (or is it glitchier?). At home, a sluggish Internet is an annoyance and a reminder to (maybe) go outside for a change. At work, it’s a real liability. It means dissatisfied workers or customers. It means decreased productivity. And it means increased bad jokes from Nick in payroll, like last week’s offering: “If this connection was any slower, it would be going backwards.” (We warned you they were bad.)
Simply put, the Internet is a big part of small business, and it’s vital that you provide sufficient bandwidth to accommodate your employees/customers and all that data moving around. At the same time, you don’t want to overspend on unnecessary bandwidth coverage. So how do you calculate exactly how much you need? Let’s start by answering some simple questions:
Do you even know what your current Internet plan is?
This may seem like a silly question, but many small businesses don’t keep track of what Internet plan they’re on and don’t think about upgrading their package even as their business grows in size. That might be why your connection is so slow, it takes it two hours to watch “60 Minutes.” (Copyright Nick, last Tuesday.) Contact your ISP today and find out what your current plan is.
Have you run a speed test?
Sometimes your Internet is slow because of your plan. Sometimes old hardware or interference from other wireless signals can be an issue. You can get a report using an Internet speed-testing service like Internet Health Test or Speedtest.net. If their numbers match your plan numbers, then your network is working fine. Now you just have to determine if it’s fast enough for your current needs. (And, P.S., if their numbers are way off, there may be a hardware, connection or subscription issue. Let your ISP know.)
How many devices are you accommodating?
Are you a small company with just a few employees or do you have a larger team? Are your workers all on-site, or do some of them connect remotely to your office? Do you have a Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policy in place? The more devices there are, the more network lag you may experience. So don’t just look at the number of staff members you have. Count all the tablets, laptops and smart phones that are in play.
What are your employees using the Internet for?
If your staff is just using your network for emailing, web browsing and occasionally downloading files you’re probably fine with lower speeds. If your business constantly sends and receives large file sizes, operates VPN security software or does a lot of video conferencing, you’ll need a more robust connection.
What’s your growth plan?
Thinking of hiring more employees or expanding your business to other locations? Looking to add new, more sophisticated network applications or a hosted voice solution? Your growth projections will directly affect your Internet needs; you want to make sure you have the bandwidth to cover the future goals of your company.
What is a good Internet speed for you? Event marketing agency PSAV offers a simple-to-use bandwidth calculator. Or you can just contact us. We’ve created a variety of packages to address your needs (use our Internet speed cheat sheet as a reference) and we’re here to answer any questions you may have.