5 signs your business needs to boost bandwidth

Businesses are increasing broadband bandwidth to meet changing expectations. Bernard Mullen from Magnet+ outlines signs firms need to recognise to up their bandwidth game for customers and colleagues.

We’re currently living in a climate where being ‘online’ is essential for work purposes across multiple industries and sectors in Ireland. In a post-covid world, it’s now more important than ever for businesses to have strong and reliable connectivity they can depend on.

However, as more employees return to offices and communal working spaces, businesses are discovering issues with their connectivity, such as low video and voice quality, buffering, unusable applications or just overall poor internet speed.

“Poor connectivity can actually cost your business money”

These issues are causing businesses to question their current connectivity package – or provider – and re-evaluate their bandwidth and connectivity needs. In fact, at Magnet+ we have seen an increase in bandwidth usage from customers of almost 100% since January 2021.

Naturally, a portion of this increase can be attributed to new customers however, it is mainly due to businesses increasing their bandwidth to accommodate their new connectivity requirements.

The post-pandemic workplace

So, what are some of the main reasons a business might need to increase their bandwidth?

One key reason a business may need to potentially upgrade their current connectivity package is due to the increase in the daily use of video and voice applications. As many of us adapted to ‘working from home’ during Covid-19, we relied heavily on video calls to keep up to date with colleagues and clients. As we return to the office, we have brought this ‘new normal’ back with us and continue to conduct meetings via zoom or teams on a daily basis in the interest of time and efficiency. Naturally, a high-volume usage of these applications requires a higher bandwidth than the business standard to ensure video and voice applications work seamlessly and without any glitches.

The second reason a business may also need to increase their bandwidth is to accommodate the increasing demand on network resources. Depending on the number of users and type of information your business requires, this can create a strain on bandwidth. For many small businesses, daily tasks such as basic email use and web surfing require small amounts of information and use approx. 2Mbps. However, if you have a bigger team and work with large files on a daily basis, naturally, you will require more data. For example, industries such as gaming or film that work with video editing tools and other types of large files will require a significantly higher bandwidth to prevent buffering and ensure continuous connectivity.

A third reason is the rise in popularity of cloud computing. Businesses are increasingly relying on the use of cloud tools and other back-up services to safely store their company data. On many devices, these services are often automatically enabled and could be running quietly in the background, however, it’s important to be aware that these services require a significant amount of bandwidth as backup cloud services must be online at all times in order to safely store data.

Lastly, the use of artificial intelligence, which is advancing rapidly in a range of businesses, involves computers working in a way that stimulates, mimics or augments human intelligence. This type of technology can require massive network bandwidth, which has a knock-on effect on the efficiency of your overall connectivity as it can create slow traffic and congestion for other programs and applications. Businesses that are considering implementing AI tools need to be aware of how it will impact their connectivity and ensure they have sufficient bandwidth before they implement this particular type of technology.

Signs you need more bandwidth

So, what are the five main signs that your business may need more bandwidth?

  1. Firstly, you might start experiencing lower employee productivity or motivation. This can often be a result of a poor internet or server connection. This is particularly evident in large businesses with a hybrid work model in place. As employees come online throughout the day, both at home and in the office, a strain is placed on the network. Slow connectivity can be extremely frustrating for employees, therefore, if you do notice that activity outputs are low, it’s likely that this could be due to slow internet connectivity or increased contention.
  2. Secondly, if you are planning on expanding your business or growing your team, your business internet usage will significantly increase. Similarly, if you are undergoing a merger or acquisition, this will change day-to-day business operations which will in turn impact your connectivity. It is important for business owners to be aware of this to ensure they are prepared in advance and have sufficient bandwidth to provide steady connectivity at all times during the transition.
  3. The third thing to consider is email. Has your email server ever appeared to be working from the outside – emails are sending, broadband is working fine, but when you refresh your inbox, it takes a few minutes for incoming emails to appear? If your network is having a hard time retrieving emails with attachments, especially during busy work hours when a number of employees are online, it’s a good indicator that your bandwidth has reached its peak and needs to be increased.
  4. Adding new devices such as computers or point of sale platforms to your network can often cause the internet to slow down, with glitches occurring, especially if they are constantly connected. To operate as successfully and efficiently as possible, you need to reevaluate your connectivity to ensure it meets your new business requirements.
  5. Have you moved to a new office space and finding that your connectivity is not up to scratch? Bear in mind that walls and large furniture can reduce signal strength when using Wi-Fi in a new office space. You might also experience a stronger and weaker internet connection in certain areas of the office – this is a sign you need to improve your connectivity. A higher bandwidth will avoid transmission delays or interruptions.

Next steps

If you are experiencing any of the above, you need to talk to your connectivity provider about your needs.

At Magnet+, we talk to new and current customers regularly about their internet usage and analyse their data needs so we can calculate a bandwidth level that will provide seamless and reliable connectivity.

With a significant increase in demand for increased bandwidth over the last 12 months, we are having more and more of these conversations every day.

Poor connectivity can actually cost your business money. Make sure you take the steps required so you can instead concentrate on your daily operations without worrying about IT issues and poor internet.

Bernard Mullen
Bernard Mullen is Director of Design & Network Solutions at Magnet+. He is a leader in Network Design and Management including pre- and post-Sales Consultancy specialising in Core network, multisite WAN deployments with security, MPLS, SD-WAN and product development. His expertise ranges from Technical Project Management of Customer roll outs, WAN upgrades to Voice integration. His specialties include Cisco Routers, firewalls (Cisco ASA, Fortigate, PaloAlto, Juniper, Checkpoint) and switches (incl. MPLS), 3Com NBX – IP Telephony, Adtran Routers incl. Telephony – certified ATSA/IPT , ATSP/UCAS , ATSP/UC, ATSP/vWLAN and Fortinet NSE1-3.