More is always better, right? The answer is not always straightforward. There is more to buying an internet connection than the advertised speed alone. Many factors affect the decision to pick an internet service provider. Bandwidth, latency, reliability, equipment, and cost are just a few examples of things to consider.
How Much Speed Do I Need?
To begin with, let us quantify how much bandwidth your activities consume on an internet connection. The average person needs about 6 Mbps for casual web browsing and writing emails which is not a huge number. Things start to escalate once large file downloads and uploads are required. For example, content creation companies that upload videos to YouTube can expect to need much more than 5Mbps on each user. To put things in perspective:
- Netflix recommends 25 Mbps to stream a single 4K video (Netflix, 2021).
- Microsoft recommends 4Mpbs for Teams meetings with sharing content (Microsoft, 2021).
Using these numbers, we can assume that the average user will need 10 Mbps for productivity and occasional standard video streaming. This means that using the national average internet speed of 100Mbps, we can accommodate up to 10 people comfortably.
What Connection Do I Need?
Now that we know how much internet bandwidth we will need, we have to decide on which type of connection to have. Coax cable, Satellite, and Fiberoptic cable are all mediums used to deliver internet connectivity depending on location and availability. Fiberoptic offers the best service overall. Fiberoptic connections are usually dedicated to a business, whereas a Coax cable connects all clients on a shared connection. Fiberoptics also provide the highest bandwidth possible, and they are not susceptible to electrical interference caused by the surrounding environment.
How About Service Continuity?
Latency or the speed at which you can access your service is something worth considering when purchasing software and internet. If you are trying to access services that are geographically far away or geopolitically separated, it will take longer to conduct business. Assume you are based in Massachusetts, and you are considering a new HR business application and moving to a new internet provider at the same time. One HR application has its servers in Denver, Colorado and the other is in Montreal, Canada. The best internet provider in this example might end up being the one that can get you to your preferred software company the quickest. Moreover, the internet provider's availability is also important. Internet lines need to be maintained occasionally. If one provider offers 99.9% availability while the other offers 99.99% availability a year that will be a factor depending on annual cost and how business-critical a service is. This issue is also why a backup internet line is recommended.
And How About Infrastructure?
Finally, existing network equipment and planned infrastructure upgrades are a consideration to make when shopping for the internet. Network equipment such as Firewalls, Routers, Switches, and Wireless Access points all have bandwidth limits. For example, if your network firewall is rated for a maximum bandwidth of 500 Mbps it would be wasteful to upgrade to a 1000Mbps internet line without upgrading the firewall. This issue is exacerbated when there are bottlenecks in the network too. People are limited by the speed of the slowest network device between them and the internet. Having a road map for upgrades ensures that all new IT investments are in sync with each other, which will save money and increase productivity.
If you would like to discuss further about internet speed, connection, service continuity infrastructure, and much more contact us today!
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