When it comes to Internet speed, we all have a little Top Gun in us, but when you “feel the need – the need for speed” how much does your business really need?
The COVID-19 pandemic, which forced many businesses to operate remotely since March, has put the focus on Internet speed.
Even before Zoom meetings replaced face-to-face sit-downs, a lack of bandwidth could be a deal-breaker for your business in the age of big data and cloud.
Telling Your Bits from Your Bytes
For starters, it helps to know your bits from your bytes.
Information moves over the Internet in units of electronic data. A bit is the most basic unit. When eight bits are combined in as series, they form one byte.
So, a megabyte is one million bytes and eight times larger than a megabit.
Information on the Internet flows in two directions, with download speeds measuring how fast data moves to your connected devices and upload speeds measuring data sent from your devices.
Upload speeds become more important in a business setting where large files need to be shared, cloud computing conducted, or video conferencing streamed.
Bandwidth vs. Internet Speed
Internet speed is how fast those bytes can be sent. Bandwidth is the capacity of your Internet connection to handle that transfer.
In terms of water flow, Internet speed is the water pressure and bandwidth is the delivery device.
A smaller bandwidth, say a garden hose, is going to take longer to send a set volume of water than a fire hose, no matter what the pressure is.
How fast information moves on the Internet is measured usually in megabits (Mbps).
A 10 Mbps bandwidth is measured by full capacity so if you have two users downloading at the same time, their download speeds are cut in half to 5 Mbps.
Today, thanks to the use of fiber-optic technology, business users can achieve Internet speeds measured in gigabits.
You also might see the terms latency and hops and just know that lower latency and fewer hops is better.
Latency is the time it takes for a signal to travel from your connected device to your ISP and back. Each hop represents a mechanical device, such as a router, that the signal must pass through on its journey and each device it encounters slows down the travel time.
Fewer hops then equals lower latency and that is better for your Internet Speed.
Your Business Speed Need: Users x Devices
Every business has its own unique appetite for Internet speed depending on how many users are on the network, how many devices they are connecting, and what type of applications they are running.
In the first quarter of 2017, according to Statista, the average Internet connection speed was 18.75 Mbps and that number is climbing each year as newer devices and software upgrades require more bandwidth.
Technology updates and data backups are often overlooked when determining bandwidth need. Computer World points out that in 2014, Apple almost “broke the Internet” when it released the iOS 8 upgrade at a whopping 2+ GB.
The difference in your Internet speed need will run the range from a mom-and-pop operation with less than five employees to a large company with a fully staffed call center.
Determine how many users you have, keeping in mind future growth, and how many devices are connected.
You can diagram a chart for your company usage that might look like:
- 25 Mbps: up to 5 users with basic business communications
- 150 Mbps: up to 15 users with cloud computing, video conferencing
- 500 Mbps: up to 30 users with multiple servers, full-time cloud computing
- 1 Gbps: more than 30 users with extreme speed need for enterprise-ready offices.
Another method is to take the number of users and devices and multiple to get your bandwidth need in Mbps such that 50 users on 5 devices would equal 250 Mbps.
If you are in the Greater Houston Metropolitan Area and want to learn how PS LIGHTWAVE provides customers with faster connections up to 40 Gbps with its all-fiber, privately owned network infrastructure, we invite you to contact us today.
PS LIGHTWAVE provides high-speed, fiber Internet for public and private commercial entities in the Greater Houston and surrounding areas.
Through our high-quality infrastructure, innovative technology and expert, locally based support, we deliver not only the best in connectivity and reliability but in scalability and redundancy. We invite you to learn more about our services, our history and our dedicated team.