How Much Bandwidth Does Your Business Need?

How Much Bandwidth Does Your Business Need?

When you own a business, secure, reliable internet is essential. From email and cloud-based storage access to collaborative tools and marketing or selling your products and services, everyone on your team relies on high-quality business internet. And while strong internet security and reliability are paramount, so too is speed. That's why it's important to understand how much bandwidth your business needs.

Read on to learn what you need to know about bandwidth and how to understand your business's requirements. 

What Is Bandwidth?

Although internet speed and bandwidth are often used interchangeably, they're not exactly the same thing. Bandwidth is the capacity of your internet connection to transmit data. The more data the connection can transmit at any given time, the faster your internet speed will be.

Think of it like a water pipeline: The larger the pipeline is, the more water can flow through it at any time. You can measure the water flowing through the pipe in gallons per second. Similarly, you can measure the amount of data transmitted over your business internet connection in bits per second (BTS).

What would you do if you needed to move more water faster from one place to another? You'd install a bigger pipeline.

The same idea applies to your business internet: When you need to transmit more data faster, you upgrade your bandwidth.

Factors That Can Affect Your Bandwidth

When you order a specific amount of bandwidth from a DSL or broadband business internet provider, that doesn't always guarantee your connection will transmit data at the rate you order.

Why? The size of your pipeline — the amount of bandwidth you have — is just one factor that affects data transmission and, consequently, the speed of your connection.

Just like a minor clog in a water pipe will slow down water flow, a few things can also slow down data flow over your business internet connection.

Some of those factors include:

●        Nearby competition for resources

●        Logistics

●        Bottlenecks in the network

Nearby Competition for Resources

If you've subscribed to a "best-effort" business internet service, you might find your connection suffering from something called noisy neighbor syndrome.

That's because this type of service forces you to share your connection with nearby clients. If those clients have high data transfer needs and end up hogging more of your provider's resources in the area, you'll end up getting less.

Ultimately, the speed of your business internet dwindles.


Bandwidth will suffer if your network can't support the number of users on it or the amount of data they're asking it to handle.

Outdated equipment may also be incapable of handling the amount of data you need to transmit over the network. Malware and viruses can also slow down the performance of your business internet.

Frequent outages, excessive wait time for data transfers, and reduced business productivity can result. 

Bottlenecks in the Network

If your network path links with another business's older, less robust connection, your data transmission can slow down. Depending on the age of the other network, it may not be able to handle the same amount of bandwidth that your business internet can.

Ultimately, your bandwidth may only be as good as the weakest link in the network path.

One way to ensure you get the amount of bandwidth, and therefore, speed, that you order is to sign on for fiber internet with a service level agreement (SLA).

An SLA from a reliable business internet provider outlines the expected performance parameters of the service and guarantees up to 99.9% of the speed you order. 

Calculating Business Internet Bandwidth Needs

When you consult a business internet provider regarding your bandwidth requirements, you'll get expert insight and advice based on your business's unique needs. That said, getting a rough idea of what you need before shopping around for providers is never a bad idea.

To estimate the amount of bandwidth your business internet connection should have, you'll first need to consider how much back-and-forth data transfer your business performs regularly. If you need to network multiple locations together because they routinely share data, you'll have to consider that, too.

Here are some other considerations to think about.

Whether You Host Your Own Website

The bandwidth will determine how your website performs, so do your best to determine the amount of content you're hosting and the size of your website's files, and this will give you a better indication of what you need.

How Much Cloud Computing You Do 

Cloud computing involves a network of remote servers hosted on the internet for enhanced storage and easier information management, and the more this is utilized, the more bandwidth is freed up for other tasks.

The Amount of Traffic Your Business Website(s)

Page views and visitors that come to your website will consume higher bandwidth than sites with fewer. Determining your level of traffic is another way to help you decide how much bandwidth your business needs.

If You Handle Online Transactions

Online transactions can be anything from shopping to transferring money and paying bills, and each one demands a certain amount to maintain accessibility and consistency.

How Frequently You Use Video Conferencing or Other Collaborative Tools

While video conferencing and collaborative tools don't use a ton of extra bandwidth, having other video calls going on simultaneously with a large number of outside parties can lead to low frequency if you don't have the right set-up.

How Many Users Are Typically On the Network at Any Given Time

The rule of thumb is that once the business hits around 70% utilization, there will be a slowdown, and peak times can affect this.

To prevent needing to filter content and needing increased monitoring, doing a simple bandwidth increase can deter this.

Whether Your Business Uses a Cloud-Based Phone System or May Upgrade to One in the Future

VOIPs and cloud-based phone systems don't require a lot of extra bandwidth, but they need a stable and reliable connection. On average, each VoIP call will require around 100K BPS of bandwidth, so take this into consideration to avoid low latency and consistent connection.

If the above factors apply to your business, they can significantly bump up your bandwidth requirements.

Here's a rough approximation of your needs based on how you and your staff regularly use your business internet:

●        Low: (25 Mbps or less). Few users, connected computers, VoIP phones, E-fax machines; internet use is primarily for web research and emails

●        Medium: (50-100 Mbps). Few users, intensive web research, browsing, emailing, streaming, large file downloads

●        High: (100-200 Mbps). Multiple users, lots of emails, downloads, and regular use of cloud-based software and platforms

●        Extreme: (200-500+ Mbps). Several users, large data transfers, constant data flow between business locations, regular HD video conferencing, etc.

Keep in mind the above estimations only serve as a basic guide!

To determine how much bandwidth your business requires to maintain optimal efficiency and productivity, it's in your best interest to consult a high-quality business internet provider.

Looking for a Business Internet Provider? Get a Free Quote Today

If you're in the market for a new business internet provider, get in touch with our team at Lighthouse Technology Solutions! We'll analyze your existing service, help you determine your bandwidth needs, and ensure you get the fastest, most reliable business internet for your budget.

Whether you're considering fiber, broadband, WiFi, or DSL, we've got you covered. We can also help you find various other cost-effective business technology solutions to meet your needs. 

To get started or learn more about how we can help, give us a call at 612-345-9177 or request a free quote today. You can also send us a message with any questions or concerns, and we'll be in touch.

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