Every business is finding they need more and more bandwidth to run the systems they use every day from making phone calls to tracking transactions or just connecting to vendor websites. Internet availability has increased dramatically and so have the options for connecting to it. For many small businesses it wasn't long ago that you only had DSL or wireless available and the speeds were fairly limited. Today there are many options and fiber (the premier transport solution) has become available in many areas at a much more reasonable price than it used to be.
How much bandwidth do you need?
There is no hard and fast rule but consider what uses bandwidth in a typical small business...
1. On average most employees will use 2-3 bandwidth hungry devices each, Cell phone and at least one company PC and phone sometimes more.
2. Most companies are using cloud based software to run and track their business transactions and that can use as much as 1mbps per user sometimes more.
3. Web browsing eats up 2mbps per user
4. Streaming audio and or video eats up another 5mbps per user.
5. Email and instant messaging uses another 1mbps per user.
6. Web hosting and E-commerce can use as much as 500mbps
7. Data sharing 4mbps per user.
8. Voice and Fax over IP takes up on average 1Mbps for 10 simultaneous calls
It doesn't take long to realize that 10mb or 25mb broadband that we are accustomed to getting by with at a small business doesn't really cut it anymore. Sure a satellite office with a few phones and a couple computers can get by but for consistent connectivity, and to get rid of the constant complaints and problems I recommend not to settle for lets and 40-50 dedicated bandwidth. Fiber is much more prominent these days and even though it might not have been available as early as 2 years ago its worth checking again. The telcos are changing to a more application based offering and transport is getting cheap.
We like to say "You can't build the business of tomorrow on the network of (and in this case the bandwidth of ) yesterday."
Sizing your Internet correctly can save you time, headaches and money. Do an accurate assessment of your bandwidth requirements. Make sure to add a cushion to the number you come up with and purchase bandwidth according to that measurement including the cushion. Lastly set a reminder to do regular bandwidth re-assessments once a year.