Knowing When You Need to Upgrade

It’s Not a Matter of If But When

The internet enables powerful business applications, provides a wealth of information, connects you to a worldwide market – and improves communications with customers, co-workers and suppliers.

For those reasons and more, it makes sense to employ the fastest internet connection that adds to your bottom line. While an economical internet connection can lower your expenses, it can cost you a lot more in workplace inefficiency, wasted time, poor connectivity and lost opportunity. On the other hand, you don’t want to waste money on expensive internet speeds that you just don’t need or cannot use.

When Do You Need More Speed?

So, how do you know when it’s time to upgrade your current internet speed?

You could simply wait for complaints. When your staff starts to complain about slow downloads and uploads, buffering, email glitches, timed out online programs and error messages, you know you need more speed. Of course, by that time, your business may have already lost significant productivity and profit.

The better option is foresight. Along with your regular business planning, you should try to anticipate your internet usage. To do this, you need a good understanding of your current internet use. There are programs available (some of them free) that can monitor and report your actual internet usage. You can also buy high-end routers that will track bandwidth consumption by network device. Yet another option is to estimate your internet speed usage based on typical speed requirements of internet activities (see chart below).

How to Estimate Your Speed Needs

To estimate your current internet speed requirement during peak usage, refer to the chart below and follow these steps:

  1. Consider a time when your business makes the most use of the internet.
  2. List all the internet activities that might occur simultaneously at that time.
  3. Multiply the speed required for each activity by the number of employees doing that activity at that time.  (For example, Basic Web Browsing requires 1 Mbps. So, four employees would require 4 Mbps.)
  4. Add all the bandwidth requirements for that time of peak usage.


Basic Web Browsing:   1
Email and Instant Messaging:   1
Social Media:   1
Streaming Online Radio:   1
VoIP Calls (Voice over Internet Protocol):   3
Data Sharing:   4
Online Gaming:   4
Video Conferencing:   4
Video Conferencing (HD):   6
Media Sharing:   10
File Downloading:   10
File Downloading (Large):   50
Streaming Video:   4
Streaming Video (HD):   8
Streaming Video (Ultra HD 4K):   25
Cloud Computing:   2
Cloud Storage:   25
Telecommuting   8
Web Hosting and eCommerce:   500


If the total speed required for a peak-usage period adds up to more bandwidth than your current internet plan provides, or is close to your limit, you should probably upgrade your plan.

Even if you only experience an occasional slow period now, the number of slow internet periods is likely to increase. As your business grows, so will your use of the internet.

Factor in The Future

When anticipating your future needs, consider how your business may evolve to require more internet speed. Your business may add more employees. Your employees may send and receive larger files, join video conferences, or access more cloud-based applications. Your employees may start working from home or use more tablets and smartphones. Your business may require more frequent off-site data back-up.

To handle all those activities, and take advantage of emerging internet tools and technology, you will need greater speed. It’s not a matter of if you will need to upgrade, it’s just a matter of when.

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