If your business is like a lot of businesses, you probably signed up for what seemed like a decent amount of Internet bandwidth from your provider a few months or years ago. It was “25/5” or “50/10” or something similar. And it’s possible that bandwidth was sufficient, at least at the outset. But today, it’s worth thinking about a little more carefully when it comes to bandwidth, because we’re faced with a two-part bandwidth challenge in most modern offices.
Bandwidth Challenge #1: Productivity Software in the Cloud
The first part of the problem is that the need for bandwidth is increasing at a rate that we weren’t seeing just a few years ago, because so many more devices (and the employees who bring and use them) are now Internet-connected.
Let’s think about that for a second—obviously all of your PCs need Internet connections. But hasn’t the amount of Internet used by those PCs changed quite a bit in the past few years? How many applications are you now using “in the cloud” throughout your office. Not just e-mail, but full productivity suites. Creative suite software is cloud-based. Your project management system may be in the cloud, as well as your DropBox or a similar online repository of (sometimes very large) files.
Got a sales team? Your customer relationship management software is probably include the cloud; your marketing automation or sales-force automation software. Your accounting and invoicing may happen online now. Got an e-commerce dashboard? Online banking and credit card processing. And whatever business your in probably has an inventory or process management application that—not always, but often—has moved to the cloud.
How about teleconferencing? Are you meeting with remote workers or holding staff meetings online? Connecting with clients over video conference? Holding webinars for potential customers? You can see where we’re going with this.
Bandwidth Challenge #2: More Internet-connected Devices in the Office
So software is one thing. What about Internet-connected hardware? We mentioned the PCs. Are you phones using Voice over IP? (If not, give us a call immediately—if you can get an outside line. Maybe use your cell phone.) And those mobile phones—are all your employees switching over to WiFi in the office and then turning on their streaming music (and, yes, sometimes video) services?
Does your staff bring in laptops or tablets and run them next to their desktop machines? Are they running multiple devices—laptop plus tablet, etc.—in order to multitask or stay in touch in group chat on one device while working on the other?
Other “dumber” devices are all connecting to the Internet as well. Credit card terminals and point of sale systems have moved from phone lines to Internet connections; copiers, fax machines, scanners and other office tech are doing the same. Your break room refrigerator may have an Internet connection, much less the printer you’ve got set up for Google Cloud printing or for ordering its own supplies.
Bandwidth Challenge #3: Old Internet Technology and Infrastructure
So that’s the need for bandwidth; in most offices, it’s going through the roof. So what’s the second part of the problem? It’s this—there hasn’t really been a similar increase in the amount of bandwidth available from traditional providers such as phone and cable companies. Using their aging architecture, it’s possible to eek out maybe even double the bandwidth of 3-5 years ago—but it’s nothing like the step up to modern systems such as fiber-based Internet service.
Even if you had a “new” cable or DSL Internet connection installed in the past few years, take a look around your office. The stress and strain you’re devices are putting on that connection may well call for an exponential change—not an incremental one. Otherwise, the machines will revolt. (Hopefully not, but still. Why take a chance?)
If you’re using cable or DSL, then “next tier up” may not be enough to make a difference or justify the cost increase and the confines of a new contract. Get in touch with us and let’s see if fiber Internet can work for you. The productivity you encourage may be your own.
Considering a switch, download our cable vs. fiber comparison here and learn how much cable internet might actually be costing your business.