Determining Bandwidth Needs in your Business Network

 
Think about all of the devices that use the internet in your business. Printers, VoIP phones, smart phones, computers and many other devices each require an internet connection, but how much bandwidth does a business need all together? Although it can be a bit overwhelming to figure out, taking the time to break down network needs can make it much easier to conceptualize. Use the steps below to calculate your network bandwidth requirements in order to avoid frustratingly slow internet speeds that zap away your business’s productivity.
 
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To get started, figure out your bandwidth needs during a typical “peak” usage period - the time of day when the most internet-connected devices are being used concurrently. This will construct an image of the business during its most bandwidth-stressful time. Use the below categories to organize the devices.
 
Low – 100 Kbps or under
VoIP phones and e-fax machines are the most common devices that fall within this category. Computers and laptops used for simple web surfing and emailing should be included here as well. 
 
Medium – 100-500 Kbps
These are devices used for more intensive web browsing, downloading, streaming, and emailing. Most of your laptops and computers will fall within this category in a typical business.
 
High – 500Kbps – 2.0Mbps
Devices that typically utilize cloud-based software and platforms to download and upload data throughout the day fall into the lower end of this category. Devices using SD video conferencing will be on the higher end. Point of Sale, Enterprise Resource Planning, and Customer Resource Management platforms can typically tax a device’s bandwidth up to this range while in use.
 
Intensive – 2.0Mbps+
HD video conferencing platforms and devices are what primarily fall into this range.
 
Calculate the typical peak bandwidth usage for the business by associating a bandwidth to each device based on the category they are in. For quicker calculation, use the below category of bandwidths.
 
Low – 100 Kbps
Medium – 250 Kbps
High – 1.5Mbps
Intensive – 2.5 Mbps
 
Once you have done this, add up the total bandwidth and you’ll have a good idea of what a company’s needs are during their peak operational time. Knowing the bandwidth usage within a business will help when creating a VoIP, WiFi, and business conferencing solution that supports its operations. With this, you can create solutions that ensure crisp video calls, delay-free audio, speedy downloads, and most importantly, flawless collaboration.
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Interested in an example? Take a look at my sample 30 user deployment in a typical B2B business during its peak times.
 
Low – 1.8Mbps Total
8 – VoIP phones being used
10 – Laptop or computer devices lightly browsing the web
Medium – 2.5Mbps Total
8 – Laptops or computers actively downloading files
2 – Personal smart phones or devices streaming music
High - 3.0 Mbps Total
1 – Computer actively pulling data from an ERP and CRM to directly assist a customer.
1 – Computer using SD video conferencing.
Intensive – 2.5 Mbps Total
1 – A video conferencing device being used to HD video conference with perspective clients
Approximate Peak Bandwidth – 9.8 Mbps

Topics: Business, Networking