Calculating your company’s bandwidth needs is especially challenging in today’s environment, and getting it right may be critical to your company’s success. Here are 5 steps to help you meet your needs.
- Review current bandwidth usage and current carrier contract(s). To start with, it’s important to understand how your company is currently using its bandwidth, on both an aggregate basis, but especially peak usage. There are many tools, both paid and free, that enable sophisticated monitoring, and this should be the first step to understanding your bandwidth needs. Then, get the details of your current contracts from your carries. You will need to know how much longer your contracts extend and what, if any, termination charges you are liable for if your change carriers. Team One Solutions can provide some effective advice in this area.
- Assess technology policies. Once you have reviewed your company’s baseline bandwidth usage, it is important to understand what your company’s technology policies are, and how they impact usage. Do you have essentially no controls, with users being able to upload and download as much as they want? If so, is this policy costing your company substantial bandwidth, eventually increasing costs? Or are you at the other end of the spectrum, where usage is actively monitored and throttled? If so, is this “command and control” model slowing down important employee and client communications, resulting in missed opportunities?
- Understand longer term plans. It’s no secret or surprise that the technology environment is changing rapidly. What is your company’s plan for the next 6-36 months, and how will that plan affect the demand for bandwidth? For example, is your company moving applications, such as email, to the cloud? Is marketing planning on using more video in its campaigns that would require more bandwidth? Is the company planning on using more video conferencing or webinars? Is the company planning on adding more physical locations? What about home workers? Is the company encouraging the use of smartphones and tablets at work that are going to use up additional bandwidth?
- Review changing applications. Applications that may affect bandwidth usage include migrating applications to the cloud, such as Office 365, extensive use of Dropbox or other hosted storage applications, credit card processing, document transfers, especially large files such as images, implementation of CRM or ERP systems in the cloud, the use of streaming media, such as Pandora or YouTube, which may be used for either personal consumption at work or for customer access, and of course, implementation or growth of Voice over IP applications. In addition, is the company planning on adding more or faster wireless for its customers, vendors, or employees? What about video surveillance? What about the deployment of mobile and/or home workers? It is critically important to estimate how these various initiatives affect demand for bandwidth.
- Assess carrier choices. It is a clear trend that more and more bandwidth is being demanded by today’s workers. The good news is that overall, bandwidth pricing is mostly coming down, at least on a per unit basis, and there are more choices than ever. In the past, perhaps the only choice was a DSL line, but now there are a whole range of choices from cable, to fixed wireless, T1, bonded T1s, ethernet over copper or fiber, DS3, PRI’s and SIP trunks for voice, and so on. The challenge for many small to medium sized businesses is understanding which choices best meet the immediate and longer-term needs of the company. There are now dozens of companies out there providing bandwidth services, all with different pricing, contract terms ranging from month-to-month to 3 years, and different quality of service and Service Level Agreements.
Team One Solutions, as a comprehensive voice and data solutions provider, can help your company assess its current and future needs, and help you discover and implement the available solutions. Let us help you negotiate the best contract with the carrier(s) that best meet your bandwidth needs. Call us today to get started.
Watch the 5 Steps to calculate how much bandwidth your company needs video: