Tips to Make Sure Your Business Internet Can Support Peak Usage

Nov 21, 2022, 00:00 AM by Maddison Sharp
There are ebbs and flows in business. Learn to handle the data peaks in stride.

Business is done in ebbs and flows – there are fluctuations year-to-year, month-to-month, and day-to-day. You know that you can handle it when things get busy, but can your technology? A sudden jump in traffic, if your Internet and WiFi network isn’t equipped to handle it, can make for bottlenecks, slow speeds, and possibly impact productivity.

Demands on business Internet and WiFi networks are growing by the year. There are more and more company owned connected devices on the network, and employees and customers bring personal devices as well, all of which are consuming bandwidth. The proliferation of IoT devices at businesses of all sizes adds further strain, and many connected devices are running several apps simultaneously, transmitting more and more data. The shift to cloud applications and video conferencing, particularly to support virtual collaboration and services, also adds more traffic to the network. More devices running more applications means more data and more data demand.

So, what can you do about it? There are a number of simple tips for smart data usage, as well as considerations for evaluating Internet service providers:

Evaluate Current Bandwidth Needs and Performance

Download speed is a measure of how quickly your device gets data from the Internet, expressed in megabits per second or Mbps. Upload speed is a measure of how quickly your device sends data back up to the Internet, also in Mbps. When was the last time you increased your Internet speeds? How many devices have you added to your network since?

Your current Internet speeds might not match your current demand, and you may need increased speeds. You can also better understand your bandwidth needs by checking usage reports that most providers make available through your account online to identify peak usage times and consider related business activities.

Now run a speed test during peak hours to see if you are encountering any slowdowns. Some common factors that can affect results of a speed test include:

  • Connection type. WiFi is slower than a wired connection. Using an Ethernet cable to connect your laptop or desktop can increase your speeds.
  • WiFi equipment placement. Put your gateway or wireless router in a central location, out in the open. Avoid file cabinets, closets, and spots that may get covered by clothing or equipment, for instance.
  • Device limitations. Maximum WiFi speeds could be limited by factors such as number of devices on your network, your device's age, limitations, and model.
  • Older versions. For the best results, make sure Internet browsers and operating systems are the most recent versions. Also check that you have an up-to-date modem.
  • Open programs. Close apps and programs that use a lot of data as well as any downloads in progress that may impact results.

Get download and upload speeds to suit your business

Now evaluate whether the internet package you have is adequate for the demands of your business.

There’s a wide range of Internet speeds available. If you just have a couple of employees doing light work, you might only need 50 Mbps service. While with a headcount of up to five, you may need to double that speed to 100 Mbps. On the other side of things, if you run a call center with 40 people on Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) and laptops simultaneously, you’ll want to be closer to 1.25 Gig-speed Internet, which allows you to run multiple cloud-based apps and services and get faster simultaneous large file downloads.

If you have particularly data-hungry applications or data demands that go far above the demands of a typical business, consider ethernet dedicated Internet, with expandable capacity and symmetrical upload and download speeds.

Set up separate guest networks

If you run a business with customers onsite, set up separate guest WiFi networks for employees and guests. It not only keeps your internal WiFi running separate from your guest WiFi, it’s also safer. Guest WiFi logins also open new doors for marketing through splash pages and special offers.

Monitor and manage your data usage

When configuring private and guest WiFi networks, take advantage of bandwidth limits to reduce strain on the network and prevent bottlenecks. If you do opt to set bandwidth limits, start with guest networks, if applicable, to reserve bandwidth for private WiFi. You don’t want to stop customers from being able to work or stream videos, but you wouldn’t want customers competing for bandwidth with large downloads or high-bandwidth services.

Make sure you have customer support, day and night

The fastest Internet speeds won’t matter if you run into a problem and don’t have the support to fix it. Do some research and read reviews to see what level of customer support your provider offers. Make sure you have the support you need, when you need it—around the clock.

Of course, you won’t know you need support if you don’t know there’s an issue. You should be able to check your connection status from anywhere. Even better, some providers are able to provide real-time updates on outages at your location via text message notifications or to troubleshoot your internet remotely through a mobile app.

Avoid data caps

You may need an Internet plan that does not set a limit on the amounts of data you can download or upload. Even with the fastest Internet speeds available, hitting monthly data caps leaves can impact your business.

With the right speed, appropriately segmented networks, unlimited data, and always-on support, small business owners can push the limits of productivity. For more information on selecting the right Business Internet for your business, visit Comcast Business.

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