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Is Your Network’s Bandwidth Up To Speed?
2014-02-17 by  Adam Groff


If your office computers are running slower than cold molasses, then your bandwidth probably isn't up to speed.

Bandwidth speed affects just about every part of your company's computing efforts, so it's important to have the proper bandwidth for your online requirements.

From uploads to downloads and everywhere in between, here's some basic bandwidth knowledge to help get your network on the right track:


Download Speeds

Your network's download speed refers to the rate at which data is transferred to your computer.

Download speed is the most important part of your connection because most of the activities you perform online involve downloading things such as web pages, files, and in some cases, streaming content.

The lower the download speed, the slower your connection, which ultimately translates to decreased productivity in the workplace.

Download speeds generally range in the 15 to 30 Mbps, or megabits per second. Anything under 10 Mbps probably isn't sufficient for office networking where shared connections are necessary.



Upload Speeds

Although your bandwidth upload speed isn't as crucial as its download speed, your network still needs adequate upload speeds.

Because users download more than upload, speed priority is given to the downloading portion. As a result, upload speeds are much lower and therefore slower.

Generally speaking, upload speeds fall in the 1 to 5 Mbps range for most Internet providers.

That said office environments where multiple users are uploading large documents and other data to the network require the upper end of the upload speeds in order to function smoothly.


Speed Tests

If your connection speeds are regularly slow and your company's network continuously bogs down, then the question is have you tested your network's bandwidth? If not, then there is an easy way to test your download and upload connection speeds.

There are a number of speed testing sites available online that can test your network's bandwidth by downloading a test file and timing how long the download takes.

For upload speeds, the process is reversed. Speed tests are meant to provide users with approximate Mbps, so the results of the test might not reflect what you're paying for your Internet service.


Factors That Affect Bandwidth

Your network's download and upload speeds fluctuate throughout the day due to a number of factors.

When performing a speed test or if you notice your network's performance decreasing at certain times of the day, it could be due to any one of these factors:

• Heavy Internet Use - When multiple users are on the same connection, bandwidth can easily bog down, which is especially the case in an office-networking environment.

• Wireless Connection - If your network uses WiFi, connection speeds can drastically change depending on the location of the wireless router and again, the number of people using the WiFi signal.

• Time of Day - Your download and upload speeds can fluctuate depending on the time of day too. Mornings and nights are usually slower when it comes to connection speeds due to the fact more people are using the Internet in any given area, regardless of the traffic on your specific network.


From megabits per second to speed tests, it's plain to see that there's more to bandwidth than just speed.

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Adam Groff

Adam Groff is a freelance writer and creator of content. He writes on a variety of topics including health and technology.

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