TeraGo Networks Presents: Back to Basics – How much Bandwidth?

Following our posts about choosing the right Internet Service Provider (ISP) and internet technology for your business, many of you had a follow up question; How do I know how much bandwidth my business needs? This is a great question because if you get too much bandwidth, then you end up paying for more than you need. If you get too little, your employee’s productivity can suffer, which can impact your company’s bottom line.

Although it’s a fairly straight forward question, the answer is somewhat complicated because every business has different needs. Also, those needs can be subject to change, depending on a multitude of variables. For example, if your business is seasonal, then you will require more bandwidth during the peak season and less during the off season. Other variables may include employee size, office location, or how your team uses the connection. If your employees are sending hundreds of emails each day, uploading a great deal of content, or video conferencing, then your business will need a high amount of bandwidth. If your employees are only sending a handful of emails each day, then your business won’t require as much bandwidth.

Regardless of which category your company falls in to, it is critical that you find an ISP that is able to scale your bandwidth quickly and easily to match expanding business needs. However, there is a way to calculate the bandwidth needs of your business to give you an idea of what you should be asking for. First, you need to ask yourself the following questions:

  • Is VoIP (voice over internet protocol) used, and how many users are on it?
  • How much email is being sent and received per day, per user?
  • Is cloud email (like Google Apps) being used?
  • Are other cloud services, like Salesforce or Quickbooks Online, being used?
  • Are users frequently streaming media?
  • Are any public facing web servers hosted internally?
  • Are social media sites open for usage? Or are they banned?

Once you have taken the above questions into consideration, you will need to categorize your employees into three types of users, light, medium, and heavy, based on the estimated amount of Kilobits per second (Kbps) they consume.

  • Light User: 50Kbps
  • Medium User: 80Kbps
  • Heavy User: 120Kbps

It is likely that the amount each user consumes will vary, depending on their responsibilities. For example, a company comprised of 20 employees may have 5 heavy users, 5 medium users, and 10 light users. Based on that information, we would use the following formula to calculate the company’s estimated bandwidth needs.

N x T = BN (Number of users x Traffic estimate based on usage weight – Bandwidth Needed)

Using the 20 employee example above, our calculation would be:

  • 5 heavy users x 120Kbps = 600Kbps
  • 5 medium users x 80Kbps = 400Kbps
  • 10 light users x 50Kbps = 500Kbps
  • Add all user totals together: 600+400+500 = 1500Kbps (or 1.5Mbps)

However, it is important to take into account that this calculation is only meant to estimate the basic user bandwidth requirements. There are several variables, as previously mentioned above, that can impact your bandwidth amounts. This calculation is simply meant to give you an idea of the minimum bandwidth your business requires so you can make an educated decision when setting up your internet.

To learn more about the variety of bandwidth amounts available, click here.

Blog Author: Vanessa Hartung


  1. Reblogged this on vareducation.

  2. Reblogged this on The BitWit – Sometimes served dry… and commented:
    As the article headline suggests, a basic calculation of some bandwidth requirements that you may need to estimate for your own situation. As we add new cloud based services and telephony components to our application mix for employees the incremental demand on bandwidth can be easily overlooked, resulting in some very unhappy staff.

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