A tech-savvy executive approached me recently to ask about Internet service. He was confused, it turns out, by the numbers being advertised. How could he know what Internet service to buy for his company? What’s going to be faster?
I had two questions: What are you using the Internet to do, and how do you like what you have now?
The second part was easy – he had business class service from the cable company, a 50 x 5 package.
“That’s fast, right? Compared to yours, I mean,” he asked.
“You can answer that yourself,” I said. “Is your Internet fast? And is it reliable?”
He just laughed. “Sometimes,” he said.
When companies are trying to determine what Internet speed they need, they often get caught up in the speeds-and-feeds without really understanding what the numbers mean. So let’s dissect this.
What do the numbers mean?
Whenever you’re talking to your ISP, you’ll hear different numbers tossed out. The first is the download speed – the rate at which you can download files, images, videos and similar files. The second number is your upload speed – the rate at which you can upload information. So a 50 x 5 means you have 50 megabits per second for download, and five megabits per second for uploads – in other words, you can download a whole lot faster than you can upload.
This is absolutely appropriate for streaming Netflix or gaming, but in business, you’re likely to send as much as you take. Often, you’ll send more – especially if you’re working in the cloud.
Of course, actually receiving that “50 x 5” is another question entirely. You see, you share your Internet pipe with others in your area. They might be using Xbox, Pandora, video or chat services that make them bandwidth hogs. And the more they use, the less you’ll get.
The ISP is not obligated to actually deliver either the 50 or the 5. This “best effort” package means they’ll do their best to make that amount of bandwidth available to you. It doesn’t mean you’ll get it. Nor does it mean that you’ll absolutely get more if you pay for more.
Run a speed check on your PC at different times throughout the day – you’ll be able to see exactly what kind of throughput you’re getting. If you’re a regular user of Dropbox, for example, you’ll likely find that all your users are slowed once you upload big files because all will automatically be sent that file.
The difference dedication makes
When talking about a symmetrical 5 x 5 or 10 x 10 or 20 x 20, we’re talking about dedicated Internet access. It’s yours – you do not share it with anyone else. It’s like having an Internet of your own.
Doing business today means you must rely on your Internet. It has to work, or you don’t. Doing away with speed fluctuation and outages may not be worth the extra cost for your home, but what is the value of knowing, for sure, that your Internet will be available when it’s needed it at the office?
Shaun Olsen is the CEO and President of CloudWyze. CloudWyze was created to help businesses focus and perform at their optimal level by crafting and executing custom technology plans for businesses of every type and size. To learn more about CloudWyze, visit www.CloudWyze.com. Shaun can be reached at [email protected] or 910-795-1000.
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