Internet access has become perceived as a commoditized service like gas and electricity. Unlike gas and electric which are regulated and must conform to specific guidelines and quality metrics and which offer customers virtually unlimited availability, the internet has limitations.
If I purchase several portable electric heaters for my home and use them all simultaneously, assuming the wiring in my home can handle it, my electric bill is going to spike. I’m not going to have to sacrifice my bedroom light in favor of the heater. I’m going to have all the electricity I need, knowing that I’ll simply have to pay for the additional usage.
That’s not the case with most business internet access, however. There are several classes of access, each with its own set of limitations. The two points of limitation are speed and data transfer. A broadband service like coax cable or DSL may offer faster download speed and provide a very limited upload speed, while a cell phone company may offer fast speeds but limit clients on gigs of data transfer, slowing to a crawl after the customer has reached their “quota” for the month.
How Internet Degradation Happens
Unlike most homes, businesses regularly grow and change, increasing or decreasing demand on bandwidth. Degradation occurs when the demand outweighs what the service can provide.
As a VoIP and internet carrier, we see internet degradation occur for several reasons:
- Adding employees
- Current employee demand (streaming) increases (think Pandora radio or YouTube)
- Moving or adding services to the cloud
- Adding VoIP to the existing connection
Regardless of the reason, internet degradation can cost businesses serious money. Depending on how the business uses the internet, the amount of loss can vary greatly. A printing business, for example, likely relies on the internet to receive orders, communicate with clients, and send/receive sometimes large data files. Degraded internet may mean slow/lost email communication, slow response to clients, inability to send client files, and dissatisfied or frustrated customers.
In another example, a CPA firm utilizes a business internet service. It had served them faithfully until they moved to VoIP and tried sending and receiving calls across the same link. Calls experience jitter, delay, and clients and employees become frustrated. This CPA firm is asking more of their connection than it can handle. A call to the cable company isn’t going to magically fix the issue either. The physical connection can only support so much bandwidth and they’re maxing out theirs.
Degraded internet simply means the company has outgrown their existing connection and has greater bandwidth needs. Sometimes the solutions are not easily visible, as there may be technical needs the business owner may not initially understand. Once a business starts experiencing issues, it’s a sign to act. There are a couple solutions which can solve the problem.
- Add More Bandwidth
Adding more bandwidth is typically something which can be done, but not immediately. May times the first instinct is to “throw Megabytes at it”… moving up to a bigger service of the same type on the same provider. This is usually an easy, short term action… but it is often a failed move. For a business with critical business needs it likely means upgrading to a different class of internet service. An example is going from an asymmetric Cable connection to a symmetrical, high bandwidth Metro Ethernet connection with a SLA (Service Level Agreement). The new connection will require new wiring connections and equipment. This may take 120 days, so businesses experiencing degraded internet should act swiftly.
- Optimize the Existing Connection
Sometimes utilizing a firewall, SD WAN or other edge device can allow network administrators to better allocate available bandwidth on the existing connection(s). These devices can prioritize traffic by type (voice, video, email, web surfing, streaming, etc.) and they can limit or regulate websites and applications which gobble up bandwidth. They can also prioritize VoIP calls.
N2Net is the VoIP and internet specialist. If your business is experiencing degraded internet, contact an N2Net sales professional today for answers and options.