Modern commerce is powered by the internet. No matter what type of business you’re in, you need a dependable internet connection to get things done. But what kind of connection, and how much speed do you need?
The internet requirements of any business are largely dictated by how the internet is used and by the number of users. For example, a large digital content studio would need a fast, robust internet connection to support dozens of users transferring large files as part of their core business activities. A family-run flower shop, on the other hand, could happily operate with a significantly slower (and cheaper) internet solution.
When we talk about internet packages, speed gets the spotlight, but there are actually a few variables to consider. Download speed refers to how quickly you can retrieve information from the internet, and it’s usually the featured measurement when you’re comparing plans. Internet packages typically have a different upload speed which measures how quickly you can send information out into the internet. Finally, your bandwidth refers to the data transfer allotment included with your plan per billing cycle.
The more data you anticipate sending or receiving, the greater the benefit you’ll see from faster internet speeds. Data-intensive activities like sending large files can bog down slower connections and diminish the quality of video conferencing and other streaming services. For example, downloading a 1 GB file on a 25 Mbps connection would take approximately six minutes, while downloading the same file on a 1 Gbps connection would take about eight seconds. If you subscribe to the idea that “time is money,” consider spending a little more money to save time with the fastest internet connection that works with your budget.
The more people you expect to be using your network simultaneously, the more internet speed your business will need. Imagine your internet connection is a highway with your employees driving on it as they go about their daily tasks. Now, imagine that highway at rush hour—is the road still wide enough for everyone to get where they need to go in a reasonable amount of time? Data gridlock can cost precious time and reduce productivity.
In a real-world example, a 2016 report by the State Educational Technology Directors Association (SETDA) recommended estimating that a network would need at least 4.3 Mbps per user to provide a quality online experience in common situations. You can multiply this figure by the number of employees in your company to estimate your speed requirements. Based on this formula, a company of 20 people using the internet for typical browsing, emailing, and occasional file transfers would require an internet package that offered at least 86 Mbps. Some experts recommend buying internet service that provides double the speed of your average requirements to offset surges in demand and to maintain good service quality.
Business internet offers the speed and capacity that businesses require. Some plans include additional business-friendly features such as additional email boxes and one or more static IP addresses. Again, a small business like the family-run flower shop above might find that a residential connection is enough for their needs, but most businesses, especially those who provide free onsite WiFi access for their customers, can benefit from a plan designed specifically for business use.
If you’re still unsure about what kind of internet service is right for your needs, Blue Ridge Business can help you decide. Several speed tiers are available, so you can start with a package that makes sense right now, evaluate your usage patterns over time, and easily upgrade as your internet needs grow. We can even get you set up with ProFi℠ to provide fast, reliable WiFi access in your business. Contact us today to explore everything Blue Ridge Business has to offer.