The internet your company (and workforce) needs for success

You need fast internet. I need fast internet. We all need fast internet. But we need more than just speed. We need reliability, too. (And it must be affordable.)

Back in school and on my first job, I connected with the early internet on a VT-102 terminal at an amazing fast 10 Megabits per second (Mbps) over Ethernet. On the road, I got my ‘net fix at 300 bits per second (BPS) using either a TI Silent 700 paper terminal with its acoustic coupler or from a CP/M computer using a Hayes Smartmodem 300. That worked fine when all the applications I ran were text-based.

Today, I have a 1-Gigabit cable connection to my home/office which allows me to videoconference all day, pour gigabytes of data across the net, and watch 4K TV shows and movies at night.

That alone wouldn’t max out my connection, but my partner’s doing the same things at the same time—and she relies a lot on Software-as-a-Service apps, such as QuickBooks, in her accounting business. On a normal day, just two people working crack 400Mbps, and there are times we use up our bandwidth entirely. And if you have a dozen or so people all online for work, you, too, can face slowdowns—even with Gigabit connections.

Don’t forget that hiding in plain sight is a lot of devices using up bandwidth. There are now more than 10 internet-connected devices in the average US home. Besides the ones we think of first—computers, streaming devices, and gaming consoles—there are also smartwatches, Internet of Things devices, and even pet-tracking gadgets. If you’re using these devices all the time, you need enough bandwidth to keep them fed. It adds up quickly.

In addition, while we always talk about broadband in terms of downstream speed, the truth is in 2021, upstream speed is also important. Except for fiber internet connections, most Internet Service Providers (ISPs) offer far lower upstream speeds than down. For example, my Gigabit plan routinely gives me no more than 800Mbps down, but only 40Mbps up. Sure, that still sounds fast, but if you’re doing a lot of online classes or videoconferencing, then you’ll run headlong into those limits. Your partners, clients, and customers on the other end will not be amused.

Copyright © 2021 IDG Communications, Inc.

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