How Much Bandwidth Does Your Business Need?


Business runs on bandwidth. But it also runs on money, and you need to be sure you’re spending efficiently.

So how much internet does your business need? Is more always better? It depends on what you do.

But if you’re looking for a  fast answer to the question, “How much internet does my business need?”  you can start with this formula:

Your business needs a 1.5 Mbps connection for each employee.

However, this equation is oversimplified for many companies. If you want to be thorough and make the best decision regarding bandwidth, consider the following:

How many computers do you have?

Many businesses will have a computer for every employee. Count all the workstations, even the ones that only see occasional use. Take into account future hires and don’t forget to tally remote workers.

What does each person do?

There are some business functions that have only a small impact on bandwidth consumption, such as:

  • Email
  • Social media
  • Web browsing
  • Office 365 and Salesforce

However, some heavy-bandwidth using tasks and applications will bump your bandwidth usage-per-person average up, including:

  • Data backup
  • VoIP video calls phones
  • Large file downloads
  • Multiple network devices
  • Cloud-heavy applications
  • Video conferencing

As such, a good first step is to map your employee's or org chart by how often they engage in one of the tasks listed above.

Adding It Up

Once you’ve inventoried everything, you can do a thorough consumption analysis to arrive at your ideal bandwidth.

Here’s a sample worksheet to get you started. To use the sheet, simply multiply the number of people working by the bandwidth they’ll be consuming. You can also contact us and we’ll do this for you.

This chart will assume all of these happen concurrently, so it’ll give you a high-end estimate of what you’ll need:

Frontier Business Internet

Other Considerations:

Consumption tells one part of the bandwidth story, but there are also factors you’ll need to consider, including:

Internet typeCable? DSL? Fiber? Not all Internet is created equal. Cable, for instance, can slow down significantly when many people are using it. Fiber optic, on the other hand, doesn’t have this problem.  

Line congestion--When are your biggest bottlenecks? Consider not only the tasks, but the time at which that work is carried out simultaneously. For example, if your business is more productive from 9-10:00am, then the network may be slower if during critical times if there is insufficient bandwidth.

The Cloud—Are you planning on virtualizing? Many businesses are migrating their applications and infrastructure to the cloud, and are hitting bandwidth roadblocks. If your strategic plan is cloud-focused, you need extra bandwidth.

Stealth IT—What bandwidth-consuming gadgets are your employees sneaking in?  The explosive growth of consumer IoT devices (means that employees often bring their own devices to work without your knowing, such as smartwatches, additional phones, and other random devices (smart water bottles? Seriously?). Account for this in your bigger picture.  

Bottom Line

A little extra bandwidth is often a good investment. But if you’re business non-intensive on internet throughout, a 1.5 Mbps connection is a sensible place to start.

Fiber internet is the envy of most IT and networking pros, since it can handle higher bandwidths and is less prone to congestion. The drawback is that fiber isn’t available in every area. However, if you do have access, you should strongly consider a provider that can connect you to next-generation internet.

Find out if you have access to fiber Internet—contact us today.