In 1999, the internet was in its infancy. Dial-up internet dominated the market as broadband was just becoming popular. Today, apps have moved to the cloud, landlines are becoming history, and your smartphone stays connected nearly 24/7.
Businesses today regularly utilize VoIP service, video conferencing, and other internet-intensive applications. Consequently, businesses depend on the internet now more than ever. Your bandwidth plays a huge factor in how well your internet service performs. Yet, most people don’t understand what bandwidth actually means.
It’s Bandwidth, Not Speed
Internet Service Providers (ISPs) typically offer service measured in Mbps. This sounds like speed, but it’s really not.
Imagine going to the grocery store to grab a few items. You walk to the front of the store only to find 10 people in line and one cashier. The cashier moves quickly, but they can handle only one person at a time. It will take some time, but eventually, this lone cashier will check out everyone.
Now, imagine the same scenario, but the store calls up a second cashier to help. The second cashier works just as fast as the first one, so technically, the checkout speed remains the same. However, the lines move twice as fast.
Bandwidth works just like the cashiers. “Faster” internet service just gives you more bandwidth to move more data at once.
Why Bandwidth Matters
Your bandwidth limits how many tasks can utilize the internet simultaneously without issue. If one device uses too much bandwidth, you’ll run into your bandwidth limit. It’s like one person getting in line at the store with a cart full of items. Everyone behind that person can only wait for their turn.
To make things more complicated, you have both download bandwidth and upload bandwidth. Download bandwidth refers to data your computer pulls from the internet. Upload bandwidth refers to data you send to the internet.
Generally, download bandwidth is higher than upload bandwidth. As a result, you can download large files without causing too many problems for others. However, if you try to upload a large file, you can bring the internet to a screeching halt for everyone in the building. Why? The file you’re uploading hit your upload bandwidth limit.
Once this starts happening, you’ll feel the impact everywhere. Internet speeds will drop, and VoIP call quality will plummet.
Fixing Bandwidth Issues
Calling your provider usually doesn’t help. They’ll ask you to run a speed test connected directly to the modem. Typically, the test runs perfectly, and in their eyes, your internet works… for one person. The simplest solution may be to see if someone is uploading files. If so, schedule those uploads after hours.
Beyond that, troubleshooting bandwidth issues takes time. Attempting to resolve those issues on your own can lead to hair loss. Let us identify potential network problems and solve current issues. To find out how Pit Crew IT Services can help improve your efficiency, request a free consultation below!