CSP’s Stephen Riddick hosted the third installment of CSP’s 2016 Informational Webinar Series on Thursday, August 18th. The topic covered in this installment was the ‘Bandwidth Boom’. For those who were unable to attend, the following is a brief summary of the presentation.

The various download and upload speeds available in the current market is the first criteria to take into consideration when evaluating your business’ bandwidth needs. An Asynchronous connection will have a higher download speed and a lower upload speed, while a Synchronous connection will have the same speed in both directions.

However, speed is not the only variable that matters when determining your bandwidth requirements. Jitter, latency and SLAs (Service Level Agreements) are important factors to take into account. Minimizing the amount of jitter and latency is critical for real-time communication such as video conferencing and voice calls, as packet loss can cause a lot of issues with quality. Coax (a cable connection) offers high speed at low cost, but typically has issues with higher rates of jitter and latency, and has no SLA. Fibre (a fibreoptic connection) can offer higher speeds and minimize jitter and latency issues at a significantly higher cost.

With regards to quality and cost, there is currently a lot of competition in the marketplace. Demand for bandwidth has skyrocketed. Things like video streaming and mobile usage are big factors, and the demand is projected to increase astronomically over the next several years. Fortunately, providers have responded to consumer demands with higher speeds and more bandwidth for surprisingly reasonable prices.

Currently, the big players in local market are Time Warner Cable Business Class, Windstream, AT&T, Century Link, and Level 3 Communications. Google Fibre is still in the process of rolling out in the Raleigh area, and they have petitioned the FCC to test new high speed Wi-Fi technology. Google’s plans are benefiting consumers by causing competitors to offer better deals and services in anticipation of Google Fibre getting up and running, and likely dominating the marketplace.

Bandwidth needs will vary from business to business depending on a number of factors, such as cloud usage, application requirements, remote connectivity needs, the size of your office, user habits and requirements for job performance, and even you business continuity and disaster recovery strategy. A bare bones estimate for bandwidth requirements is 2-3Mbps (Megabytes per second) per user, but still can vary greatly depending on the type of business. 4-5Mbps may be a better baseline if your business relies heavily on cloud usage and video conferencing, for example.

An estimate of the current market price for a 50×5 Coax (50Mbps Download and 5Mbps Upload speed) is $99 monthly. Fibre ranges from $645 to $1200 monthly for a 500×500 connection, and $1600 monthly for 1Gbpsx1Gbps (Gigabytes per second) connection. Fibre pricing varies based on many factors, such as availability in your area, and whether installation of fibre cables is required in your building. Be sure to do your research before you settle on a package or provider.

While CSP has no direct relationship with any providers, they work with a Telecom Broker who can help your business get the best deal possible. If you’re looking to make a change, speak with your current provider about when your current contract ends. Things like co-terms, auto-renewals, and expensive opt-out fees can making changing providers difficult. Ask about what your current provider can offer you as far as an upgrade, but be careful not to commit to anything until you’re certain you’re getting the service your business needs.

Have questions about your business’ bandwidth needs? Contact the CSP Inc. team at (919) 424-2000 or info@cspinc.com. We’re the trusted IT provider for the Raleigh-Durham area.

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