4 ways to monitor and manage your bandwidth (and why you should)

Bandwidth speeds can be fickle. When setting up a network, it’s always tempting to opt for the cheaper option: a lower bandwidth comes with a nicer price tag, but can cause expensive delays and decimate productivity. Even if you’re working within your bandwidth, speeds can be affected as the equipment is pushed to it’s limits.

With more and more businesses using services like cloud backups and voice over IP, a healthy bandwidth with extra room to spare is nothing short of essential. So if you’ve invested wisely, it makes sense to keep a close eye on your bandwidth, and know what you can do to manage it.


1. Gather Information

When it comes to usage, some providers might prefer not to give you all the information you need to make a good decision - if it’s out of sight, it’s out of mind, and if you don’t go looking for information like usage graphs or analysis, they’re unlikely to tell you about it.


Check if your router supports protocols like SNMP, which allows access to usage values. Ask your provider if they can show you your usage graphs.


This info is vital to understanding where your speeds are going: how much is going towards supporting your customers, and how much is being used by people scrolling through holiday photos on Facebook.


2. Prioritise

Once you know who is using what amount of the bandwidth, it’s time to decide who should have the most priority.


The most popular option is to give bandwidth priority to VoIP phones: an easy-to-hear conversation is more important in that moment than streaming YouTube videos, for instance. This logic can be customised to suit your businesses needs: if you employ people from home, cloud computing may be a network priority, but if you publish large amounts of media, then the production team’s network access can also be given priority.


Try and find out if your router supports prioritizing features such as QoS or shaping. These features, with a little know-how, will help you to manage your bandwidth effectively.


3. Install a Guest Wi-Fi network

Guest Wi-Fi networks are a common feature in many businesses. Whether it’s used to keep your customers happy whilst they wait, or to support part-time or freelance staff, it’s an easy way to keep everyone connected.


However, whilst it may at first seem like a courtesy on behalf of the business owner, Guest Wi-Fi can in fact help you to manage your bandwidth, via the methods mentioned above. In short, a separate wi-fi connection with different bandwidth priority is a great way to ensure that speeds aren’t hogged by added laptops, tablets or phones.


4. Managed Firewalls

However, when all other tactics are exhausted, it may be time to turn to firewalls. Although not the subtlest or most popular tactic in the world, firewalls are ruthlessly efficient when used well, and can shut down any and all services that aren’t essential to the business.


Whether or not you allow your employees to browse social media or stream content on company time is a question of management, but when it comes to bandwidth speed, cutting these interferences out altogether can be a very cost effective method.


At Vostron, we strive to give you all the information and usage analysis you need, so that you can make the best decisions according to your needs. Of course, if you need a bandwidth upgrade, this is the best option for improving speeds, and one we’ll be happy to consult with you on, whether you want help deciding or have already planned your approach.


Any questions? Just give us a call.

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