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10 Ways to maximize your business internet bandwidth

With the amount of applications that require internet access these days network speed can be a real productivity issue.  Below are 10 tips to help you maximise the speed of your business network by ensuring that business critical applications take priority.

1> Block access to content-streaming web sites

If you allow employees to use the Internet for personal use, the first thing you should do is block access to streaming media sites, such as YouTube, BBC iPlayer, SKYPE or any video, music or radio streaming service.  Streaming videos consume more bandwidth than most other Web-based services.

2> Throttle your backup applications

If you’re backing up your data to the cloud or offsite in real-time or at any time during working hours (rather than overnight), check to see whether your backup application has a throttling mechanism.  An unthrottled offsite/cloud backup solution will consume as much bandwidth as it can. This might have a major effect if you’re backing up small files but larger, slower backup can have a major impact on your Internet bandwidth.

3> Limit your use of VoIP

VoIP is another bandwidth-intensive protocol. If you plan to use VoIP, you will need to seriously review the number of lines that you plan to use VoIP over as well as what else relies on that particular connection.

4> Use a Proxy Cache

A proxy cache can help limit the amount of traffic created by Web browsers. The basic idea is that when a user visits a Web site, the contents of the page are cached on a proxy server. The next time that person visits that Web page, the content doesn’t have to be downloaded because it already exists in the cache. Using a proxy cache not only saves bandwidth, but it can give users the illusion that your Internet connection is much faster than it really is.

5> Centralise updates

Today, almost every application is designed to download periodic updates over the Internet. You can save a lot of bandwidth by centralizing the update process. For example, rather every PC in your office connecting to the Microsoft Update Service, you should set up a WSUS server to download all the updates and then make them available to the individual PCs. That way, the same updates aren’t being downloaded over and over again.

6> Use Hosted Filtering

If you operate your own mail servers in-house, a great way to save bandwidth is to take advantage of hosted filtering.  With hosted filtering, your MX record points to a cloud server rather than to your mail server.  This server receives all the mail that’s destined for your organization.  The server filters out any spam or messages containing malware.  The remaining messages are forwarded to your organization. You can save a lot of bandwidth (and mail server resources) because your organization is receiving less spam.

7> Identify Your Heaviest Users

In any organization, there will be some users who use the Internet more heavily than others. It’s a good idea to identify your heaviest users and to determine what they are doing that’s causing them to consume so much bandwidth.

8> Aggressively Scan for Malware

Malware can rob your organization of a tremendous amount of bandwidth by turning PCs into bots.  Be aggressive in your efforts to keep the desktops on your network clean.

9> Use QoS to reserve bandwidth

QoS stands for quality of service and is a bandwidth reservation mechanism.  If you have applications that require a specific amount of bandwidth (such as a video conferencing application), you can configure QoS to reserve the required bandwidth for that application. The bandwidth reservation is in effect only when the application is actively being used. At other times, the bandwidth that is reserved for the application is available for other uses

10> Make sure you are getting the bandwidth you are paying for!

A lot of factors affect Internet bandwidth, so you can’t expect to connect to every Web site at your connection’s maximum speed. Even so, your Internet connection should deliver performance that is reasonably close to what you are paying for.

If your Internet connection isn’t as fast as it should be, talk to your ISP and find out how your connection is contended (shared). You might pay a bit more for a non-shared connection, but the extra cost may be worth it.

For more detail, or help implementing any of the above tips contact us here.

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