When we access the internet, all anybody ever really wants is a fast and stable connection – but depending on what you actually do online, that can mean several entirely different things.
For example, if you want to carry out basic office tasks like sending and receiving plain text emails, almost any internet connection will do; but add multimedia like videoconferencing or streamed TV and movies, or add multiple users, and the total bandwidth you need soon starts to rack up.
If you have multiple users all downloading large files, you’ll need much faster internet overall – and as upload speeds are typically much lower than download speeds, you should make sure your ISP knows if you will need to send out very large files or high-definition video streaming.
What if my internet is too slow?
First, identify the pinch point. Is it too slow for downloads, or only for uploads? Does it perform better when fewer people use it at once? This can be a sign of insufficient bandwidth, but it can also be that your router is not designed for so many simultaneous connections.
If possible, try moving wireless equipment closer to the router and using a direct cable connection where you can – if this improves data transfer rates, then it might just be that your wi-fi signal is suffering from some dead zones.
How to fix internet speed
ISPs offer a range of different internet connection standards that could give you extra bandwidth, usually for an increase in cost. For example, a move from ADSL2 to ADSL2+ doubles the download data rate from 12 Mbps to 24 Mbps per port – and bonding multiple ports can accelerate the connection in multiples of 24 Mbps again.
Dedicated leased lines can help if your connection is suffering from a high contention ratio – the number of people in your area using the internet at the same time – while fibre unlocks the potential of light-speed data communication where available, and alternatives like mobile and satellite connections are an option where the fixed infrastructure is not so good.
Comcare can help you to decide the best option for your needs, and can recommend a suitable ISP and manage the move, so that you experience minimal downtime.
Preparing to fail
Finally, to ensure you don’t experience downtime further down the line, it’s important to have a backup. That includes an uninterruptible power supply or ‘UPS’ for your server and all critical network devices like routers and switches.
You should also consider an emergency backup connection in case your ISP is unable to provide a stable connection. A mobile option makes a sensible alternative, while a secondary WAN from a different ISP might also be appropriate.
Network hardware is available to support this – for example, routers from DrayTek have multiple WAN interfaces, allowing them to ‘failover’ to a secondary ISP connection if your primary ISP stops transferring data.