Guest Post by Jake Brunner, Sales Engineer – Southeastern Wisconsin, TDS Telecommunications Corp.
“Okay, so what the heck does that mean,” you’re probably asking yourself. I will try to clear up some the confusion related to what bandwidth really means.
It’s really quite simple. Everything you do on a computer network requires bandwidth. Network bandwidth could be related to your internal computer network, or from your external Internet Service Provider (ISP).
Often times people can get confused between the two. Many people think that when the network is slow, it’s simply because they don’t have enough coming in from the Internet Service Provider regarding the bandwidth they are paying for.
When presented with this concern from business clients I always ask them about their internal network, and if they have evaluated their challenges from that perspective. More often than not, what we find is that answer is no. Many times the client is unsure of what we mean by that statement.
For example, we recently contracted with a new customer to install a dedicated 10MBPS Internet connection with TDS.
They were upgrading from a 6 Meg Connection, and were insistent that the provider with the current connection wasn’t providing them more than 3MBPS. When I questioned their internal network set-up they stated that nothing was wrong and their internal router was configured properly.
Well, installation time came. The new circuit from TDS was testing at 10MBPS on single PC speed test with nothing attached on the customer's Local Area Network.
Once the circuit was plugged into their network, services still only worked at 3MBPS, which was the same speed as the previous carriers’ connection! At this point a separate IT services company was contacted to come in and double check what the customer had assumed was a correct configuration on their own internal equipment.
It turned out the customer had a setting in their router that was rate-limiting the speed to... you guessed it 3MBPS! (Rate limiting is a fancy term for blocking).
Once the router was programmed properly, the user's experience was dramatically improved.
I am not trying to state that this is always going to be the case. Some customers do understand the differences, and how those applications that run on their servers and PCs effect their connection. For those who don’t, look at your network configuration before investing in more bandwidth.