Bandwidth and Business Growth
While a T-1 used to be sufficient for many businesses, much more capacity is now needed to keep up with traffic growth, particularly during busy-hour peaks. In a survey by InformationWeek, two out of three IT leaders expect demand for bandwidth to increase at their company over the next year. And in a ComputerWorld survey, more than half of IT executives say they will need to add bandwidth to keep pace.2
Traffic Ahead: Key Trends
Cisco® Systems forecasts IP traffic will grow at a compound annual growth rate of 23 percent through 2019. However, busy-hour Internet traffic will grow much faster—climbing more than 300 percent.3 Within four years the average broadband end user in North America will rely on a 43-Mbps Internet connection.4 What is driving business traffic growth and bandwidth demand?
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businesses report using at least one cloud service.4 Businesses rank cloud services as the #1 application class increasing Internet traffic.5
of Internet traffic will be video within four years. By that time Wi-Fi and mobile devices will account for 66 percent of IP traffic.6
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businesses use or plan to use Unified Communications (UC) solutions.7 Six out of ten businesses currently use videoconferencing.8
is how long it takes to transfer a 35 MB file with a 100 Mbps connection versus 3 minutes for a T-1 (1.5 Mbps) link.9
Understanding Application Bandwidth Ranges
Web browsing and streaming, collaboration and conferencing, and cloud applications can consume significant bandwidth. Benchmarks from ACG Research and Cisco Systems estimate typical cloud applications can each require download speeds of 750 kbps to more than 2.5 Mbps per user. (Profiled in this calculator are mid-range mission critical cloud business applications). When it comes to web browsing and streaming, each user will need 300 kbps to more than 2.5 Mbps, while collaboration and conferencing applications may each require 640 kbps to more than 2.5 Mbps per user. (See Figure 1).
For business video applications, device screen size, frame rate per second (fps) and display resolution in pixels (p) are important factors in determining bandwidth throughput needs. Faster frame rates (e.g. 15 fps, 30 fps, 60 fps) and higher display resolutions (e.g. 360p, 480p, 720p, 1080p) boost bandwidth requirements. To offer a crisper picture, bigger screens (such as a desktop monitor) require higher resolution than small screens (such as a smartphone). Finding a balance between resolution, frame rate and end-user connection speed are key for streaming video and videoconferencing quality.
At the high end, 1080p High-definition (HD) video streaming and videoconferencing have among the biggest bandwidth requirements, estimated at 4.5 Mbps and 6 Mbps, respectively, and are excluded from this calculator.
File Transfer, Storage and Backup: Bandwidth needs are escalating for businesses that work with large digital files to transfer. With a 1.5 Mbps connection, transferring a single 300 MB file can take nearly 30 minutes. With a 100-Mbps connection, that same file can be transferred in less than 30 seconds. For a company that regularly transfers large digital files, having enough bandwidth can help save hours of file transfer time every workday. (See Figure 2)
Bandwidth Calculator Tips
How much bandwidth does your business need to succeed? Finding the answer is easier than you think. Once you answer a few questions, our Bandwidth Calculator will share a custom-built recommendation for your business. To crunch the numbers, you will need to know how many users there are at your business location, the applications they use most and your peak busy-hour periods.
1 InformationWeek 2014 Next-Generation WAN Survey
2 Computerworld Forecast, 2014
3 Cisco Visual Networking Index, May 2015
4 Cisco Visual Networking Index, May 2015
5 “Simplify and Innovate the Way You Consume Cloud,” Forrester Consulting Paper commissioned by Infosys, October 2014
6 “The 2014 State of the WAN Report,” Ashton, Metzler & Associates, February 2014
7 Cisco Visual Networking Index, May 2015
8 InformationWeek 2014 Unified Communications Survey
9 “Seventh Annual State of the Network Global Study,” Network Instruments, May 2014
10 Data calculation by Kinetic Strategies
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