20th June 2016 | Peter Harris
Ten years ago the last question on our lips was how fast is the internet connection here? Now it’s the first question we ask when looking to move office or take services into the cloud. Today's user has become more tech savvy and with an increasing awareness for the latest products and services, demand is fast outstripping supply. Improvements in infrastructure are starting to take hold and we now have a choice of ISP but not for all. Rural broadband is still an issue in many places and improvements in these areas is going to take time.
London Internet Speeds
City speeds, especially in London have improved dramatically over the years and there are now high speed fibre networks available for us to take advantage of.
Do we need the speeds we think we do?
Many firms and individuals have a perception that they need 100mb, 200mb or even a gigabit connection but is this really the case? Do we actually know how fast the connection needs to be for what we’re using it for? In many cases we think we need more than we do. My recent experience with a client is a great example. An institution came to me wanting a 100Mb symmetrical connection as they were planning on doing a lot of video conferencing and they were sure they wanted 100Mb. After much consultation they still wanted the connection. It was installed, the data usage was monitored and at their busiest times they didn’t go over 15Mb. So we have an issue with perception.
On the other hand, we have companies that are heavy users and the higher speeds are absolutely necessary and those connections have to be very reliable and they may even need two independent supplies to give true redundancy in case of a failure.
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So, before a company decides on spending a large chunk of their IT budget on a connection it’s important to consult with them and find out what they currently use and what their future plans are. Cost savings can be made if we are fully aware of what we need and why. Are they looking to move their telephony onto SIP trunks? Do they want to move their servers into a datacentre? Is the bandwidth they need actually available? Many factors need to be taken into consideration and can affect where a company moves to or from.
Some companies may not be able to move premises for whatever reason and this can very costly if they need a large leased line connection. New duct ways may have to be built, fields and roads dug up. You may need a long fibre cable blown from the exchange or the cabinet and these costs can mount up. It may be cheaper to open a new office somewhere else to house the department that’s data hungry. These are real factors that need to be considered as we increasingly become reliable on our data connections.
What does the future hold? For the immediate future we’ll see a gradual increase in demand and infrastructure improvements but these will need to be ramped up if we’re realistically going to keep up with demand. Longer term I see bandwidth and reliability as a major factor and increased competition will be the key to driving improvements that we need and expect.