How to Estimate Your Business’ Data Bandwidth

Whether you are planning to move your business, or have acquired more staff because of a merger, or simply have outgrown your current usage, you will want to reassess your data bandwidth requirements. We have a few suggestions on how to estimate what you’ll need for phone & data bandwidth at your business.

What Affects the Amount of Data I Need?

Several factors affect your data needs: how many devices you have, how many employees use services simultaneously, what kind of devices you have, how many employees you have, how often people browse the web, how many emails, etc. Remember that each type of service uses an estimated amount of data. Bear in mind, too, that each mobile device and desktop computer has its own data estimate for each service. For purposes of example only, we will use AT&T’s general guidelines for the amount of data used per service:

  •  1 email (no attachment)   20KB
  •  1 social media post with photo   350KB
  •  1 email (with standard attachment)   300KB
  •  1 min. of streaming video (standard)   4MB (240MB/hour)
  •  1 min. of streaming music   500KB (30MB/hour)
  •  1 min. of streaming video (HD)   15MB (900MB/hour)
  •  1 hour surfing the Web   15MB
  •  1 app/game/song downloaded   4MB

Before you start cutting items out of this list because you do not think you will need them, stop and think for a moment. You will have to estimate emails with and without attachments because some businesses you will work with still use attachments (unless you refuse to accept messages with attachments). When we talk about social media with photos we are not talking about an employee’s personal social media postings (although you may want to make a company policy forbidding that for cyber security reasons). We are talking about your company’s social media presence and the possibility that you will post pictures of events, etc. Don’t think you will need streaming video? Don’t be too sure. Your employees may use streaming video for training purposes or professional development sessions. We suggest the same for video calls, especially if one of your New Year’s Resolutions is to attend fewer out-of-office business meetings or conferences, and more video conferences. You may not need streaming music, especially if you do not allow employees to stream music during work hours. Surfing the web? Well, no, you won’t let your employees shop online but you will need bandwidth for employees who do research online.

So now I know what services we use. How do I estimate the amount of data?

So now that we know approximate data usage for each service above, it’s time to estimate usage for the services below.

You will need to know how many land-line phone lines you need. This does not mean actual phones but the trunk lines that support the office phones. Your IT person should help decide how many phones each trunk line now supports simultaneously. For video conferencing, shared file services, and cloud office productivity, you will need to estimate the largest number of  simultaneous users. To find the data usage for cloud data backup, you will need to know how many GBs will back up in a 24 hour period. For HD imaging, you will need to estimate the number of images/hr. If you allow people to work remotely, you will need to estimate the number of remote (virtual) desktops and maximum simultaneous users. If you have Point of Sale  terminals, you will want to estimate the number of networked of PoS terminals.

AT&T and Integra have handy calculators to help you figure usage and are worth a look with your own situation in mind. At the least, working through the calculators will give you an idea of how in-depth these estimates go.

If you would like to discuss bandwidth or data usage, please contact us. Our specialists would welcome the opportunity to share our ideas with you.