As networking technology continues to advance, 1Gbps connections are considered insufficient in many small businesses, which is why many are moving to multi-gig Internet connections. If you are old enough to remember dial-up connections, it might seem astounding that one gig is somehow “slow”–but such is the way of technological advancement.
Do You Really Need Multi-Gig Internet?
If you are thinking about upgrading to a multi-gig Internet connection, you should first stop to think if you really need it. While many people just assume that faster is always a good thing for Internet connectivity, that is not necessarily the case. While increasing your data speed and bandwidth isn’t going to hurt anything, it can be quite costly and if you aren’t getting any benefit from it, the money will be wasted.
In addition to upgrading to a more expensive multi-gig connection, you may have to upgrade your systems to be able to take advantage of the speed. For some businesses, alternative solutions may actually be smarter. For example, if your business has to upload or download a lot of data to the Internet, you may want to consider scheduling the transfers to take place afterhours. This will allow you to complete the tasks needed, without having to pay the higher costs for multi-gig connections. Understanding all your options will help you to make the right choice for your specific situation.
Of course, there are many situations where the best course of action is to upgrade your Internet connection speeds, and when that is the case, you want to make sure to do it properly.
Consider Multiple Internet Circuits
Before moving to an expensive multi-gig circuit, you may want to consider adding one or more traditional circuits to your environment. For example, if your building is currently operating on a single 1Gbps circuit from a local ISP, consider adding a second (or third) connection. This type of standard circuit is generally going to be quite affordable and easier to put in place.
Once you have additional circuits in place, you can configure your internal network and applications to use the bandwidth in the most efficient way possible. In some cases, that will be using one circuit for specific tasks and another circuit for different ones. It may also make sense to have your systems use all the circuits as if they were one by creating a logical circuit configuration. Taking the time to understand your options and configure your network to efficiently use multiple circuits can help you to get multi-gig performance without costly upgrades.
Finding the Best Multi-Gig ISP in Your Area
Of course, there are many situations where the right move is to simply upgrade to one or more multi-gig internet connections. When this is the case, you will want to shop around to really understand all your options. All major Internet service providers today will offer some type of multi-gig connectivity to their customers so ask yourself the following questions before making a purchase:
- How Much Speed is Needed – Technically speaking, multi-gig Internet connections would be any that are 2Gbps or above. There is a big difference, however, between 2Gbps and 100Gbps. Knowing what your current data requirements are, and where you project them to be in the coming years, is critical.
- How Many Circuits Do You Need – If you are using this level of bandwidth, your business undoubtedly relies heavily on the Internet for successful operations. You may want to have two (or more) circuits installed not just for the added speed, but also for redundancy. Choosing to work with multiple ISPs will get you the speed you require as well as dramatically reduced risk of full Internet outages.
- What Infrastructure is In Your Area – There are massive differences in Internet infrastructure based on location. If the area around your business already has a strong fiber infrastructure in place, it will likely be easy and affordable to get the multi-gig speeds you need. If the ISPs have not yet run fiber in your region, however, you may have some challenges. Talk to area ISPs to learn more about the current infrastructure and what options you will have available.
Do Not Neglect Your Internal Network
As briefly mentioned above, a faster Internet connection will not provide you with the performance that you need if your internal network cannot keep up. If you are upgrading to a multi-gig Internet connection, you will also want to look into certain types of upgrades to your internal network infrastructure.
For example, you may want to install a new switch to help route the traffic in and out of your network efficiently. There are many different options at many different price points, but a good 10Gbps switch will allow you to share your multi-gig Internet connection throughout multiple different subnets to make the most efficient use of your speed and bandwidth.
The Future of Multi-Gig Internet Connectivity
As the last several decades have shown, even the multi-gig connectivity that is available today will someday be considered to be slow and outdated. Part of any good tech planning will include looking at the potential future technology as well as the requirements that your business is likely to have. Choosing a multi-gig Internet solution that will meet your needs today and have you well-positioned for the future will always be the right direction to take.