Illustration of streaming data and bandwidth

WiFi Speed & Bandwidth Basics

What is bandwidth and do you have enough to keep guests happy?

The Hard Answer: Bandwidth is the volume of information per unit of time that a transmission medium – such as an internet connection – can handle.

The Easy Answer: Bandwidth is like a water pipe. The larger the pipe (your internet connection’s bandwidth), the more water (data) can get through. If you don’t have enough bandwidth, at best the internet will reach your users in slow drips.

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  1. What is bandwidth?
    Bandwidth is the amount of data that can be carried from one point to another in a given time period – usually expressed in bits per second (bps). Many times you may think your WiFi network is slow when you actually just need more bandwidth.
  2. How do I know if I need more bandwidth?
    When you don’t have enough bandwidth to accommodate all of your device traffic, your guest WiFi will slow to a crawl and interrupt streaming data, like video and music. If you are using the Managed WiFi Dashboard, it monitors bandwidth usage for you. If you see the graph peaking, you should consider upgrading.
  3. How do I get more bandwidth?
    Bandwidth can be upgraded by your Internet Service Provider (ISP). Deep Blue can act as an intermediary to make recommendations and interface with your ISP directly to save you time, money and to ensure all of your technologies can run efficiently on your network. Bandwidth upgrades are very common with the proliferation of new devices.
  4. Will more bandwidth automatically make my network faster?
    It may not. If you are not managing your bandwidth correctly, or have an older network, increasing it may not make it faster. You may need to have your network assessed for capacity, efficiency and scalability by a managed network services provider. All data systems in use should be included in your assessment.
  5. How can bandwidth be managed?
    Every time a user accesses your WiFi, they are decreasing your bandwidth. Bandwidth consumption can be monitored and managed by setting upload / download speeds per user. Your WiFi service provider can do this for you in order to optimize your network for device requirements, as well as paid vs. free access.
  6. What upload/download speeds should I have?
    This depends on what your users will be doing:
    Hi-def video streaming = 5Mbps per person
    Email and web browsing = 1-2Mbps per person
    Video Conferencing = 8Mbps per person
  7. I just installed a new 802.11ac network, why isn’t it faster?
    Make sure your ISP is giving you enough bandwidth to make effective use of it. Most of the routers utilizing 802.11ac now have dual bands – or the ability to use both 2.4 and 5.0 GHz simultaneously. A new 5GHz band can accommodate more devices. 2.4 GHz can get saturated with devices, ask about reducing overcrowding on the 2.4GHz band with a 5GHz-enabled network. Download our Whitepaper on 802.11
  8. How do I know whether to use 2.4 or 5 GHz?
    A 2.4 GHz band is used by things like your microwave or Bluetooth speakers, and it looks and feels like Friday rush hour traffic. 5.0 is a large, 5-lane highway on a Sunday morning – lots of room, very little traffic. As such, it is the perfect band when you need to transmit large amounts of data – like streaming live audio or video. Download our Whitepaper on 2.4 GHz vs. 5 GHz
  9. What can I do if I can’t get more bandwidth?
    If you have low bandwidth and can’t afford more, you can always offer a free lower speed tier for your guests, as well as offer an upgraded higher bandwidth tier to free up bandwidth for those who require more. With both free and paid solutions, you can keep your guests happy while helping to pay for the increased bandwidth.

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