This is the time to speed up your business network

A friend of mine recently wrote about the “joy” of having slow internet in Grand Bahamas. Of course, he was on vacation there; For me, vacation is just a word in the dictionary. I’m a guy who used to send stories using a 300-bod acoustic modem on a Pephone. Now, That It was slow!

But, for work today we need the fastest internet in our home office and workplace. This is because now more than ever, we work from home, in the office, or a combination of the two, we need a capital “F” with the Internet fast.

Analyst firm CCS Insight found in its latest Employee Workplace Technology Survey 2022, 37% of respondents said that slow networks are the biggest connection frustration. This was followed by weak mobile signal, 30%; Unreliable home Wi-Fi, 29%; And corporate office Wi-Fi, 29%.

I can feel your pain.

I’m working on a 5Mbps DSL internet connection from our Myrtle Beach condo this week. Oh, how long I have to connect to my home office gigabit!

I rubbed my nose to see how bad it was when a recent zoom meeting went into oblivion. Today, according to CCS Insight, businesses rely on video meeting programs such as Microsoft Team and Zoom have never been before. In 2021, the use of online video conferencing has increased by 50%.

At the same time, your old telephone calls are rapidly declining in popularity. Their study found that desk phone and mobile phone calls decreased by 20%. Instead, people are using instant messaging systems like Slack and, you guessed it, the video conferencing app.

In comparison, a phone call, even if made using Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP), can take as little as 100 kilobits (Kbps) per second. A group zoom call requires a minimum of 1Mbps up and 600kbps down for each user. (Practically speaking, I would triple that bandwidth requirement.)

Looking ahead, CCS Insight and your desk phone usage is really declining rapidly in the next 12 months. In their place, we will see only voice and video calls grow stronger.

This will have two business implications.

The first is that you will need fast internet speed to meet the demand for video conferencing. Second, it’s time to reconsider how much you’re paying for PBX and traditional phone services.

I’m not saying it’s time to dump your PBX – it’s not. But from here I can see the end result of business landline phones.

Of course, your home staff needs all the fast internet they can get. They may not be sharing an Internet connection with a dozen other employees. Still, they’re probably sharing video games with kids and family members watching “The Batman” in 4K resolution on the HBO Max.

The fast last mile will help get the internet, you need more than that; You also need to speed up your local office network and Wi-Fi.

For real speed, you still can’t beat Gigabit Ethernet. Wi-Fi is all right and good, but it will not simply replace Ethernet on servers and routers.

For most users, however, Wi-Fi is where it is.

If you haven’t updated your Wi-Fi access point and mesh since 2020, it’s time to upgrade.

All you have to look for is gear that supports Wi-Fi 6, also known as 802.11ax.

The big reason for the upgrade is that Wi-Fi 6 increases net throughput by about 40% compared to its predecessor, Wi-Fi 5.

Behind the raw speed increase, Wi-Fi 6 also uses Multi-User, Multi-Input, Multiple Output (MU-MIMO), and Orthogonal Frequency Division Multiple Access (OFDMA) to split Wi-Fi router connections into eight simultaneous streams. . Net results quadruple the effective bandwidth per user.

Another Wi-Fi 6 feature, Target Wake Time (TWT), is a useful power-saving scheme. This enables Wi-Fi 6 devices to sleep until they need to send and receive data. It also gives better battery life to useful Internet of Things (IoT) gadgets like security cameras and video doorbells. It also helps smartphones and laptops.

You can get Wi-Fi 6 equipment for as little as 70, but you don’t want to go cheap unless you have no choice.

Less expensive devices do not have the CPU power or multi-gigabit ports required for top performance. Descent gears, such as the TP-Link Archer line and the Asus ZenWiFi ET8, range in price from $ 200 to $ 500.

If you want more speed and the ability to deal with dozens or hundreds of devices, you’ll want to go for Wi-Fi 6E. Specifically, Wi-Fi 6E can handle multiple Internet addresses.

It happens more often than you might think. Today, every exploded appliance in your home, including refrigerators and washing machines, can have its own IP address.

Wi-Fi 6E is faster than Wi-Fi 6. In fact, the Netgear Orbi Wi-Fi 6E is the first Wi-Fi router I’ve ever tested that can actually deliver a gigabit-per-second signal in the air.

That’s the good news. The bad news is that Wi-Fi 6E hardware is expensive.

Prices start at around $ 400, and my price for my Orbi Wi-Fi 6E Mesh is $ 1,500. On the other hand, it also covers two buildings of 3,500 square feet.

So, get what you pay for.

Finally, as you consider the future of your internet and network, remember that a network is as fast as your slowest link.

For example, if your laptops still use obsolete 802.11n Wi-Fi chipsets, they still can’t go faster than 300Mbps, even if they sit on a 6E router and emit 1Gbps signal.

Copyright © 2022 IDG Communications, Inc.

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