Testing Has Begun, Please Disconnect Your Laptop

David Byrd : Byrd's Eye View
David Byrd
Chief Marketing Officer for ANPI

Testing Has Begun, Please Disconnect Your Laptop

It has been an interesting week for bandwidth utilization discussions. First, there is the announcement by Level 3 that they have been forced by Comcast to pay higher fees to terminate traffic over the Comcast network. It is suspected that the traffic demands of Netflix users has reached a point that it is upsetting the previous traffic sharing or, possibly, peering arrangement between Level 3 and Comcast. Although the discussion rapidly evolved into a debate about net neutrality, a larger question looms. How much bandwidth are we consuming today?

One of our customers was complaining about the quality of their VoIP service. It seems that as the Broadvox SIP engineers and the VAR tested and retested the trunk, we continued to see latency numbers much higher than expected. Ultimately, the VAR’s team of experts needed to leave either for the day or to go to another appointment. As they began turning down their laptops and disconnecting from the client’s network, the traffic problems abated. While I took this as to be an exceptional occurrence, our SIP engineers found it to be somewhat common place.

So, I wonder, what is the average bandwidth requirement per user for a business end-user? As expected, the answer is fairly broad. There is no uniform table to use or set of examples to follow. Each business regardless of size needs to measure its current usage and establish a monthly consumption number. Either your hosting company or IT manger should be able to provide a MRTG (Multi Router Traffic Grapher (freeware) graph. Using that data one can easily establish the average monthly bandwidth required. A common equation for this purpose is as follows:

Monthly Average Out + Monthly Average In / 8 bits x 60 seconds x 60 minutes x 24 hours x 30.5 days = total monthly bandwidth

If your business and website are sharing the same servers or trunks, additional usage estimates can be derived by including the following;

Without file download capability:

  • Average Daily Visitors x Average Page Views x Average Page Size x 31

With file download capability:

  • ((Average Daily Visitors x Average Page Views x Average Page Size) + (Average Daily File Downloads x Average File Size)) x 31

Consider establishing good network monitoring and management practices. Blocking certain traffic or users when the network reaches certain thresholds will improve overall usage and productivity. Alerts can be set to notify of unusual traffic patterns, individual computer usage or even sites.  

However, none of the above considers your requirements for VoIP/SIP Trunking. More on that Friday.

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