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In our office we have 30 PCs, 2 WiFi and 6 VoIP phones connected to the network that consumes bandwidth. Basically 30 PCs are simultaneously using the Internet (like Facebook, surfing the web and using trading platforms on the desktops).

Employees are also handling phone calls using IP phones, which also consume bandwidth.

Currently we are subscribing to DSL that offers "up to" 4 Mbps bandwidth. Would that be enough for our purposes? If not, how do I calculate how much bandwidth I need for a given number of workstations and phones?

migrated from superuser.com Jan 11 '14 at 11:08

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This question can't be answered per se; the bandwidth needs of e.g. (a) a self-contained office that has a file server in-house, and (b) a site that constantly moves large image files in and out the building, makes extensive use of cloud storage, and has a bunch of VPNs to remote sites, can easily be two orders of magnitude different, even though both sites have the same number of people.

What you can, and should, do is monitor like a hawk. Make sure that you're using equipment that lets you monitor bandwidth and latency, both to your next-hop-route outbound, and to some external resources that you need to monitor, constantly. Data every five minutes is a minimum; every 60s is better.

If you have particular sensitivity to certain network resources (latency to a remote asterisk server? bandwidth usage to/from your cloud storage provider? throughput to the VPN peer in Spain?) make sure that you're also monitoring those particular parameters.

Graphs and data averaging should be happening automatically, so if someone wants to know how the connection is doing, you can answer that question instantly.

Over a period as short as a couple of weeks, you should be able to build up a picture of what you're using your internet connection for, and how well it's dealing with the demand. From there, you'll have a much better idea what you're likely to need in the both medium- and longer-terms.

  • MadHatter, Thank your for your elaborate suggestion and it may give me precise idea how should I increase my internet speed. One more thing, Do you know any software that might you've already used to do this instead of buying an equipment? I have already Peplink load balancer and unfortunately it does not have real-time bandwidth monitoring. – Cold Jan 13 '14 at 9:13
  • We don't do software or hardware recommendations here - they're explicitly off-topic - but you might look into a general-purpose data collection and display tool like munin, and get the data from your hardware via SNMP. – MadHatter supports Monica Jan 13 '14 at 9:31
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Here gets the problem on:

ike Facebook, surfing the web and using trading platforms on the desktops).

Are you trading, as a company? ISOLATE THAT ON A SEPARATE NETWORK, or at least have some REALLY good Quality of service - OUTSIDE your link. Trading and VOIP are low bandwith and / but very tricky with latency. Especially trading - you do not get closer to "impacting financial bottom line" than that.

Given trading I would go with as much bandwidth as you can. I currently have 11 trading places in our room and our 8mbit link is ok - great in fact .... if we do not.... do downloads. Moving to isolate that now (in negotiations) to get 2 separate links, so that time sensitive traffic can be isolated from the bulk traffic.

I would also consider abandoning the wireless network. Man, that is not only slow and inconvenient, it is also out of control.

Then from there, measure things and just order what you need.

  • Actually my company was a FX broker and we're really struggling on our internet speed. Any way, thank you for sharing your experience but I considered MadHatter's answer because I need to have precise idea how should I increase my internet speed. – Cold Jan 13 '14 at 9:21
  • It also won't work. Separate into different links, finished. Same I am doing now. No monitoring will alleviate the problem. – TomTom Jan 13 '14 at 9:31
  • So what you're telling to me is, Trading and VOIP should in the same network with no other internet activities and surfing should be on other network? – Cold Jan 13 '14 at 10:10
  • Yes. The main problem is incoming traffic. You can not shape that. A download may overload your incoming link - and that is where you get price data from, too. 2 solutions are two links or.... traffic shaping in a router in a data center (and using a VPN from there). Been doing that for years. Anything else is hogwash - especially on extreme low bandwidth scenarios you have. You NEED pretty much to solve a traffic shaping problem here for incoming traffic. As such, MadHatters answer IMHO is not an answer at all. – TomTom Jan 13 '14 at 11:00

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