Why you need to look at usage peaks and troughs when planning your bandwidth and connectivity budget

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Why you need to look at usage peaks and troughs when planning your bandwidth and connectivity budget

Do you understand what you are paying for when you sign up to a certain amount of bandwidth? More often than not, businesses purchase bandwidth based on a predetermined budget. Whilst this may seem like a sensible approach, the outcome generally leads to the business either discovering they don’t have enough bandwidth and needing to buy more, or over scoping and paying too much for unneeded bandwidth.

By looking at your project’s user and application needs first, you can develop a clear understanding of the bandwidth required.


But first, what is bandwidth?

Any business that relies on geo-remote connectivity for core operations should be familiar with the term bandwidth. Whilst the term is often used interchangeably with ‘speed’, it actually refers to the amount of speed available on your link. Therefore, the greater your bandwidth, the faster your connection.

When a budget dictates bandwidth amount, businesses do not consider the impact of user volume on their connection. Purchasing a small bandwidth plan for a large worksite will cause frustrations to staff, potential OH&S issues and a need to increase the plan.

Likewise, it is equally as easy for an organisation to overspend on bandwidth. This tends to happen when a project has considered their user volume and application requirements during peak periods and purchased a fixed fee per month plan at the peak volume.


How will your bandwidth change during a project lifecycle?

To avoid overspending or under-purchasing, you need to look at your bandwidth usage across the complete project. Or, in as much of it as you can plan for in the case of open-ended projects. This might look something like this:

  1. John Smith sends a small, two-person, exploration team out to a remote site. As there are only two of them and they are only using basic applications, they need light bandwidth.
  2. John sends three more workers out to the site. The light bandwidth requirement is still light but needs to be increased from 1/0.25 Mbps to 2/0.5 Mbps to allow for the additional users.
  3. With initial work completed, John deploys a further 75 workers to the camp. At this point, the applications in use also increase. Bandwidth is required for both business operations (file access, data sharing, monitoring etc) and, to maintain the wellbeing of staff, for personal use (VoIP, streaming etc). John now has a heavy bandwidth requirement.
  4. After six months, the team is reduced to 25 people on site, with the same applications in use. John now has a moderate bandwidth requirement.

By looking at the bandwidth fluctuations, it is easy to see why purchasing light bandwidth, as a result of a pre-set budget, will result in needing more. But, if John were to invest in a fixed monthly plan, he would need to purchase a heavy bandwidth plan to ensure he has the connectivity he needs during the busier six months at camp. What should John do?


Saving money with scalable solutions

First and foremost, John should share his knowledge of the change in bandwidth requirements with his geo-remote connectivity provider. If the provider remains rigid and cannot offer a solution to accommodate peaks and troughs, then it might be time to consider switching suppliers.

Secondly remember that your first choice does not have to be your final choice. If you purchase the wrong bandwidth plan, get back in touch with your supplier and update the plan based on the evidential data you now have. You should be able to up or downscale your bandwidth as required.

This is important to consider if your project or business plans change unexpectedly, a scenario we can all relate to in the wake of COVID-19. Most, if not all, of us witnessed businesses having to quickly pivot and adapt to the changing business landscape.

When looking at your bandwidth requirements, a helpful place to start is to ask yourself the following five questions:

  1. How many users will there be, will this change?
  2. How many applications will be run and what type?
  3. What are the project OH&S requirements?
  4. Are you dealing with the end to end satellite operator?
  5. Do you have enough budget for the above requirements?


Coming soon…. Dynamic bandwidth

 At Orion, we understand that your bandwidth requirements don’t remain the same day to day, week to week or month to month. Enabled by our end-to-end owner operator infrastructure, we are working on a new service plan that will remove manual processes and empower you to control your bandwidth from an online portal.

Whether you need to schedule the plan to standby during a temporary shutdown or activate burst capability to allow for significant peaks in bandwidth usage, our new dynamic plans will put you in the driving seat. Stay tuned for more information on the plans and how they will allow you to only pay for the bandwidth you need.


Now is the time to talk bandwidth

We’ve got to start talking about how much bandwidth businesses require. Organisations that need geo-remote connectivity, or critical connectivity, need to bring bandwidth to the forefront and allocate budget based on needs, not the other way around. To easily estimate your bandwidth requirements, use our quick guide that accounts for usage type and volume. If you would like to discuss your bandwidth in more detail, contact Orion today.

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