Get Your Internet to Work as Fast as You Do

Five simple tips for increasing your online connection speed and reducing time spent waiting.

July/August 2016

On average, we wait between three and ten seconds for a webpage to load. If you consider how much time you spend on websites, cloud-based software and apps, that can quickly add up to several minutes per day, and by week’s end, several hours-- just waiting.

Anything that prevents seamless internet access is a real productivity killer for you and your employees. However, according to Martin Watson, a Senior Product Manager of Internet Services, there are four key areas you should focus on to ensure you are getting the most productivity out of your Internet service.

Tip #1: Calculate your bandwidth needs

The first step is to be sure your Internet speed is right-sized for your needs. According to Watson, the basic rule of thumb is to get 5 Mbps (megabits per second) of throughput per computer in your business. What does this mean in practice? If you have five computers, you will need at least 25Mbps.

Bear in mind that your business activities will also determine how much bandwidth you need. For example, a florist will likely need less bandwidth than a printer, because a florist doesn’t send large files back and forth to clients. You should also take into consideration the types of Internet traffic your business creates. For example, if you have regular video conferencing meetings, work with cloud-based apps like Salesforce, or use multiple point-of-sale systems, you should probably step up above the 5 Mbps-per-computer rule.

For more specific questions about bandwidth needs, Time Warner Cable Business Class has created a guide, as well as one-on-one consultations about business internet needs.

Tip #2: Anticipate the number of WiFi users

Multiple users connecting to your Internet service via WiFi will slow down your Internet speed. The FCC published a guide to help consumers understand how much bandwidth is required per user per device. For example, interactive webpages or short videos require 1 Mbps, and a VoIP call requires 0.5 Mbps.

Take inventory of how many devices are using your WiFi connection and what activities they are being used for. Consider implementing policies that limit known bandwidth hogs, such as streaming services (Netflix, YouTube, Hulu) and video chatting services (Skype, Google Hangouts). 

If there are certain times in the day when there are more people connecting through your company’s WiFi, you may want to add a WiFi hotspot connection for customers or clients. WiFi hotspots can provide an additional source of bandwidth, alleviating the amount of data and traffic over your main Internet connection. While hotspot speeds and capacities vary depending on the amount of traffic and your location, Watson says it’s a product your customers will enjoy using, and added that a WiFi hotspot comes free with Time Warner Cable Business Class Internet service and can also help market your business. 

Tip #3: Choose a faster browser

Some Internet browsers are faster than others. Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox are among the fastest browsers available today.

Websites contain a variety of media embedded in them—everything from Flash animations to images to videos. These elements take time to load, and some browsers load media more quickly than others. Each has its own unique features, and depending on how and what you browse, one browser may meet your needs better than another. No matter which one you choose, make sure you are using the latest version.

Tip #4: Remove interference

Electronic devices, such as cordless phones, mobile phones, security systems and motion detector lights can interfere with your Internet speed because they operate at similar bandwidths as your WiFi. A similar GHz signal from multiple devices can cause interference. Clear your workspace and power down any unused devices while you are working online. Also try repositioning your router away from devices to increase speed. While this tip may be simple, it’s very effective.

Tip #5: Lack of security can slow you down…and more

There could be a hidden culprit that’s doing more than slowing down your connection. While cyberattacks on big banks and national retailers make headlines, smaller businesses are just as vulnerable to DNS attacks (an attack in which hackers divert traffic to his or her computer), viruses, malware and even ransomware. These kinds of undetected attacks can slow down your ability to do business and ultimately impact your bottom line. What’s worse is that you or an employee may have downloaded malware and have no indication of it for months. But an unexplained decrease in Internet speed may be one of the first signs of a cyber attack.

Too often, business owners look to beef up security after an attack has occurred, and that, according to Watson, is almost always too late. According to him, only .02% of small business Internet customers have taken advantage of the free McAfee antivirus security software that comes with Time Warner Cable Business Class Internet.

“The free software provided to Time Warner Cable Business Class customers is a great starting point,” Watson says. “All it takes is a simple click to activate it. The amount of pain that could be prevented by getting the antivirus software is huge.”

For an additional layer of protection, Watson suggests that you sign up for a daily data back-up service. There is also the option of purchasing a managed security solution from Time Warner Cable Business Class to dynamically monitor your system for as low as $38 a month, which allows you to adjust and respond to attacks if need be. The peace of mind and assurance of business continuity is a huge advantage.

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