Network performance, including upload speed over the Internet, is affected by several factors. When you order Internet service for your business, the service provider limits you to the upload and download speeds specified by the product you subscribed to. For example, you might be on a “performance” cable Internet plan that offers download speeds up to 20 megabits per second (Mbps) and upload speeds up to 4 Mbps. In this case, you cannot achieve upload speeds faster than 4 Mbps without upgrading your service. If you are not satisfied with your upload speed, you’ll need to troubleshoot your network and computers to determine if a bottleneck exists.
Reboot your modem and any routers or switches by unplugging their power cables and plugging them back in. Allow a minute or two for the devices to reboot.
Visit a free bandwidth speed testing site, such as Ookla’s Speedtest, Megapath’s Speakeasy Speed Test or Bandwidth.com’s Internet Speed Test (see Resources) and run a bandwidth test. The site you choose will conduct a ping test against a local server and tell you what your upload and download speeds are. Before running the test, make sure that nobody in your office is doing anything unusually network-intensive, such as uploading or downloading large files. Everyone should be using the service as they normally would.
Conduct a second test after business hours on a PC or laptop physically connected directly to your Internet service provider’s (ISP’s) modem.
Compare the results from the two speed tests with the speed advertised by your ISP for your Internet subscription. You can find this information by logging in to your company account on the ISP’s website, or by referencing your monthly bill. If both tests are reasonably close to the advertised upload speed for your Internet plan, you will probably not be able to improve upload speed without upgrading your service plan. If the second test (performed after business hours via a direct modem connection) was significantly slower than your plan advertises, retry using a second computer. If you get the same results, contact your ISP, as there may be an issue with your service. If the second test was acceptable but the first one (performed under normal network conditions) was not, continue following the steps below.
Make sure all computers in your office have anti-virus software installed and are up-to-date on their definitions. Malware can initiate network activity behind the scenes and take up valuable bandwidth that affects everyone connected.
Consider the number of routers and switches in use, and determine if you can remove any of them. Any device that sits between your modem and computer can slow your upload speed, especially routers and layer 3 switches, which may be configured to filter outgoing and incoming traffic. For example, one common mistake people make in small offices with limited data drops is to daisy-chain several desktop switches in order to connect someone to the office’s main switch. Since each switch filters network traffic, the employee will suffer significant performance degradation. In a case like this, it’s much better to connect the employee using a long Ethernet cable (as long as the cable doesn’t exceed 328 feet).
Consider going hard-wired if your office is wireless. Wireless connections are usually slower than cabled connections. Alternatively, if your wireless equipment uses Wireless G, consider upgrading to Wireless N. This upgrade (depending on physical environment) may offer speeds on par with cabled connections.
Upgrade your Internet service to a faster service package or switch ISPs if you’ve made all possible modifications to your network and are still dissatisfied with your upload speeds. If you use DSL, consider upgrading to cable, which offers higher connection speeds in many cases. Also, consumer level plans are not meant to handle traffic from more than a few computers on a small, simple network. If you are on a consumer plan, you might consider switching to a business-grade service. Business plans typically offer higher speed and throughput as well as better customer service.
Thanks for checking out our 8-step guide. If you find yourself in need of extra support, or you just need someone to come in and take the reins for you, CTI Technology is just a call away. CTI can send out one of our Engineers to conduct a thorough network assessment for your office and bring you a completed report that shows you how healthy your network is and what steps you need to take to boost your speeds to be more productive.
Here we have created a quick video that explains how important a healthy network is for your business to operate smoothly.