Accurately predicting BoD requirements

As technological trends emerge, businesses need to stay on top of them in order to maintain market share or even increase it. Bandwidth on demand is one of these latest innovations that companies of all sizes are looking to adopt. The benefits range from a reduction of spending to improved network performance to increased employee productivity.

A concern, however, is choosing the optimal limit of bandwidth. Opting for too low of a speed can cause a business to reinvest in network infrastructure, which will be costly, or a company could opt for too much speed and find themselves spending unnecessarily. With a little foresight and planning, any organization can choose the perfect BoD plan for the present and future. So, what factors should businesses consider?

Analyze the past
Bandwidth has come a long way. The speeds that were once thought of as adequate in the past are now considered far too slow for any processes. It is hard to believe that businesses used to use less than 1mb per second, but that is the reality. In fact, ZDNet cited a theory by Jakob Nielsen called the law of Internet bandwidth, which states that a high-end user's connection speeds will increase by 50 percent every year. Despite these drastic changes in demand, organizations can use the past as an accurate means of predicting their future bandwidth needs.

One great way to analyze how bandwidth has been used is with tools. These can track the changes in demand on an hourly, daily, weekly and monthly basis. This is perfect for determining the maximums and minimums of bandwidth use. For example, on a daily chart, a business might notice that users are increasing only 20 percent of their bandwidth allocations in the morning. This might cause some leaders to determine that they are paying for too much. However, with the right tools, the same company can find that come mid-afternoon, bandwidth usage has jumped to 80 percent of its allocated limit.

These processes can change even more on a monthly basis. Financial firms, for instance, will use less bandwidth in the summer than they will during tax season for obvious reasons. This is why it is important to look that the past before determining the bandwidth limit, and the same reason stands for why bandwidth on demand has proven to be very valuable to organizations.

Foresee the future
Despite the past bandwidth use of a business, that information still needs to be compared to the future, as skimping out on expected usage levels can lead to some sticky financial situations. After all, it might seem reasonable to guess that the past will predict the future, but what happens when a company starts using the cloud? The answer is that its bandwidth needs will increase rapidly.

In order to gain insights into what the future might hold for businesses and bandwidth, experts can provide some details. Gartner recently identified the top 10 strategic technology trends for 2015, and on this list are many innovations that will cause organizations to use more bandwidth. Some obvious examples are cloud computing, which will increase a company's reliance on up speeds and down speeds, and the Internet of Things, which entails many devices all connecting to the Internet at once and will most certainly boost any businesses' reliance on more bandwidth.

Then, there are some technological trends that organizations might forget about when considering bandwidth requirements. The increased need for analytics tools will result in businesses sending and receiving a large quantity of data on a regular basis, especially if the analysis processes take place in cloud environments. Additionally, IT leaders should consider how much they will rely on smartphones, tablets and wearable devices. Instead of only approved computers, employees will be connecting to corporate networks with multiple mobile devices at once, causing bandwidth needs to dramatically increase. How about 3-D printing? Not every company will have a use for this process, but it is important to take into consideration for some, as 3-D printer shipments are expected to grow by 98 percent in 2015, according to Gartner. Predicting the use of these trends can make a big difference in which bandwidth on demand limits an organization chooses.

Consider prioritizing
All of these new technologies might seem overwhelming in regard to choosing a BoD solution, but they do not have be. With some BoD offerings, businesses can pick which network traffic has priority. This can help bandwidth remain at steady levels and ensure that it is delivered to the appropriate resources. eWEEK recently cited a report that found which technologies use bandwidth the most, discovering that 29 percent of allocations are spent of business applications, while email takes up about 19 percent. Numbers like this can help put bandwidth usage into perspective.

Finding the best level of BoD might seem intimidating, but it really is not, with a little bit of planning and research. If there are any problems, business leaders can always consult the professionals.

John Hanton is a Product Manager at XO Communications, a telecommunication services provider that specializes in providing enterprise networking solutions globally. John has an extensive background in networking and his position embraces product ownership of IP VPN, VPLS, Network Enabled Cloud and International Data Services.

Accurately predicting BoD requirements