Business Tips

What Can Impact Internet Speed at Your Business?

Many things can impact your business’s Internet speed. Where you're based, how many people share your connection, and the sort of activities you conduct are just a few of them.

Here, we’ll take a look at the ways in which not having high-speed Internet for a business can be an issue, as well as the various reasons your Internet may not be performing optimally. At Optimum Business, we're committed to helping your small business thrive.

Business owner at a keyboard looking into ways to speed up the wifi

How Slow Internet Speed Can Hurt Your Business 

Put simply, high-speed Internet for businesses is a must. Without it, your output won’t be what it could be—and as you know, this comes at a cost. Research supports this fact. A SanDisk study reports that the average employee wastes one week per year waiting on their company’s network to respond. 

Here are some of the specific ways slow Internet speed can hurt your business:

  • Customers will find faster Wi-Fi elsewhere. A strong Wi-Fi connection isn’t only for the benefit of you and your team. It’s also an investment in your customers. And this rings particularly true if you offer a front-facing service such as a cafe, restaurant, or retail shop. Remember, customers need only to go down the street to seek a speedy connection elsewhere.
  • Slow Internet will hurt your customer service. If a customer had an issue, it used to be that they'd simply call. Today, your customer has come to expect multiple service options to suit their lifestyle, whether that’s live chat, video, or screen sharing. While these are cutting-edge ways to improve the customer experience, they could hurt your business even more if you don’t have the Internet speed necessary to keep up.
  • The more people working, the slower the speed. Your Wi-Fi is only as fast as the number of people it’s split between. At Optimum Business, we have created a tool to help you better decide the Internet speed you’ll need.
  • Cloud-based tools will work slowly. Most small businesses are now using the digital cloud. It makes sense. From Office 365 to G Suite, and your favorite project management tools, they all help keep you and your team on track. Tools as clever, capable, and complicated as this, however, will need a fast connection to do their job.
  • Your file sharing isn’t speedy enough. Picture this: It’s a crazy busy day. You’ve got a file ready to send over to your colleague for final checks. The rest of your team is working away on the other finishing touches. If your Wi-Fi isn’t fast enough, sending that one file can grind the rest of your work to a snail’s pace and stop everyone else from completing what they need to do.
  • Video conferences lag. Since covid, more businesses than ever before are connecting remotely. It has allowed them to operate anywhere in the world, with far greater reach. One of the best ways to do this is through video conferencing, as it offers a more personal touch than a phone call. The problem is that videos use a lot of bandwidth. Particularly if you need several members of your team on these at once, a strong connection is crucial to keeping the conversation alive.
  • You process payments slowly. If your small business is customer-facing, you’ll know that once your customer picks up the check, or gets to the checkout, they’re gearing up to go. If you have a slow Internet speed, not only is it an awkward exchange between you and your customer, but you also lose valuable minutes that will add up over time. This time could be spent serving the next person and bringing more business in.

What Can Impact Internet Speed at Your Business

If your Internet isn’t working as well as it should be, and you’re wondering what would cause slow Internet speed, there could be a few reasons for it. Here, we detail exactly what impacts Internet speed:

Weak Wi-Fi signals

One of the first things you should check is your router. If your Wi-Fi works well when you’re close to it but starts causing issues further away, you can determine that this is down to wireless interference.

The router should be placed as centrally as possible to have the best reach for you and your team. It should also be in an elevated location, away from things that can affect your Wi-Fi signaling. This includes concrete walls, Bluetooth speakers, and yes, even microwaves! If you are still having issues, it could be a sign you need a router with a better range.

More router-related issues

At the risk of sounding too obvious, sometimes the problem has a simple solution. You can also simply try unplugging your router, leaving it for a short period of time, and rebooting the system. All technical devices need a reboot every once in a while. 

Outdated devices

Ask yourself how long you have had your current router. As with any technical device, the older it is, the slower it will be. If your router is over three years old, it may be worth contacting your ISP to ask if you can get updated equipment to speed up your Internet connection. If the issue persists, it could be that your provider needs updating. 

High latency

Network latency is what happens when there is a delay in communication. Low latency means that data transfers quickly across the network, whereas high latency is when there is a noticeable lag. You’ll notice this when carrying out tasks that use a lot of data: online gaming, high-quality video calls, etc. This one can be hard to solve as it is often due to factors out of your control, such as servers, network congestion, or your Internet provider’s infrastructure.

Another thing that it could be is the type of Internet you have. Satellite Internet, for example, has high latency due to the distance it needs to travel. Alternatively, fiber Internet can handle way faster signals. At Optimum Business, you can find out more about fiber Internet for your small business.

An exceeded data cap

As the term “data cap” suggests, this allows you to use your data at a normal speed until you hit the limit—at which point it will consciously slow your usage down. You can usually check online to see how you’re pacing weekly, monthly, or annually through your provider. While many companies are discontinuing data caps due to their limitations, it’s worth checking whether yours has one before you find out the hard way.

Insufficient bandwidth

If your Internet is slow, it could be that there is more information being transmitted around your small business than there is bandwidth. Since you signed up with your Internet provider, you may have had an influx of new employees, more customers using your Wi-Fi, or perhaps you moved more of your work onto the cloud. If any of these are true, it’s likely time for an upgrade.

If this is not the case, there are a few other considerations:

  1. Do you have idle devices lying around the office? If your business has lots of Internet of Things (IoT) devices, they will all be connected to your network with their own IP address and use bandwidth. Be sure to remove any devices you no longer use from the network.
  2. Do you have a BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) policy? This has become increasingly popular due to saving on new equipment, as well as the rise of working from home. But if every employee is connecting from multiple devices (their phone, tablet, and laptop, for example), it could become too much for your bandwidth to handle. You could consider updating your BYOD policy to limit the number of devices per person.

Spyware or viruses

We all know that viruses are bad news, but did you know they can also cause a slow Internet connection? That’s right—one more reason to be vigilant with your IT security. This includes making sure that all your PC, web, and email antivirus programs are up to date. If you are having any issues with malware, you need to get in touch with cybersecurity experts right away. Some Internet service providers, including Optimum Business Internet, come with cybersecurity built in.

Check your network cables

Network cables have had a lot of upgrades to improve the speed at which they can carry data. If you want to know whether yours is one of the slower operators and potentially due for an upgrade, look out for the category (Cat) number specification somewhere on the cable:

Finally, if you do use an Ethernet cable, you should use a cable tester to check that all of the wires are still connected properly.

Types of connection

Depending on your Internet provider, there are various types of technology used to deliver your connection. These include Cable, Satellite, DSL, or Fiber—and all offer various Internet speeds.

When to Call Your Internet Service Provider

If none of the above manages to solve your problem, it may be an issue with your Internet service provider. Be sure to give them a call and explain all the troubleshooting that you’ve done so far, so they can look into a fix for you on their side. 

Do you have more questions about Internet speed? We’re here to help. You can get in touch with us using our Optimum Business support page. Alternatively, if you’re looking to get the best speed for your small business, discover more about how our fast, secure Internet can transform your productivity today.

  • Cat 5: This is the oldest and, therefore, slowest network cable, capable of running up to 100 Mbps.
  • Cat 5e: This is the most widely used network cable, supporting Gigabit Ethernet at 1,000 Mbps.
  • Cat 6/6a: This is the fastest, and it supports up to 10,000 Mbps.

Finally, if you do use an Ethernet cable, you should use a cable tester to check that all of the wires are still connected properly.

Types of connection

Depending on your Internet provider, there are various types of technology used to deliver your connection. These include Cable, Satellite, DSL, or Fiber—and all offer various Internet speeds.

  • Satellite: Given that this is sending your data to space and back, it tends to be high latency in comparison to other types of connection.
  • DSL: This uses the phone lines to carry its data and maxes out at around 100 Mbps.
  • Cable: Using coaxial cables instead of phone lines is much speedier at 1,200 Mbps.
  • Fiber: This is the fastest connection type you can get, making it particularly suitable if you’re a small business that needs to send a lot of information. It uses light pulses, guaranteeing low latency and speeds of up to 5,000 Mbps.