By: Melinda Curran. Originally posted in the Nashville Business Journal. Reposted with permission of RCG and Melinda Curran.
As our digital footprint consistently expands, keeping your network up-to-date can mean added investment. Many business owners avoid upgrades in an effort to save money, and that only hurts business-critical functions and efficiencies — losing money in the long run. Here are four sure signs your data network is due for an upgrade.
Latency issues: All networks will likely experience a degree of delay periodically, but when network latency becomes consistent, an upgrade is likely necessary. While the tipping point of latency will ultimately depend on your ability to absorb the delays online and in your applications, if all servers and devices are up to software specifications and your Local Area Network (the network that connects interoffice computers, printers, etc.) is compatible with your online usage, your data network is likely the source of your latency. This means you will need an upgrade.
Application malfunctions: Without proper network infrastructure, particularly when it comes to bandwidth size, business-critical Web applications may begin to stall or timeout frequently. This can result in unsaved or lost data—even damage to the application itself. For Internet protocol (IP) technology, such as Voice over IP (VoIP) telephones, packet dropping or delays can result in jitters or dropped calls. If you notice your applications do not perform as they once did, it may be an indicator you need to upgrade your data network.
Consistently hitting bandwidth peaks: The next time you receive your telecom bill, examine your data usage numbers. Is your office consistently hitting or nearing your bandwidth peaks? If so, keep in mind that it is unlikely you will reduce your need for data usage, so it may be best to plan for the future and install an upgrade before you experience problems.
Using networks that are being phased out: Even if your output is adequate now, if you’re using network systems that are on the path toward obsolescence, an upgrade is in your future. For example, telecom carriers are phasing out the classic Primary Rate Interface (PRI) in favor of ethernet, T1 and IP platforms. Even Digital Subscriber Line (DSL) technology is shifting toward fiber options. Not only will it be more difficult to receive support and maintenance from carriers for these networks, but carriers may also offer fee waivers or other deals to make the upgrade now.
Your network may be showing all four of these signs — if so, call your telecom carrier or solutions representative now — but even if you only have only one and it is impeding business operations, ask yourself: Can your business afford to lose valuable time, communication and connectivity?
Melinda Curran, Founder & CEO of RCG, a single-source telecom provider based in Franklin that provides all aspects of voice, data and mobility solutions to businesses across the country.