How Much Is Poor Connectivity Costing Your Business?

poor connectivity

In 2022, research teams from Three UK in partnership with YouGov and Development Economics, concluded that SMEs in the UK are collectively losing revenue to the tune of £18.77 billion.

Efforts to improve internet speeds are still underway, but many businesses are not seeing results. I doubt the general public is either. Is 5G really any faster than 4G? If it is, it’s not noticeable.

On average, micro-businesses and SMEs in the UK lose around 250 hours of productivity a week. Slow internet speeds and dropped connections are even worse in densely populated areas and rural areas using outdated copper wire networks for broadband.

In today’s digital age, businesses rely heavily on connectivity to drive operations, communicate with clients, and access vital information. With an estimated 66% of the global population contributing to internet traffic, connectivity is becoming an issue.

But it’s not just the sheer number of users that is creating the problem. It’s also how we’re using broadband networks. Increased demand for data-heavy services like streaming, gaming, and video conferencing put a huge strain on networks leading to slower speeds for users.

Poor connectivity can hinder productivity, frustrate employees, and lead to missed opportunities in the market. Unreliable telecom networks and questionable infrastructure are preventing small businesses from maintaining a competitive edge.

poor connectivity

How is poor connectivity costing your business?

One of the most significant costs of poor connectivity is the loss of productivity. Slow internet speeds, frequent disconnections, and unreliable networks can lead to wasted time for employees. Tasks that should take minutes may end up taking hours, reducing overall efficiency and output.

The bugbears are things like employees waiting for files to upload or struggling to access essential systems. Not only is it frustrating for employees, this loss of productivity directly affects the bottom line, as time spent on unproductive tasks translates to wasted resources.

Lost productivity can be even more of an issue among remote workers. Poor connectivity in homes can hinder remote collaboration, making it challenging to attend virtual meetings, share files, or access business portals. This can lead to delays in projects, miscommunication among team members, and decreased overall efficiency in remote work setups.

Poor connectivity can also result in missed opportunities, particularly in customer-facing roles. Delayed responses to customer inquiries, slow-loading websites, or interrupted online transactions can drive customers away to competitors with better connectivity.

Customers today expect seamless and efficient online experiences. Slow website loading times, buffering videos, or interrupted transactions can frustrate customers and damage your business’s reputation.

Imagine a potential client trying to place an order on your website, only to be met with errors and slow loading times. The frustration could lead them to abandon their purchase and turn to a competitor, resulting in a direct loss of revenue.

A dissatisfied customer is unlikely to return, leading to a potential loss of repeat business and negative word-of-mouth advertising. In a competitive market, maintaining a positive online presence is crucial, and poor connectivity can directly impact customer satisfaction.

Businesses with poor connectivity often find themselves spending more on IT support to address issues. Whether it’s troubleshooting network problems, dealing with dropped connections, or managing slow internet speeds, the need for IT intervention can become a recurring cost. These additional support expenses can quickly add up, further straining the business’s budget.

How can businesses improve poor connectivity?

New technologies and strategies provide next-generation connectivity with a boost. Modern, high-quality equipment provides better coverage, faster speeds, and improved reliability.

However, if you find that upgrading your IT infrastructure overstretches your budget, take advantage of affordable rates offered by Managed Service Providers. Micro Pro specialise in managing and optimising network infrastructure and can provide your businesses with expertise, resources, and ongoing support to improve connectivity and maintain network health.

To improve poor connectivity, system architects will typically start by upgrading routers, switches, and access points to improve network performance.

Newer switches with higher port speeds (such as Gigabit Ethernet) can improve the speed and throughput of data transfers within the local network. This is particularly beneficial for transferring large files between devices.

Upgrading access points to the latest Wi-Fi standards (such as Wi-Fi 6) increases the maximum data rates and overall network capacity. This results in faster and more reliable wireless connections for devices like laptops, smartphones, and tablets.

Software-Defined Wide Area Network (SD-WAN) solutions optimise network performance by dynamically routing traffic based on real-time conditions. These  solutions are revolutionising the way businesses manage and optimise their network performance

SD-WAN continuously monitors the performance of available network paths, such as MPLS, broadband, or cellular connections. If one network link experiences issues, SD-WAN can quickly reroute traffic to another available link without interruption, ensuring continuous connectivity and minimal downtime. Moreover, it intelligently selects the best path for each application based on real-time conditions like latency, jitter, and packet loss.

This dynamic path selection prioritises different types of traffic based on application requirements and ensures that critical applications, such as VoIP calls or video conferencing, are routed through the most reliable and efficient path, minimising latency and ensuring a smooth user experience.

Moving to cloud-based services can offload network traffic and reduce strain on internal networks. Instead of retrieving data from on-site servers, employees access cloud-based applications and data directly from the provider’s servers, reducing the load on internal networks.

maximise cloud solutions

Many cloud providers utilise Content Delivery Networks (CDNs) to distribute content closer to end-users. CDNs cache content at multiple edge locations worldwide.

Cloud services also deploy edge computing which brings resources closer to the source of data and reduces the need to send data back and forth to a centralised data centre. When a user requests content, such as a webpage or video, the CDN serves the content from the nearest edge location. This reduces the distance data needs to travel, improving response times and reducing strain on the main network.

In addition, cloud-based services often employ traffic optimisation techniques such as data compression and deduplication. Data compression reduces the size of data packets transmitted over the network, reducing bandwidth usage. Deduplication identifies and eliminates duplicate data, further reducing the amount of data transmitted.

Strategies for Improving Poor Connectivity

Whilst new technologies can play a significant role in improving network connectivity and load speeds, IT support teams can enhance the performance of your broadband by utilising high availability strategies.

Load balancing ensures that network traffic is evenly distributed across multiple broadband connections. They continuously monitor the performance of each broadband connection and dynamically adjust traffic distribution based on real-time conditions.

If one connection starts to experience congestion or latency, the load balancer can redirect traffic to the less congested connections, ensuring efficient traffic management. This prevents any single connection from becoming overloaded. By distributing traffic, load balancing maximises the available bandwidth of each connection, reducing congestion and improving overall network performance.

Load balancing provides redundancy by using multiple broadband connections simultaneously. If one connection fails or experiences issues, traffic can automatically be rerouted to the remaining connections. This ensures continuous connectivity and minimises downtime. Even if one connection is down, the network remains operational through the remaining connections.

This strategy is particularly beneficial for applications that require high bandwidth, such as video streaming, VoIP calls, and large file downloads. By distributing the load across multiple connections, load balancing ensures these applications receive the necessary bandwidth and maintain optimal performance.

The beauty of this strategy is that it is far more cost-effective than investing in new infrastructure and technologies. Load balancing helps businesses save on costs by optimising the use of existing broadband connections. Rather than investing in expensive high-capacity connections, load balancing allows businesses to combine multiple lower-cost connections to achieve a superior performance.

Another cost-effective solution is to implement Quality of Service (QoS) Policies. QoS policies are designed to improve poor network connectivity by prioritising certain types of traffic over others. QoS ensures that critical applications receive the necessary bandwidth and network resources they require, resulting in improved performance and reduced latency.

Regular network audits are also recommended to identify areas of weakness and inefficiencies in network infrastructure. By addressing bottlenecks, businesses can optimise their network for better performance and reliability.

Consider Satellite Internet

If your business is based in rural areas or the broadband infrastructure still runs through old copper wires rather than fibre optic cables, you might want to consider signing up for satellite internet.

starlink satellite broadband system

I previously wrote an article about how Elon Musk’s Starlink Satellite has improved my home Wi-Fi from a patchy piece of you-know-what to hitting speeds around 150Mbps. The average internet speed through traditional ISPs is 119 Mbps.

Satellite internet solves all the problems that existing ISPs are unable to provide in remote or rural areas where traditional wired options like DSL or cable are not available. Businesses in remote locations, such as construction sites, oil rigs, or rural offices, can benefit from satellite internet to stay connected.

What’s more, satellite internet can be quickly deployed without the need for extensive infrastructure setup. This is advantageous for temporary sites or events where immediate internet access is required for a short time.

Satellite internet is less susceptible to physical infrastructure damage, such as from severe weather conditions or natural disasters. In theory, at least, satellites are expected to provide a reliable connection even in areas prone to power outages or network disruptions like the recent damage to cables in the Red Sea.

However, the marketing doesn’t describe the full truth. Satellites rely on wireless connectivity which can cause latency due to more interference. If the signal is obstructed by trees, buildings or precipitation the strength and performance of your connection can be compromised.

Starlink subscriptions are also much more costly than fibre optic solutions. Mr Musk has promised to beam satellite internet services into the homes of low-income families at some point, but that feels like a long way off just yet. It’s hard to see a sufficient uptake in urban areas given the latency issues caused by trees, high-rise buildings and bad weather.

Having said that, Starlink is widely reported as a “game-changer” and could, someday, provide everybody with faster, more reliable internet at affordable rates. For the time being, we expect most businesses to stick with fibre-based internet plans.

IT Support in London

If poor connectivity is significantly impacting your business operations, infringing on your uptime, decreasing productivity, and frustrating employees, utilising the expertise of our IT support specialists in London can provide effective solutions.

Our IT team serves as an extension to your in-house activities and can help resolve common, mundane problems that typically serve as a distraction to on-premise IT teams.

In the initial stages, we implement high availability strategies and bandwidth management to allocate resources effectively. This ensures that bandwidth is distributed appropriately across your network, preventing bottlenecks and slowdowns during peak usage times.

Moving forward, we continuously monitor your network for potential issues, such as network congestion or hardware failure and proactively address these issues. By preventing poor connectivity, we optimise your network for performance, ensuring that data flows smoothly and efficiently.

If necessary, we will also enhance your network security, protecting your data from cyber threats that could compromise connectivity. Firewalls, intrusion detection systems, and encryption protocols safeguard your network, ensuring a secure and reliable connection.

For more information about how our IT specialists in London can improve the internet speeds and productivity of your business contact us today.

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