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If you’re old enough, you probably remember the days of dial-up Internet. Having to wait until everyone was off the phone before you dialed in. Listening to the familiar sound of your Internet trying to connect. Then waiting impatiently as the images on the webpage you were trying to visit appeared one by one – pixel by painful pixel.

Now compare that to the Internet available today. It’s clear we’ve come a long way. And that’s even before you consider the ultra-high-speed Gigabit Internet that’s becoming all the rage.

Far removed from that dial-up Internet of yesteryear, Gigabit Internet is the “faster than a speeding bullet” version of an Internet connection. It’s obvious, then, why everyone is getting excited about it.

But does every business actually need superhero Internet speeds?

What is Gigabit Internet?

Offering speeds of up to 1 Gbps per second, Gigabit Internet unlocks the potential to do more: more cloud computing, more video conferencing, more streaming. Never mind waiting for anything – it offers faster download and upload speeds, across more employees using more devices.

Still, Gigabit Internet isn’t for every business. To find out if it’s something yours might need, let’s take a closer look at what 1 Gbps gets you and who might benefit from it.

What does 1 Gbps really mean?

A gigabit is 1,000 megabits (Mbps) – or about 100 times more bandwidth than the Internet you probably have at home. But business needs are different than residential. Businesses as a whole require faster, more reliable Internet, with enough bandwidth to cover their daily requirements.

Just how fast, though, depends on your business.

To help you make that decision, let’s start with a quick refresher on what we mean by “bandwidth” and “speed”:

  • Internet bandwidth is the amount of data you’re able to send and receive over your Internet connection during a single second. It’s typically measured in Mbps – or, now, in Gbps. In other words, Gigabit Internet can transfer up to 1 Gbps of information in one second. And while we can all agree that’s pretty cool, it isn’t always necessary – and isn’t even possible without the right infrastructure in place. In fact, you won’t be getting 1 Gbps of bandwidth at all without the speeds to support it.

  • Internet speed is how fast data arrives to you – which of course is related to bandwidth, but isn’t the same. Your network speed measures the maximum transfer rate of your data, not the amount of data transferred. Your speed, though, does affect your bandwidth – while your connection might be capable of transferring 1 Gbps in theory, slower Internet speeds keep you from achieving that in reality. A high-performance Internet network, like those available through fibre, will help.

To get the most out of Gigabit Internet, then, you need both the requisite bandwidth and enough speed to support it. Your hardware, Internet provider and local infrastructure will all play a part.

Does your business even need Gigabit Internet?

But we’ve left the most important question for last. That is: does your business actually require 1 Gbps of Internet? Bandwidths of 1,000, 250 or even 50 Mbps still offer an experience far above the dial-up connections of yesteryear – and for many businesses, they’re enough.

If you are considering Gigabit Internet for your business, here are a few things to think about:

  • How many employees do you have online at any given time? If you have a small company, or one that’s largely offline, 1 Gbps may be more than you really need. A business made up of computer engineers or developers who use the Internet intensely all day every day, on the other hand, may benefit from 1 Gbps.
  • How much video conferencing do you do? Video conferencing tools like Zoom have become the norm for a lot of businesses today, replacing traditional conference calls or in-person meetings. And more sophisticated platforms allow hundreds or thousands of people to join virtual events hosted online from around the globe. Higher bandwidths like those that come with Gigabit Internet can help that kind of video conferencing run more smoothly.

  • What about cloud computing? Many businesses today rely on cloud computing options every day. In fact, the use of cloud-based software has become standard operating procedure. But if you want to stay productive, it also requires enough speed and bandwidth to operate smoothly. If enough employees need to access those cloud applications at any given time, solutions like Gigabit Internet might be the right option.

To truly understand whether Gigabit Internet is right for you, though, a conversation with your Internet provider is the best place to start. They can help you assess your needs and connect you with the best Internet for your business – whether that comes with 1 Gbps or not.

Talk to an Account Manager today to find out if 1 Gbps Internet right for you.