What happens when you use up all your bandwidth?

Posted on 2012-04-12
Last Modified: 2012-04-17
I know it seems like such a basic question but I just would like to know for sure.  For example we have 7 T1's which equates to 10MBps and my ISP (XO) said we are utilizing like 9 of the 10 MBps and we should upgrade to fiber and sign a new contract with them.  

So i would like to know what are the ramifications of using up 9 of 10 MBps on a regular basis.  

I want to go fiber because other companies are offering me 20 MBps of half the price but Im in a contract.  

So before I go into the meeting Im just looking to get educated :)  When you google, "what happens with I use up all my bandwidth" it gets hits relating to people who have websites not the situaiton I am talking about.  

Thanks is advance.
Question by:MsAileenS
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LVL 17

Expert Comment

ID: 37839979

In short, nothing will happen if you consistently use 9 of 10 MB cap and you never exceed 9 MB.  The reason they contacted you is that since you are near the max, if your demands grow, then the 10 MB limit will become detrimental unless you go fiber.  So in this case, your ISP is looking for you, and themselves of course. :)
LVL 10

Expert Comment

ID: 37839980
If your using 9mb of 10mb constantly then your users will start seeing slowness of web browsing. Anything coming in or out will be slow. Remember you have a max of 10 mb but in that includes any overhead which my rule of thumb is 20-30%
LVL 40

Assisted Solution

by:Kyle Abrahams
Kyle Abrahams earned 250 total points
ID: 37839996
It means that no more connections can get through.  

Think of it like a funnel . . . with your LAN being the entry point and your T1's being the bottom part of the funnel.  As requests go in, some of them will get served, and others will eventually time out.  If space becomes available because a request was served the next request jumps in the queue, with a new request being "poured in" to the funnel.

How many users do you have?  Ways to cut down on bandwidth is to enforce policy regarding video/audio streaming.  Your network people may be able to help you analyze what exactly is taking up so much bandwidth.

Some fiber companies may be willing to buy you out of the contract (eg: pay any termination fees).  Another negotiating point to bring up depending on how badly they want your business.  It may also be cost effective to absorb the upfront cancelation fees as you will recoup that money over time while expanding your capacity.

Hope that helps.
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LVL 10

Expert Comment

by:Scott Silva
ID: 37840052
It could also mean that some of your users are hogging bandwidth that they shouldn't be using, by doing things like internet radio, video, or maybe bittorrent. The company pays for the bandwidth, but doesn't have to allow such behavior if it doesn't want to.

Author Comment

ID: 37840134
All excellent answers thanks!  The other companies I talked to will waive the installation costs but won't pay the ETF fees.  I think you are exactly right I need to see what my users are doing, what is eating up my bandwidth.  Today my wireless was down and the biggest complaint was people can't get to Pandora on their ipods.  

Any ideas on how I can see traffic stats?  Like a program I could use?  I don't have network peeople, Im it :)  So you can see my dilemma.
LVL 17

Assisted Solution

bigeven2002 earned 125 total points
ID: 37840179
Probably a good free monitor is Microsoft network monitor, it looks at all raw traffic going across the network.  For system specific, try wireshark.  Some of the stuff you see may look like hieroglyphics but it is atleast a start.
LVL 10

Expert Comment

by:Scott Silva
ID: 37840294
The first thing is to get your company to state in a written policy that it is not allowed... If the company won't write the policy, it is hard to get the employees to cooperate. Block as much as you can at your firewall...

Expert Comment

ID: 37841090
Go with Fiber!  Especially if it's half the price!  It's a lot faster, and has the potential to become faster that it is now in the future.

If it's cost effective, break the contract, pay the break contract fee, and get it.
LVL 11

Accepted Solution

Khandakar Ashfaqur Rahman earned 125 total points
ID: 37841832
Well, your question is "What happens when you use up all your bandwidth"

The answer is:
1. You'll encounter PKT loss
2. Latency will become high
3. Most of the users of your network will encounter slow speed except some users who are using more bandwidth

Whatever you use Fiber or VSAT or any other media remember that your bandwidth is fixed.The differene you'll see is  latency. Fiber has less latency than other media.Another reason is cost.

So, I'd recommend you to control bandwidth per user/group base.A lot of bandwidth controllers are available now a days that can do this.I use Mikrotik Box and works fine and cheap too:
LVL 40

Assisted Solution

by:Kyle Abrahams
Kyle Abrahams earned 250 total points
ID: 37842580
What kind of equipment are you dealing with?  Depending on the complexity of the devices, some of them provide logging and filtering.  If you're using a home router, the only thing I can think of is something like wireshark . . . but that's essentially network sniffing.  Very complex and hard to read.

A Written [Enforcable] policy is something that would alleviate the bandwidth problems.  If most people are using pandora, even at 56k per connection (not that much if just one person) but * 100 and all of the sudden you're up to 5.6 mb or 1/2 your total bandwidth.  Suggest alternatives such as just using their ipods own library of music, bringing in CDs from home or using an old fashioned AM/FM receiver.  

Music helps the day go by and keeps people happy and productive.  But it needs to be balanced with the needs of the corporation.

What's the ROI in terms of time?   EG:  How long would it take for the savings to pay back the Termination Fee?

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