Why is more internet bandwidth not fixing remote worker performance?

Why is more internet bandwidth not fixing remote worker performance?

In light of current events, more and more organizations are asking staff to work remotely, which brings on a new set of challenges. Due to higher internet usage by everyone, the internet itself is slowing down. Companies like Netflix are even downgrading video quality in order to preserve bandwidth and lower the impact on everyone else. Organizations today are tasked to think outside of the box and look for ways to eliminate business inefficiencies.

Although you may not usually consider your home setup, it’s not always able to function as a workspace. Enterprise connections have drastically different requirements than residential connections. It’s not about watching Netflix on the highest quality setting anymore, but about whether you’re able to process and download files that are often time-sensitive or critical.

Especially with households potentially having multiple people working or learning from home at the same time, broadband can get stretched thin. With each additional person joining your network, your share of the bandwidth decreases, and your download time will get exponentially longer. As you can imagine, this delay can be a nightmare for document-centric companies and organizations.

With so much uncertainty about when the situation will calm down, this is not a time to relax or take it slow. This is the time to push even harder.

Broadband status quo and requirements

2018 Ookla report found that during Q2-Q3, the average download speed over fixed broadband in the U.S. was 95.25 Mbps during Q2-Q3. To provide some context, the general download speed requirements for downloading large files is 200+ Mbps. Minimum.

As defined by the FCC, a “broadband” internet connection provides at least 25 Mbps for download speed. While this may be a decent benchmark for the average family, it may not be enough for your work usage. Considering the fact that an estimated 42.8 million Americans are without stable broadband, there is clearly a deficiency that, if left unaddressed, will continue to cause delays and other issues.

The effect on business efficiency

Employees working from home are experiencing poor connectivity and slowdowns when retrieving and opening documents. These internet bandwidth shortcomings are slowing down productivity in many different ways.

One major obstacle that is often overlooked is the time spent waiting for files to upload, download, and open. When you don’t have enough bandwidth to support the download of files, download times can get exceedingly long, and sometimes completely fail midway. When you have to download multiple files for work, the delays only compound upon each other. Not only does this waste hours of productivity, but also cause employee frustration due to slow internet speeds.

In addition, this has a very tangible effect on business efficiency. Even here at Foxit, VPN speeds are a big bottleneck. Since everything that goes out to all remote workstations must pass through the VPN, large file downloads have an impact on everyone else. Having to wait longer for documents to open largely slows down employee response rates, which in turn delays customer requests and results in a poorer customer experience.

Accessing documents remotely

So, what can be done? You could pay more for more bandwidth, but to be honest, you likely won’t get close to the speeds you’re paying for, at least not over a sustained period of time. Furthermore, even if everyone has high speed internet, latency may still be high. Instead, why not address the problem right at the root?

By using a compression software to reduce your documents’ file size, you can relieve many of the issues caused by deficient bandwidth. For example, Foxit’s PDF Compressor can cut download times by 50%. Less time spent waiting around leads to better productivity, more satisfied customers, and less frustrated employees.

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