3 tips for dealing with bandwidth hogs on your network

Bandwidth hogs on your network are a special type of nuisance. They make getting work done impossible – pages are slow to load, poor audio quality on voip phone lines, video calls stutter, files upload at a snail’s pace. Every company faces network trouble at some point, but what path will you take when it’s obvious there are applications hogging your bandwidth. It’s time to take control.

The the way you manage your network comes down to how you empower your team, and how your company values engagement and productivity. Last year we wrote that over 87% of workers feel disengaged at work and the work environment was a major factor in helping employees stay productive. A healthy network that gets your team working their best is the goal, so how should you deal with the bandwidth hog?

Below are the three paths that will open up when you need to move forward with your company’s network.

Accept the slowdowns / Do Nothing

It’s not a path forward, but some people will choose to just grit their teeth and bear the slowdowns. A lack of network visibility, knowledge, and time can drain your ability to create a more productive work environment, but choosing to ignore the problem will lead to three things:

  • Performance that doesn’t align with your service plan.
  • Team frustration during slowdowns.
  • Security vulnerability from an unregulated network.

Fortunately, this isn’t the case for companies today—there are free solutions that make network monitoring easy, and give you quick visibility over network activity. Even if you can’t implement a solution immediately, try using a free tool like the Spiceworks Network Monitor to get an idea of the benefits that come with network visibility.

Draw the line

The black and white solution is to find the non-essentials that are draining bandwidth—personal devices on the company network, social media, and streaming apps—and blacklist them. Users with data plans on personal devices will still have some access to those apps, but your company network will be free of the burden, and you’ll have have a greater level of certainty of exactly what will be occurring on your bandwidth.

This is a cut-and-dry solution, but it makes for poor employee engagement and productivity. Blocking network content can lead to distrust and disengagement, and a University of Melbourne study even found that employees are almost 10% more productive when they can access the internet freely.

The hero’s path: Let your team work the way they want

The best solution for engagement, productivity, and culture is to fine-tune your network in a way that limits the non-essentials, but doesn’t block them outright. Some people work better with their favorite Pandora station streaming in the background, or by watching motivational videos. You’ll be a true network hero when you choose a path that leads to an environment that delights and empowers your team, and keeps the company secure.

With network visibility, you can zone in on the bandwidth hogs, and throttle them. Certain monitoring solutions will even send you a notification if there’s high activity on your network, so you can quickly take care of bandwidth hogs in the moment. The point is, if your team is happy and productive, it isn’t their behavior that should change to help the network. It’s the network that should change—encouraging engagement and productivity in the process.

Manage your network based on the way you empower your team with other technology. Learn about the great tools out there, Cisco Meraki’s MX gear, which can make you the network hero of your organization. Call us for a free demo, and make your network a source of delight for your team.

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