How to Avoid Slow Internet Problems When Moving Your Business
Recently a client of mine experienced delays, disruptions and slow internet problems while relocating their office. We worked together for nearly 6 months on the relocation project, and ultimately secured a fantastic space for them. The new space allowed room for future growth, provided them with the opportunity to broaden their operations, and moved them closer to their ideal geographic market in Houston. All of this was over-shadowed, however, by slow internet connectivity. Telecommunications and data service are critical in today’s business world for practically any company in any industry.
Here are some tips to minimizing disruption for your firm’s data needs during a relocation, and avoiding those dreaded slow internet problems:
1. Schedule the Move in Advance
I recommend my clients seek bids from commercial movers as early as possible when they know the anticipated move date. Likewise, it is critical to coordinate for the moving and setup of telecommunications equipment for the office. Anyone who’s ever waited around for Comcast during a 4-hour installation window knows this process can be anything but smooth. Business owners and their staff must take the time to properly coordinate the logistics of the move – to include internet service. Scheduling the move in advance will give owners the chance to review their equipment needs as well. This will identify opportunities to upgrade and avoid slow internet problems altogether.
2. Know Which Providers are Available
Each commercial property may have a different set of available providers. Often this list will be similar or exactly the same among properties in a given area – but that is no guarantee. Business owners need to verify which providers are available in their new building to avoid headaches. If their current provider is available it is possible to continue existing contracts and schedule a move more seamlessly. If a new provider is desired or necessary then timing of service disconnection and re-connection in the new office will be critical.
3. How much Speed Do you Need?
Does your business rely heavily on cloud-based storage or computing? Do you house servers onsite within your offices or remotely? Does your business need access to a fiber optic connection? Connection speed is something many business owners do not consider early on in the relocation planning process. They often have the expectation that a number of speeds will be available, but this is not always the case. In some areas of town connectivity may be less reliable, and the infrastructure may be less developed. This is often true in the outskirts of suburban submarkets or areas of new development. Internet service providers will make the investment to lay new lines when a sufficient population of customers exists in an area. Without this critical mass it can be expensive or simply impossible to get the desired service. It is important to know this early in the process of searching for new commercial space. For business owners working with their own tenant rep agent, it’s important to communicate this need early on in the process.
4. How Large is Your Office?
It is very common to use WiFi throughout the office for most businesses these days. As internet connection speeds have improved and technology advanced, the hard-wired connection has become less of an imperative. If staff are experiencing slow internet connections it could be a result of range issues with your WiFi router. For smaller offices with less than 10 people it is typical for a single router to work reliably with no range issues or slow internet problems. If the office is larger than 3,000sf and supports staff counts higher than 10 on a daily basis the WiFi router range may cause slow connections for some staff. The exact range of your particular WiFi router can vary so check the specs or consult with your IT solutions provider to determine if this is a potential issue.
5. Do You Have a Dual Band WiFi Router?
Many WiFi routers are capable of transmitting over multiple bands or frequencies. The most common are 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz. A router that can operate over both frequencies simultaneously is preferred to avoid slow internet issues, especially those resulting from range issues. For users with newer computers and devices the 5 GHz connection will be available because their wireless adapter supports it. The 5 GHz frequency will allow faster connection speeds, but sacrifices some range. The 2.4 GHz frequency will have a slower connection speed (bandwidth) but will have a longer range. For this reason, having a dual band router in the office can be very useful for diagnosing slow internet problems. Staff located closer to the WiFi router may be able to connect to the 5 GHz network and enjoy faster speeds. Staff with older model equipment, or which are located farther from the router in the office may need to use the 2.4 GHz frequency to take advantage of the extended range. I recommend working with an IT consulting firm to review the technical specs of your router and determine the best way to set up your network.
6. When to Use a Hard-Wired Connection
The final point I’d like to make is considering a hard-wired connection versus using a WiFi / wireless connection. WiFi connections offer ease of use for busy staff, and allow anyone to pickup a laptop and walk across the office without losing connection. However, there are some cases when it makes sense to utilize a CAT5 or 6 cable and hard-wire your equipment. Obviously if you have a large, network-connected multi-function printer it will need to be connected via cable. If your office uses VOIP phones these will need to be connected via hard-wire as well. You may be able to connect your computer and smaller printers and devices into the VOIP phone while at your desk to easily stay connected. The hard-wire connect will always be faster and more reliable than a wireless connection. Another reason business owners or their staff may opt for hard-wire connections is for large-scale data transfers. If your business routinely deals with large files or streams of data it may be necessary to rely on a hard-wire connection.
As you can see it is important for business owners to consider many factors when setting up or relocating internet equipment. Keeping these things in mind will help avoid slow internet issues around the office. If you are short on time to negotiate a lease renewal or relocation you may also consider reading my tips here for doing that on short notice!