There is nothing more annoying to a client than their internet speeds suddenly slowing down when carrying out critical business functions online. That is the moment that they will turn to you (their MSP) with feelings of frustration and expect that you sort out the issue within the shortest time possible.
As an MSP, you need to have the technical knowledge and understanding of how to handle such a situation. The following guide is meant to help you get on the same page with your client, and be able to troubleshoot some of the common issues that bring down internet speeds when they should be high.
Check if You Are Talking About the Same Measuring System
The very first thing you need to do is make sure that you and your client are talking about the same thing. A client may not know the technical details involved in internet speeds and therefore might end up just complaining about normal connectivity speeds.
They may think that subscribing to a 5 Mb/s package will be enough for their workload, and therefore complain thinking that 5MB/s shouldn’t be slow. In such a situation, you should let your client know that Mb/s and MB/s are entirely different terms.
For instance, internet speeds are indicated/measured in Mbps (megabits per second). This should not be confused with MBps (megabytes per second). In conversion, 1Mbps=0.125MBps
This would also be a good opportunity to advise them to upgrade their internet speeds.
Check if Firewall or Antivirus Settings Cap the Speed
Some firewalls and antivirus programs like McAfee have been known to throttle internet speeds with some users. You may need to check the firewall/antivirus installed by the client to make sure it doesn’t affect speeds.
First, do a speed test with the firewall enabled. You can then disable it and conduct another speed test. If you notice that the problem lies in the firewall or antivirus, then you can go to its settings and adjust this. Otherwise, scrap it altogether and find a better one.
Check What Else Can Use Bandwidth
Your client may be running various apps that take a big slice of the bandwidth. Most of these may be in the background. To check for this, open the Task Manager and navigate to the Network Resource Monitor to see if any app consumes too much bandwidth.
The apps are usually listed in terms of bandwidth consumption. If there is an app that the client didn’t know about, then disable it. Otherwise, advise them to reduce the number of simultaneous apps accessing the network.
Check the Actual Bandwidth Speed
The problem might not be the user’s device, but rather the bandwidth speed. Check the bandwidth speed provided by their ISP. If the quality is of concern, consider switching to a different ISP with a better bandwidth.
Use Multiple ISP’s
If your customer runs operations with a high need for upload/download (backup, or any other), then consider having several ISP’s. You can have one for upload/download operations, and another one for the user’s access to the Web and other daily routines.
Upgrade Firmware and Hardware
Speed from ISP might be good, but the router might be outdated hence their technology to provide internet to end users. If the client uses a router with the outdated 802.11b and 802.11g standards which only support the 2.4 GHz band, you might consider upgrading to an 802.11ac dual-band router (both 2.4 GHz band and the less concentrated 5 GHz band) that will reduce congestion and offer modern technologies like beamforming.
The Internet Speed of Your Client is Low, but You Need to Perform Backup
Performing a cloud backup is usually speed-dependent, and therefore you’ll find this process frustrating with slow internet speeds. In such a case, you may need to reconsider your options. Here are a few tips that will help you to overcome some of the performance constraints.
Choose Data for Backup Wisely
There is no need to back up every file in the organization. Certain corporate files that are crucial for the continued run of the business should be given priority. You can, therefore, perform an image-based backup of only the essential machines. Such a prudent selection of files for backup will definitely result in a faster and more efficient process.
Schedule Your Backup Wisely
Backing up data is a process that requires a lot of bandwidth and speed. To boost the process, consider backing up the data when there aren’t many network users. This will ease network congestion. A good option would be running critical files backup at nights and running image-based backups and other bandwidth consuming backups on weekends.
Consider Going Local (NAS)
When the network is slow, doing an online backup can prove a nightmare. To avoid this, you can set up several local storages for backup. Such a backup will surely not help if fire/flood/tornado strikes, but it will be quite helpful in the usual issues like a dead PC.
In such a situation, a petabyte-scale data transport solution like AWS Snowball or Google Transfer appliance will come in handy. It will make the process simple, fast and secure despite the challenging speeds of the network.
If the speeds are really challenging, you can also offer storage for the client. Have them send the drives to you, and you can upload the data and store it in some of your NAS/data centers.
As you can see, there are various methods of helping your customers. They might seem obvious, but as MSP you already know that the most obvious issue is usually the most probable and frequent.