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8 Ways to Improve Internet Bandwidth Speeds in Computer Labs

By Wayan Vota on April 19, 2010

Internet bandwidth – everyone wants more, no matter where you are or who is looking at the screen. Yet, its as much a matter of perception as anything else – when you’ve had the fast stuff, everything else is slow.

Look, the Internets are faster already!

But there are ways to speed up any network. To get more computer user happiness, you will need to take a 3-part approach that includes effective network monitoring, sensible usage policies, and a consistent enforces of management and usage rules.

The network management bible is How To Accelerate Your Internet – a practical guide to bandwidth management and optimisation using Open Source Software. But not everyone has time to read a book, so the good folks at Aptivate have distilled its knowledge down.

Here are the 8 key points from their Network Management Basics:

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  1. have a clear, simple and strict Internet access policy, and enforce it.
  2. have enough bandwidth, AT LEAST 3 kbps per computer, uncontended. So if you have 1000 computers, you should have 3 MBits dedicated bandwidth, or 60 MBps if it’s shared or contended with a 20:1 contention ratio (typical ISPs).
  3. have competent network administrators. If you don’t have them, then hire or train them.
  4. implement good network management practices, e.g. by following the advice of the BMO Book.
  5. start by solving the problems that users complain most about, to give them the best possible service.
  6. monitor your network to understand how Internet bandwidth is being used.
  7. block misuses of Internet access that are causing problems for legitimate use of the Internet connection.
  8. ensure that client PCs have good, fast antivirus, perform well, are regularly reformatted and reimaged, and have strong local security to prevent unauthorized software installation.

In addition to the book, check out the companion wiki for more bandwidth optimization tips & ticks.

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Written by
Wayan Vota co-founded ICTworks and is the Digital Health Director at IntraHealth International. He also co-founded Technology Salon, MERL Tech, ICTforAg, ICT4Djobs, ICT4Drinks, JadedAid, Kurante, OLPC News and a few other things. Opinions expressed here are his own and do not reflect the position of IntraHealth International or other ICTWorks sponsors.
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