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How much bandwidth per user is enough?

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While deciding for an ISP and line speed I asked myself the question “how much bandwidth does the average employee need?”. ‘Average employee’ means in our terms tech-savvy people who like to stream music, watch videos and browse through Facebook albums of one of their 532 friends.

The average user consumption worldwide was 7.3Gb a month in 2010 -> http://awe.sm/5ZqsD
I’d lower that a little for office users given that weekends and evenings are excluded. Also, the good old uTorrent client should not be running. So let’s say 5Gig per user.
So we have to squeeze 250 megs per day per user through the line. That’s 30 mb an hour – to download 30 megs in 1 hour you need a 66.67 kbps line.

Now that’s only a little faster than a modem. Is that really fast enough? Of course not.
Realistically you need at least 256kbps to be happy. But to make someone smile you should calculate 500kbps – then they can also smile on camera while having their Skype video call.

So long story short: calculate with 500kbps per employee and put ideally not more than 10 users on a 10mbit ADSL line.
It’s not only about not having grumpy people in the office because the latest viral clip doesn’t load quick enough but also about the time they’re wasting when the mail with the important 4 megabyte attachment takes forever to load.