This article was inspired by a ticket we received yesterday – the client has a 1000mbps fibre internet connection at their office, but he was experiencing really slow access to the server from home.
Let’s find out why…

Scenario 1
At the office there’s a Synology NAS, let’s assume it has a 10Gbps ethernet connection and the client computers are connected via standard gigabit ethernet via a gigabit switch. This means that up to 10 computers on the switched network would have 1000mbps access to data on the Server

Looking outwards from there, they have 1000mbps connection to TPG, so that’s not the problem.

At the client end we find that the client has a mid range NBN connection. Just to remind you, here are the standard NBN speed-

25/5 Entry Level package
50/20 Mid Range package
100/40 High End package

50mbps doesn’t sound so bad, does it? Unfortunately the number we need to use is the second, 20mbps number because that represents the upload speed- when questioned, the client was upset about the speed of producing a PDF on the Server, which is a writing, or upload action. So we have a max upload rate of 20mbps
What next?

This client admitted that they were sharing the connection with their team- there were 4 of them. that means that they were all sharing the same upload bandwidth- 20mbps /4 = 5mbps each

The next revelation was that they were all using WiFi. WiFi is a shared bandwidth technology, ie. it does not give each user a dedicated amount of bandwidth, it is shared amongst all users on that SSID. In addition to this, unless you’re using a modern WiFi standard, it only supports a single concurrent conversation, and requires some overhead for data transmission. All of this has the effect of suppressing actual speeds quite harshly. But let’s be honest, it should still be above 5mbps, so that’s the final answer about how much speed this client could expect.

So by working from home, this client limited his Server speed from 1000mbps to 5mbps, a loss of 99.5%

Scenario 2
Let’s take another example- a client who is stuck on ADSL2+ and gets only 2.5mbps down and 1mbps upload speeds. Working from home is already problematic for one person, what happens when they add 2 more? Well, 3 people trying to access data from work will get 1mbps /3 = 0.333mbps which is pretty much unusable.

So here are the calculations you need-

  1. What is my office internet speed?
  2. What is my home internet speed?
  3. Am I uploading or downloading?
  4. What is the key limitation?
  5. How many people am I sharing with?

Find the lowest number from questions 1-3 and that’s your answer for question 4. Divide that by the answer from 5 and that’s your maximum expected speed.

What can I do about this? Basically it’s all about figuring out how to fix the slowest part of the equation-
1. get ethernet
2. upgrade your internet connection
3. reduce traffic by working locally and uploading later
4. get someone with better internet to do certain jobs