Easynet Connect, a small business ISP, are advising small businesses to be aware of disruption that could be caused by the World Cup to their Internet connections. Small businesses are likely to be hardest hit as they generally have lower speed connections which may get saturated if a couple of people in the office decide to watch the World Cup online via BBC iPlayer or ITV Player. If you have a broadband connection designed for the home, this is usually more heavily contended and you may find that other people in your local area or customers of the same broadband provider watching online could cause broadband slowdowns.
"Traditionally, small businesses face a dilemma when deciding whether to allow employees to follow major sporting events during office hours. Whether it is through their PCs, phones or even pocket radios it is likely that fans will find a means of following the football regardless. This year however, small businesses need to consider the technical issue of bandwidth provision with large numbers of fans, especially those who are part of 'generation Y' who instinctively look to the internet to follow live events, using their work internet connections to follow the tournament."
"We'd urge businesses to act now to avoid any reduction in connectivity or productivity. Smaller companies should audit their ongoing and future bandwidth requirements and ensure that their connection can support their most critical applications as well as managing spikes in demand. For example, one person viewing full HD streaming via the BBC's iPlayer requires 1.5Mbps, so to have five people using this kind of service without impacting upon other services would require a minimum connection of at least 8Mbps without considering the bandwidth required by apps such as VoIP or email."Chris Stening, (Managing Director) Easynet Connect
Easynet Connect are advising that businesses should take some steps before the World Cup begins to ensure that they will be able to cope. This includes planning ahead and talking to your ISP to see how much bandwidth your business requires, generally and at peak times. With this information it should be possible to see if you need to upgrade your broadband package or transfer to a different ISP who can better meet your requirements. There could be other technologies which may work better for you over DSL such as using a leased line or MPLS to provide a service that will offer a Service Level Agreement (SLA) and can use technology to prioritise certain types of traffic such as Voice over IP.
Other options suggested include buying radios or TVs for the office so employees can watch the game without it causing problems for your Internet connection. Flexitime could also help out by giving employees the ability to watch games and make up the work time later in the day or week, although this might not be possible for all kinds of jobs!