slow network connectionFor small and medium-sized businesses, your network can either be your greatest asset, or your biggest liability. Reliable network performance is essential to conducting business in the connected, digital world. When things go wrong and your network starts to drag, productivity comes to a screeching halt, and revenue streams are put in jeopardy.

Further complicating matters, is the fact that SMBs need to oversee more complex network environments today. With movements like bring your own device (BYOD) and mobile driving employee demand for robust wireless networks, SMBs must facilitate both Ethernet and Wi-Fi connections. That can be a tall order, and ensuring that networks match employee expectations only raises the bar higher. According to a recent J.D. Power study on network quality and performance, the number of wireless problems increased to 13 instances per 100 devices in 2017.

How can SMBs get ahead of such issues, and maintain the best network performance possible? Keeping an eye out for common causes of network slowdown is a good start.

Let’s look at three common reasons for a slow network connection:

Network Bottlenecks

When troubleshooting slow networks, you want to be on the lookout for bandwidth bottlenecks. Maybe employees are streaming video and audio from sites like YouTube and Spotify, draining network resources and affecting the performance of business-critical apps.

The problem may not lie with your employees’ browsing behaviors, but with the design of the network itself. As ComputerWeekly noted, poorly constructed network environments may not be able to keep up with user demand, especially during spikes in activity, resulting in a sluggish, unresponsive connection.

Poor Equipment

Another potential cause of network latency is the underlying equipment and infrastructure. It’s tempting to purchase commodity hardware and the least-expensive network switches, routers and adapters on the market. However, if this equipment isn’t able to adequately support your network needs, performance will inevitably suffer.

As network hardware ages, be sure to monitor your routers and switches to spot any associated issues. Old equipment may be more prone to malfunction, which can prevent it from effectively sending data packets, leading to network slowdown. If you’re concerned your network infrastructure – or even a single component – may be nearing end of life, run an audit to check for performance issues.

Malware and other cyber threats

If only one or a handful of employees are dealing with a slow network connection, the problem may not be with your hardware or design, but with something far more insidious – malware. Cyber threats like spyware are notorious resource hogs, preventing users from loading apps and connecting to network resources in a speedy manner. It may appear that the network is acting up, but in reality, some kind of malware has infected the employee’s computer, and is affecting performance levels.

Any evidence of malware intrusion should be taken very seriously. Once a breach has occurred, the clock is ticking to respond, remediate the threat and do damage control.

Regardless of what the underlying cause of your network slowdown is, IT support services can help you identify the problem and address it. There’s no reason to suffer from poor network performance, especially when it’s hurting your business. If you’re experiencing problems with your network, reach out to SMBHD today to find a solution.