Networking

ISP bandwidth limits may have unclear impact on telecommuters

As ISPs such as Comcast consider residential bandwidth limits, what will this mean to those who support telecommuters? What contingency plans should network admins make to head off a telecommuting crisis due to bandwidth limits?

On the heels of Comcast's recent decision to enforce a 250 GB bandwidth limit on residential customers, network administrators may wonder what this means for telecommuters. While a remote site's network connectivity would be a business category plan, most telecommuters use the residential class service for price reasons or service availability. What is unclear within Comcast's announcement is how many customers in terms of a percentage would this affect. While the 250 GB limit may sound like a lot, it may not be enough if the household has a large amount of Internet traffic, including the telecommuter. Should other ISPs follow suit with this fair access policy for the bandwidth management, the concern may arise about the ongoing support of telecommuters.

The home network of the telecommuter is something that the enterprise network administrator wants no part of, and further, many steps, such as desktop firewalls and VPN policies, are taken to protect company computing equipment for use in untrusted networks.

The issue with the bandwidth limit policy is what to do with a telecommuter that becomes a victim of this policy? If a business line of service is not available, it may be a good idea to prepare some alternatives or contingency services to residential broadband for the telecommuter. While not ideal, the most readily available alternative is to use wireless broadband services from carriers such as Sprint or Verizon. These services may have bandwidth limits as well, and Verizon's wireless broadband service is limited to 5 GB per month. Sprint, however, presents a more attractive wireless broadband offering for the enterprise.

Organizations need to be aware of this situation, because they may be a victim of this bandwidth limit if it remains in effect or if other providers make similar terms of service changes. You may have to answer this question: Can you ship me a modem cable?

About Rick Vanover

Rick Vanover is a software strategy specialist for Veeam Software, based in Columbus, Ohio. Rick has years of IT experience and focuses on virtualization, Windows-based server administration, and system hardware.

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