Archives April 2020

How enterprise networking is changing with a work-at-home workforce Network World updates the latest COVID-19-related networking news

As the coronavirus spreads, public and private companies as well as government entities are requiring employees to work from home, putting unforeseen strain on all manner of networking technologies and causing bandwidth and security concerns.  What follows is a round-up of news and traffic updates that Network World will update as needed to help keep up with the ever-changing situation.  Check back frequently!

AT&T reported that Email traffic is down 25% as more people opt for phone and video calls.  Video conferencing is on the rise with more than 470k Webex Meeting Calls on April 9, the highest during the COVID-19 pandemic.  It also stated instant messaging, including text traffic from messaging apps and platforms, has slightly declined since the week prior, but overall is up nearly 60%.

For the second straight week, Verizon reported that data usage is basically flat or down slightly week-over-week — including gaming, streaming video, virtual private network (VPN) connections, web browsing and social media — indicating people have settled into their new routines.

Internet performance across the top 200 cities continued to improve through April 15, according to BroadbandNow.  The company reported 91 (45.5%) cities have seen download speed decreases, down from 97 (48.5%) last week. 135 cities (67.5%) have experienced upload speed decreases, which is once again down from last week’s total of 139 (69%).  Only two cities have experienced significant download speed decreases of greater than 40% out of range this week: Evansville, Indiana and Saint Paul, Minnesota.

Ookla reported that as of April 15 the U.S. has seen a very slight increase in mean download speed over mobile and fixed broadband when comparing the week of April 6 to the week prior. Specifically mean download speed over fixed broadband increased very slightly in King County, Washington during the week of April 6 while mobile download speed was relatively flat when compared with the week before. San Francisco County, California saw an increase in mean download speed over fixed broadband during the week of April 6, while mobile download speed remained flat. Westchester County, New York saw a decrease in mean download speed over fixed broadband when comparing the week of April 6 to the week before. Mobile download speed increased during the same period.

With support for Microsoft Windows Small Business Server 2011 ending in 2020 and nothing in the pipeline to support an all in one business server, where do companies and schools go next.

This moment has been threatening to come for several years now and in fact Microsoft have extended the support for the very popular all in one package, but now the final curtain is upon us. Microsoft will be ending support for this operating system on the 14th of January 2020.
A colleague of mine said that this opening statement is a bit over the top, it is not the start of doomsday or a new
With support for Microsoft
Windows Small Business
Server 2011 ending in 2020
and nothing in the pipeline to
support an all in one business
server, where do companies
and schools go next.

financial crisis. But this for many Bursars, Business Managers or Administrators may ring true, the sound of money needing to be spent and budgets raided.
This event may seem like a long way off at the moment but forward planning is always the key. Time is ticking and considerations need to be made on what happens next.
As well as having a shiny new Small Business Server 2011 operating systems, 99% of companies also purchased a shiny new Server for it to go on at the time. This is also now old and probably starting to struggle with the demands of today’s users.

So what are the options?

You could go all on premise –

This would mean a new exchange server OS and a standard server OS for active directory file sharing etc. This would mean two new servers or a bigger server that would host the two new virtual servers.
This would be a pricey option as it means two major purchases on the operating side as well as on the hardware side.

You could go hybrid – (Something we would recommend)

A new server for a standard server OS to run your active directory, file sharing, etc. and then take advantage of Microsoft O365 for the email. It is up in the cloud and able to access anywhere. This would mean a smaller upfront cost for the server and a monthly fee for O365, so not as much as a big hit at the start as on premise. However, there would be a fee to pay in order to move mailboxes from exchange to O365.

Alternatively, you could go all cloud –

You could go O365 for your emails and Microsoft Azure for your AD, file sharing etc. This would mean no servers on premise, everything up in the cloud and so can be accessed anywhere.
Depending on the amount of data you have stored, although not a big expense in one hit at the start, Azure storage can get pricey the more storage you need.

The choice is yours but it is better to start to get the ball rolling early, so your staff have time to adjust to the idea, rather than springing it upon them and having the whole thing rushed. The transferring of data whether mailboxes or folders generally does run smoothly but on occasions there can be issues. The fact that someone has been hoarding their emails and has kept everything from the past 8 years and so due to the size of a mailbox could mean a longer transfer time. Being able to have time to plan and put a good strategy into effect is key to having it run smoothly.

At this moment in time this may be a lot to take in, so what can we do to help?
We can advise which is the best for you going forward
Help with a strategy plan
Implement the plan
Help and support after the plan has been implemented
Whatever you need