It’s no secret that one of the things that frustrates office workers is how slow and unreliable their IT systems are! You know the score… You rock up to your desk in the morning, turn your PC on and have to wait around five minutes for it to “boot up” into Windows!
Many computer users assume that’s the norm. But what they don’t realize is that IT systems shouldn’t be so slow! For example, some users believe waiting up to a minute for a printout from their LAN printer is acceptable.
I’m here today to tell you that you can do much better than that! If your workers are all fed up of living life in the slow lane, this handy guide will tell you how you can improve your IT systems! Intrigued? Check out these top tips to find out where you’ve been going wrong!
Upgrade to newer PCs
Most company bosses don’t realize that there’s a genuine need to upgrade their PCs every two or so years. The latest software and operating systems put a higher demand on older systems.
Although your old PCs can run most newer software, it won’t be able to do so in an efficient manner. As a result, a lot of productivity gets lost because your staff have to “hang around” and wait for stuff to happen!
Let’s face it; new PCs aren’t cheap. But did you know that many savvy business owners prefer to lease their computers instead of buying them outright? Doing so saves on disposal costs and is better for a company’s cash flow.
Some IT suppliers will even ensure that your software and data gets migrated over to the new systems. That way, you won’t have to worry about spending hours or even days reloading things from backup!
I recommend sticking with systems that use mid-range to high-end processors, such as Intel Core i5 and Core i7 models. The quad-core CPUs are the ones to go for if your budget allows it.
Another component that can speed your computer life up is a Solid State Drive or SSD for short. Although they have smaller capacities than conventional hard drives, they run at lightning speeds!
The benefit of SSDs is that data read and saved to the device is faster. That means your applications and operating system boot-up time are much quicker to load. If you use desktop PCs, you can have a conventional hard drive as your secondary storage device. And the SSD can be your “boot drive.”
Companies like Chillblast use SSDs in the gaming PCs they build for their customers. As you know, hardcore gamers demand the best and fastest kit available to keep “lag” times down to a minimum.
Image Credit: davidchief (Flickr)
Use Gigabit Ethernet
When you use a computer network, you might not realize that the bottleneck could be your network speed more than anything else.
Most networks operate at a speed of up to 100 Mbit/s. This speed is known as “Fast Ethernet.” For small offices that have five or fewer computers, this is OK. But when you have scores of people working at your premises, it’s not good enough.
In those cases, it is best to upgrade to a Gigabit Ethernet network. As you might have guessed, Gigabit Ethernet runs at a speed of up to 1,000 Mbit/s. That means there is more bandwidth available.
Confused? Let me use an analogy to help illustrate what I mean. Let’s say that you drive a bus with 20 seats on it. We’ll call it the “Fast” bus. When those seats are full, other passengers have to wait until they are empty to sit down on them.
The “Gigabit” bus offers a mighty 50 seats, and so fewer people have to wait for available seats! Your “bus” travels in different directions all the time. With the Gigabit bus, people don’t have to wait at their bus stops for long before they can get on your bus!
Weird sort of analogy I know, but, in essence, a network is just a series of bus routes. If there isn’t enough capacity on each bus, your passengers (i.e. your data) has to wait for the next bus.
Upgrading to Gigabit Ethernet isn’t as expensive as you might think. Most people use Cat5e cable, which supports Gigabit Ethernet, as well as the slower “Fast” Ethernet. All you need to do is replace any network gadgets like switches and routers for those that have Gigabit Ethernet ports.
Today’s modern PCs and laptops have Gigabit Ethernet ports as standard, so you will seldom need to do any upgrades there.
Upgrade your Internet connection
Last but not least, another annoying bottleneck in the office is the Internet connection. Most businesses use broadband or fiber connections to get online. The former is more affordable but slower. While the later costs more but offers the best performance.
It’s worth considering how fast an Internet connection you need for your office. Do your workers upload and download large files each day? If so, a fiber connection will ensure things get done fast.
But what if people only surf the web, as well as send and receive emails? In those cases, a standard broadband connection will suffice.
Let’s say that you already pay for a fast Internet connection. Have you noticed how slow it is lately? It’s worth diagnosing the cause of the problem. Common sources of slow Internet speeds include:
- A faulty router. If turning it off and back on again doesn’t help, you might need to replace it;
- A faulty telephone socket. Sometimes old sockets or those in damp areas can cause a lot of “line noise”;
- A faulty network cable. Believe it or not, a damaged cable can prevent data from getting sent successfully.
Image Credit: dherholz (Flickr)
If you have an ADSL-based Internet connection, the issue might even be out of your control. To give you a recent example, a business owner friend’s Internet was quite slow. It turned out that the copper cable going from his premises to the local telephone cabinet was damaged.
As soon as that got replaced, his workers soon enjoyed fast Internet speeds again!