Bandwidth providers such as CenturyLink, Comcast and even Google are touting new internet services that feature 100+ mbs speeds at exceptionally low prices. This price-to-performance has been very attractive to small businesses. However, after installing the new service, some businesses might not get the speed that they were expecting. What’s going on here?

The problem is not with the provider, but more than likely with your firewall. The firewall inspects every packet of information to and from the internet. If it is more than a few years old or is a lower-end firewall, it will not be able to keep up with the faster internet speed, so it becomes the bottleneck! If this is the case, then there are three options:

  • Live with it!
  • If it is a UTM type firewall, turn off some of the firewall services such as Intrusion Prevention and Anti-Malware (NOT recommended!)
  • Purchase a new firewall

It is easy for us to spend your money, but the only viable solution to take advantage of the higher speeds usually is to purchase a new firewall. It is fairly easy to find a firewall under $1000 to handle 100mbs speed. However if you are looking at speeds over 500mbs, the price of a UTM firewall will be $5k or more!

Something else to think about…you can expect faster and faster internet speeds over the next few years. So if you purchase a firewall today that is just barely able to handle the speed of your current internet connection, it won’t be long until it becomes the bottleneck. So another recommendation is to make sure a new firewall can handle twice as much bandwidth as what your current needs dictate. Also, start planning to replace your firewalls every 3 years instead of 5 years to make sure you keep up with the ever increasing internet speeds.

 

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