Feed the Animal.

This is counter-intuitive.

If a highway has lots of traffic, the general feeling is that a lane should be added to increase the capacity of the road. It seems to make sense: more cars = more lanes. Totally fine.

Except that’s not what happens. When you add a lane, you actually increase the usage of that road, thereby canceling out whatever “extra” capacity you’ve added. What you end up in is an arms race of sorts- constantly adding capacity only to see usage continually rise to compensate.

And so it goes with bandwidth in an organization. You find that your internet connection speeds are too low, and so you upgrade your ISP service to a higher bandwidth. In our case, we started with a 50Mbps connection, which was woefully slow. So, the choice was clear: upgrade. We moved to a 400Mbps connection, and, for a short time, things were radically improved. But as news of the more robust connection spread, usage increased. It’s not as crippled a connection as we once had to be sure, but with the much larger amount of data we’re pushing around, it’s not as razor sharp as you might think.


There’s no end in sight either- we’re now up to about 550Mbps, and as we add another 800-900 devices next year, we’ll be lucky if the connection experience we’re able to offer stays static. But this is not one of those problems that benefits from simply throwing resources at it. What needs to be considered is shaping a culture that understands the resource. Just as people once left the lights on and water running as a matter of course (hopefully no longer…), we need to educate and help people be more efficient with their use of bandwidth. A culture not of miserly enforcement, but of thoughtful and considered use.