Server-Led IT works best with an Internet connection. Is that a problem?

There was a time, not so long ago, when lack of internet connectivity was a valid reason for not adopting hosted services. However, with the advancements in connectivity options and speeds, there’s now nothing to hold you back.
Martin Sharpe
Man connecting to Internet on a tablet while travelling

Connection Speed

A common misconception with Server-Led IT/Virtualisation is that it requires a super-fast internet connection. Nothing could be further from the truth. Citrix powered virtualisation operates on extremely low bandwidth (even 3G will do) and improvements to receiver applications mean this is improving all the time.
In general, we advise that you’ll need around 100 kbit/s per user. So even a paltry 10 Mbit/s connection would be able to sustain around 100 users (100 kbit/s = 0.1 Mbit/s so that’s 10 users per 1 Mbit/s). So basically you could run a whole office from your home if you like.

Out of Office Connection

Lack of an Internet connection used to be a valid objection for not moving to a Server-Led IT model. These days, however, it’s easier to find an Internet connection than it is for employees to get to the Office (e.g. child care problems, illness, commuting issues, snow days, power cuts in the office, water pipes burst etc.). Let’s look at just some of the ways you can get hooked up:

a) Broadband in the home

The Internet is highly prevalent in Great Britain’s homes with 93% of households having some form of connection, of which 98% have fixed broadband access (Internet access – households and individuals, Great Britain: 2019  , Office for National Statistics). So chances are that nearly all of your employees will have a connection. On top of this the average home broadband speed in the UK has increased to 54.2 Mbit/s (UK Home Broadband Performance  , Ofcom). Not that it matters because in theory you could connect to a virtual desktop via an old fashioned dial-up modem.

b. Mobile internet

Such is the acceleration of connectivity that nearly 79% of Great Britain’s adults access the Internet “on the go” on a mobile or smartphone (Internet access – households and individuals, Great Britain: 2019  , Office for National Statistics). With the advent of 3G, 4G and now 5G, it’s not uncommon for mobile connections to exceed that of your home broadband. Either way a 3G connection is more than enough to connect to a Server-Led solution such as Desktop 365.
You might argue that it’s all well and good to have Internet on your phone, but you can’t perform all work tasks on your phone. This is true, however, mobile hotspotting now allows you to share your Internet connection with other devices. So, wherever your phone can receive a 3G signal, you’ll be able to connect to Desktop 365 on your tablet or laptop.
Similarly, you could use an Internet dongle or, should you happen to be travelling abroad, you could buy a cheap SIM card to allow you to connect. This works surprisingly well in developing countries because they’re investing more in cellular networks than they are in wired connections. For instance, one of our colleagues was able to seamlessly use his virtual desktop while on holiday in India. And while you might expect this to really rack up costs, in actuality data is usually significantly cheaper outside of the UK. On top of this, connecting to a virtualised service such as Desktop 365 requires little data. For instance, the colleague mentioned just previously averaged around 40 Mb per hour when connecting to his desktop. How is this possible you might ask? Well it’s because the bulk of the data is consumed within the data centre you are connecting to, the only data you are really consuming is to make the connection.
3 images showing a man working on a laptop in a cafe, a woman hotspotting from her mobile and another man working on a train

c) Guest WiFi

Wherever you go nowadays Guest WiFi is likely to be available. Just consider this non-exhaustive list of places where it can now be found:
  • Most cafes and restaurants
  • Public spaces (train stations, libraries etc.)
  • Public transport (trains, buses)
  • Any hotel worth its salt
  • Any business you visit
  • Shopping centres
Invariably Guest WiFi is available for free if you’re a paying customer (e.g. buying a coffee, reserving a room for the night) and frequently it’s available for even if you’re not. The long and short of it is that you can work out of almost anywhere these days.
The beauty of connecting via a virtual receiver is that it doesn’t even matter if the connection is secure. Nothing is stored on your devices and nothing is downloaded. Your device is simply a window into the data centre where the actual action is taking place, so you can use unsecure public WiFi at no risk.

In the Office Connection

Another thing that has historically put people off the Server-Led model is the thought of what will happen if the office loses connectivity. This really shouldn’t be a concern for modern offices. We advocate that you should always have a second Internet line as a backup because, after all, it’s imperative that you retain connectivity regardless of whether you follow a Device-Led or Server-Led approach to IT.
Arguably you’re actually better equipped for an office Internet outage with a Server-Led IT function. For instance, your users could just hotspot from their phones or simply login at the café next door. And, unlike Device-Led IT, they’d be able to perform all of their work as easily as if they were in the office.
Additionally, thanks to huge advancements in networking technology such as Citrix SD-WAN, connections from multiple sites can now be aggregated. This allows for seamless failover when a connection is lost, ensuring business continuity. Citrix SD-WAN can even reduce bandwidth wastage and prioritise your it in order to keep your key applications/processes running smoothly.

The Downtime Lowdown

As evidenced above, the Internet is pretty much everywhere these days. We carry the Internet in our pocket wherever we go and coverage and connection speeds are only going to increase. With the advent of 5G, connections are set to get ridiculously fast. In short, there really is no reason why your staff should be without Internet wherever they may be. On top of this the flexibility and productivity benefits of Server-Led IT massively outweigh any potential downtime in the highly unlikely event of complete connectivity loss. Get a no obligation Desktop 365 quote today, and discover how Server-Led IT can unleash the true potential of your organisation.

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About Desktop 365

The new standard of desktop computing, Desktop 365 is a plug-and-play Citrix and Microsoft solution – delivered by Atlas Cloud.

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