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Bandwidth Pipes - Over Utilised (Maxed Out)
Bandwidth Pipes - Over Utilised (Maxed Out)

This article describes the available bandwidth categories for clients, how bandwidth works and what happens if it is over utilised

colin jones avatar
Written by colin jones
Updated over a week ago

What is Bandwidth?

To begin, bandwidth is the amount of data that can be transmitted in a fixed amount of time. This is measured in Megabit per second (Mb/s).

If you have not seen the article on the Bandwidth Graphs on Connect, please see this article - Bandwidth Graphs in Connect

An internet connection with a larger bandwidth can move a set amount of data (say, a video file) much faster than an internet connection with a lower bandwidth.

How much bandwidth a client needs depends on what they plan on doing with the internet connection. For the most part, more is better, constrained of course by their budget.

The easiest way to think of bandwidth is to think of it like plumbing...

Data is to available bandwidth as water is to the size of the pipe. As the bandwidth increases, so does the amount of data that can flow through in a given amount of time, just like as the diameter of the pipe increases, so does the amount of water that can flow through during a period of time.

Regardless of whether the client is using a Wired or Wireless connection (or both), the bandwidth allocation will always be set to the pipe they have been allocated to.

Bandwidth Pipes:

For most sites, there are three pipes available for clients:

  • Standard Pipe - This is the smaller bandwidth allocation pipe (for example 20Mbps) 

  • Superfast Pipe - This is the larger bandwidth allocation pipe (for example 50Mbps)

  • Dedicated Pipe - This is a pipe dedicated to the client. There is no interference from any other client within the centre. This can range from 1Mbps to the limit for that site (as standard, around 100Mbps is the limit for dedicated, but this varies from site to site)

Below is a visual representation of each pipe...

Standard Pipe & Superfast Pipe:

Multiple clients are likely to share the Standard Pipe and the Superfast Pipe at a site and therefore the bandwidth is contended (Contended = Sharing - The more usage on the line, the slower the speeds will be). 

This means, for example, on the Standard Pipe, if "Client A" is using a high amount of bandwidth, or even over utilising (maxing out) the bandwidth, then this will leave little bandwidth for "Client B" and "Client C". As a result, ALL clients on the pipe will suffer from slow speeds and/or drops in connection. 

Dedicated Pipe:

The Dedicated Pipe is more relatively straightforward in comparison to the Standard and Superfast Pipes. If a client is on a Dedicated Pipe, this means they have an allocation of bandwidth to themselves, i.e. no other client can interfere with the usage on this pipe. If the client is over utilising the Dedicated Pipe, you will need to check what protocols they are using on Connect. This is under Bandwidth on Connect.

For more information on the bandwidth graphs, please see this article - Bandwidth Graphs in Connect

Please note - whether the client has a wired or wireless connection, both connections use the same bandwidth which that client is allocated to.

How do you know if a pipe is being over utilised?

The graph will show something similar to this:

As you can see from the example above, from around 15:15, the bandwidth is completely over utilised. This will result in slow speeds, network drops, network lags, difficulty connecting to Wifi etc.

Between 15:00 to 15:15, the bandwidth is being over utilised intermittently, which will cause the same issues as above for those times.

The same rules apply to the Superfast Pipe. The only difference, is that the Superfast Pipe will have a higher Mbps limit than the Standard Pipe, therefore clients on this pipe should receive faster speeds.

What do you do if the pipe is overutilised?

For the Standard and Superfast Pipes, you will need to check which client(s) is using the vast majority of the bandwidth. You do this by selecting Client Breakdown:

You can then select that client and see what protocols (Applications) and which IP Address is/are causing the issue:


Below is an example of what you can see when you select Applications:

As from the example above, you can see a full breakdown of the services used for that time period. 

IP Breakdown

There are two examples of what you will see when selecting IP Breakdown. If the client has a Public IP, you will not be able to see the network beyond their router/firewall. This implies that you cannot see which individual device is causing their issue. Below is an example of what you can see when you select IP Breakdown for a client with a Public IP:

If the client is over utilising their Bandwidth and they have a Public IP, they will need to investigate their usage with their IT Team/Provider.

Below is an example of what you can see when you select IP Breakdown for a client WITHOUT a Public IP:

Clients without a Public IP provides information for each user on the network. With the example above, the IP address is using the vast majority of the bandwidth within the time frame selected. If the client is over utilising their bandwidth, the client will need to investigate the usage for this user.

If you hover the mouse over the graph for the user, you will see their usage as below:

All this information can be exported and provided to the client by clicking this arrow on Connect:  

Solving Overutilisation

There are only a couple of resolutions to this:

  • A - The clients causing the issue would need to lower their usage of bandwidth

  • B - The clients causing the issue would need to be upgraded to the next available pipe (Superfast or Dedicated)

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