If you’re running a wireless network with old hardware, you might be surprised to learn what that old hardware is costing you. In the same way refrigerators from the 1950s were inefficient electricity hogs, old wireless hardware is also inefficient — leaking perfectly good bandwidth.

So I’m a big fan of numbers of quantifying things that otherwise go unquantified.

Death by a thousand 2-second cuts…

A slow network is subjectively something very frustrating. Sure, we lose a few hairs or minutes off our lives from anger when a page doesn’t load quickly or cloud-based software doesn’t respond as fast as we want it to. But in terms of real dollars, how much does it cost?

We all know what a fast network looks like — instantaneous access to data, documents, and all the things that make the organization work. At least, I hope we know what that looks like. Now, a slower but perfectly acceptable network might add 1-2 seconds of lag on each request. A web page might refresh in 2 seconds. You might wait an extra second before the “Download” prompt pops up for you when saving spreadsheets from an e-mail.

And while these minor delays might seem pretty negligible in the grand scheme of your day, the cost to the organization compounds quickly.


It’s not his fault; he’s just waiting for the network to respond.

Let’s assume an average user makes 50 page requests per day. If that sounds like a lot to you, then I challenge you to see how many requests you rack up checking e-mail, downloading documents, etc. 50 might just be a very conservative figure for your organization.

The math… it hurts!

So with 50 requests and a 2-second delay on each request, that’s 100 seconds per day. No problem, right?

  • 100 seconds per day
  • 5 days per week (500 seconds)
  • 48 working weeks per year — Psst! I’m giving you a lot of vacation. (24,000 seconds per year)

That’s 400 minutes or 6.7 hours per person per year spent… waiting. And there’s no way to multi-task when the downtime is just 2 seconds. So a half-day of productivity just evaporates every year to network lag.

Now, for the real heartbreak, do some math with your payroll.

What does a half-day’s pay equal for every member of your organization?

That’s a half-day per employee with zero return on the investment. And in this example, we’re just talking about lag — the amount of time it takes your hardware to receive your request and issue a response. Your actual download and upload speeds could be another costly problem altogether.

The real story here is that while network upgrades might not be particularly flashy, they are a sound investment in your organization’s productivity. Additionally, newer hardware tends to offer better security, and we’ve all heard the stories about security lately.