Conclusion: Increased demands on bandwidth have been growing in the last two years. The Australian Bureau of Statistics' figures for the March - September quarter of 2003 showed a 180% increase in bandwidth usage by business and government. As an index of demand this trend is significant and poses for managers the question of how to plan for bandwidth demand in the future.

Although most organisations differentiate the "backbone" bandwidth, the "peer to peer" bandwidth, LAN bandwidth, and voice over IP bandwidth, from each other, demand on all networks should be assessed overall to forecast how an organisation should manage changes to its requirements.

New applications also put pressure on existing networks. The rapid deployment of applications naturally turns attention to the adequacy of current networks and platforms to deliver those applications. With increases in demand what was once acceptable to a business becomes insufficient. 

The challenge for managers is how to forecast, taking into account temporary surges in demand and also longer term trends.The two techniques below will help managers plan for such requirements:

1. Review the business strategy and the upcoming demands across your organisation and whether current arrangements are suitable for the next two years. This review should include the influence of competition and market conditions.

2. Establish an efficiency benchmark of current communication services to be certain of what is delivered and at what cost. There are many widespread claims as to the additional effectiveness and efficiency from more bandwidth, but these claims are not generally qualified with productivity figures to support them. A clear understanding of the benchmarks will assist future investment decisions.

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