To begin, know that it is virtually impossible to perfectly calculate the level of use of IP bandwidth at any level. There are many factors that impact your use at any given time, some beyond your control. But even though IP bandwidth use is an estimate, we want to give the best estimate that we can. The more data your estimate is based upon, the better. Here are several strategies arranged from Bad to Good to Better.
- Bad. Guess.
- Good. Sit down at a few devices in schools in the district during core instructional periods when use is similar to the levels it might be when testing is taking place and run a speed test. The speed test that the NJTRAx team recommends is SchoolSpeedTest at http://www.schoolspeedtest.org/ from EducationSuperHighway. Calculate the mean download speed available during these periods. Measurements will vary but the more tests you do, the more likely the available bandwidth estimate will be closer to reality. If you subtract the bandwidth available from the total bandwidth for the district, this will give you the bandwidth currently used. Calculate the percentage of your total district bandwidth that this available bandwidth represents (see the NJTRAx Quick Start Guide for specifics) and you will have a decent estimate.
- Better. If either you or your ISP has network monitoring software in place, estimates from this software, particularly mean usage calculated during core instructional periods over a number of days, will give you a far better estimate.