9.2  |  Each public Internet user is allocated sufficient network bandwidth capacity

For public Internet access, the amount of bandwidth available needs to be high enough to allow simultaneous users to use online applications that are bandwidth intensive, like streaming videos, cloud computing, or VoIP calling. These days, websites are also often very bandwidth intensive with many sites having multiple photos and other elements that take a lot of bandwidth to load quickly. If the amount of bandwidth is too low, much of the public access technology users' time will be spent waiting for websites to load and many videos may play so poorly that they are essentially unviewable. Ultimately, low bandwidth has a negative impact on patrons-it can be very frustrating and prevent them from accomplishing their goals. 

To be certain this does not happen, a library will need a fairly high bandwidth--both to ensure continuous adequate connections during high traffic periods, as well as to continue to meet ever increasing demand as bandwidth-intensive applications continue to grow. The bandwidth capacity for this indicator is expressed as how many bits per second should be available to each Internet user for uploading or downloading data. It is expressed in terms of each Internet user because the amount of bandwidth a library building needs depends on how many desktop computers, laptops, and tablets can be connected to the library's Internet service; the higher the number of possible simultaneous users, the greater the total amount of bandwidth the library needs to have delivered by the ISP. 

The indicator recognizes three levels of bandwidth availability. The first recognizes libraries that provide at least 512 kbps of bandwidth per user; this is the minimum amount of bandwidth users need to complete most instrumental tasks like applying for jobs or filling out government forms. The second level recognizes libraries that provide 768 kbps of bandwidth per user; this amount of bandwidth is approximately what is needed to watch relatively low-quality video on Netflix. The highest level recognizes libraries that provide at least 1 mbps of bandwidth per user; today that is usually sufficient for higher quality video and most web applications, but will probably be considered low in the not-to-distant future. The bandwidth available per user is calculated in the assessment based on the information provided by the library. 

You can read more about bandwidth and how Benchmark 9.2 is calculated in the attached article. You can also check your bandwidth per user by using this calculator developed by the University of Washington. 


For libraries with multiple locations: Some libraries have network configurations that provide a total allotment of bandwidth across a number of library locations. In some cases the allocation of bandwidth to each of the locations is static, while in others network administrators are able to dynamically route bandwidth to locations according to demand. In most cases, if the library has a bandwidth allotment that is dynamically routed according to demand to its locations then the bandwidth should be divided equally between the locations sharing the same bandwidth on the assessment. 

In no case should the total amount of bandwidth allocated across multiple locations be repeated in each location. The total bandwidth will always be divided in some way among the locations that share it. The reason for this is we are calculating your bandwidth per user based on maximum load. Here's an example:

Your library system is allocated 25 mbps which is dynamically allocated across 4 locations and has a total of 50 public access computers. 

If every computer were in use at the same time in all 4 locations, each of your users would have 512 kbps to use (a Level 1 achievement). 
(25 mbps x 1024)/50=512 kbps

If you indicated that you have 25 mbps available at each location, then your result would falsely indicate that each of your users would have 2048 kbps to use (a Level 3 achievement). 
((25 mbps x 4) x 1024)/50=2048 kbps

Because routers and other network settings are configured differently in each library system, all libraries that use shared bandwidth across multiple locations will need to contact the Edge Support Center for instructions on how to fill out the bandwidth questions in the assessment for your particular configuration.