Beyond uptime: It’s time to make “usable uptime” the KPI for your company’s Internet

Usable Uptime is the new KPI for business internet.

Internet disruptions aren’t just annoying, they’re creating big problems for your business. Sales calls drop, meetings are interrupted, time is wasted, customers are frustrated—and it’s happening more often than you may think. 

For years, we’ve thought about Internet disruptions in terms of “outages” when the internet is just off. But today’s high-performance applications like video chat, VoIP calls, CCaaS and collaboration tools can become unusable even when the internet is technically up. To put an end to the disruptions, we need to understand the full range of these issues, what causes them and how to stop them. 

“Uptime” doesn't equate to usable

Your internet can be live, and useless. Don’t believe it? Ask your sales team if they’ve ever been on a Zoom call that had to be rescheduled because of choppiness. Or ask your head of HR if any virtual company meetings have ever ground to a halt because the connection was “unstable.”  

In both of those cases, the internet was live. Your firewall would be able to ping its destination and would never think to fail over traffic to another circuit. But the internet wasn’t “usable.” That is to say, the users couldn’t do what they needed to do. For IT, that’s what matters most—not whether the Internet was “up,” but whether it was “usable.” 

“Usable uptime” is the new key metric for business internet

At Bigleaf, we’ve built a definition of usable uptime based on thousands of customers’ experience. In its simplest form, our definition of usable uptime requires: 

  • Less than 2% packet loss 
  • Less than 60ms of jitter 
  • Less than 40ms of one-way relative latency. You could simplify this to a more common absolute round-trip latency of 100ms. 

For Bigleaf, this equates to a circuit health alarm level of 0 through 2 out of 7, a threshold that’s exceeded more often than you may think.  

The cost of unusable internet is huge ​

In fact, across thousands of circuits, we’ve found an average of 274 hours per year of “unusable uptime”, far beyond the 38 hours per year when the circuits were actually down hard. So for an average business using technologies like Zoom, MS Teams and VoIP phones, their internet is “unusable” for a total of 312 hours every year!  

According to Gartner’s downtime cost calculations, that 604 hours equates to over a million dollars in lost productivity and sales every year. So why isn’t every business optimizing for “usable uptime”? Frankly, because it’s been too hard to measure and even harder to control…until now. 

Optimizing for “usable uptime” has never been easier

Legacy networking technologies like failover and SD-WAN have traditionally made it difficult or impossible to track, let alone improve usable uptime of internet connectivity. You may have tried a few options yourself over the years. 

Every firewall has internet failover built in, but it only fails over when the circuit is down hard, not when it’s live but unusable. SD-WAN showed a lot of promise, but most vendors require manual configuration that’s almost impossible to get right, and it only helps site-to-site traffic. Getting to truly usable uptime requires a different approach. That’s where Bigleaf comes in. 

Bigleaf is designed to simply deliver truly reliable connectivity over the internet. Our plug-and-play installation connects you to our backbone network over up to four ISP connection—making those connection work like one singe ISP with a Bigleaf IP block. That means we can provide visibility and control along diverse paths to anywhere your traffic needs to go. 

What’s more, Bigleaf’s intelligent software automatically categorizes your traffic and identifies performance issues, allowing it to react in seconds to ensure your users never feel the bumps in the road. No more guessing and testing at policies and configurations. Just reliable connectivity for all your users. 

Finally, our web dashboard shows you everything that’s happening across every circuit at every location. That means you’re always in control of the conversation and never guessing when things go wrong. 

All of this means that Bigleaf can deploy anywhere, over any ISPs, for any applications, and we can have you up and running in as little as two weeks.

Start optimizing for “usable uptime” at your business

Ready to make usable uptime a reality at your business? There’s no better time than now.  

If you already have a way to measure your packet loss, latency, and jitter on an ongoing basis, you can start tracking usable uptime using the definition above. It’s great to get a baseline and see where you’re at. 

If you’re ready to make usable uptime the new standard for your IT team, we’d love to show you how you can get there in as little as two weeks.  

Learn more about how Bigleaf can transform your business for the better by requesting a FREE demo. If you have any questions, shoot us an email at or contact us through the website. 

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