Broadband…we all rely on it nowadays, and business is nearly impossible without it.
Having a broadband connection is essential, but is yours up to the job?
If you have ever shopped for a good broadband deal for your home, then you would have likely come across ‘business broadband’ packages from various internet service providers, like us here at Tech Service Partner. However, what do these packages involve, how are they any different than a home connection and why should your organisation be diligent about choosing the right solution?
Data transfer speed, which is commonly advertised as “mbps” (megabits per second), is the amount of packets being sent along the connectivity at any given time. The higher the mbps, the faster the internet experience for your business. The average speed of internet in the UK is 35.7mbps (commonly advertised as speeds of 40mbps). However, this speed varies depending on the type of connection that it is travelling on.
The most common internet connection type, which covers 80% of the UK but also one of the slowest forms, is the asymmetric digital subscriber line (ADSL). It has a max download speed of 24mbps and an upload speed of only 1mbps. It is connected through telephone lines, similar to old school dialup, but at faster speeds. A cable run from the telephone exchange to offices via copper telephone wires. This is then connected to a micro-filter or modem which splits the phone and internet services, which is delivered from a service provider to a router. This router then delivers wi-fi/WLAN and RJ45 LAN cable connections to devices on the network to allow them internet access.
Although numerous businesses rely on ADSL, many are now choosing to upgrade to a more up-to-date internet connection, including fibre-to-the-cabinet (FTTC) or leased lines. This business superfast fibre internet is increasingly popular as it can reach download speeds of 80mbps and upload speeds of 20mbps.
FTTC uses a fibre-optic cable that runs from the telephone exchange to the cabinet (green boxes you may have noticed on street corners). From there it allows offices access to the internet via a copper cable. The speed at which this happens depends on the distance between the cabinet and business location, as the cable can only maintain the highest speeds over a certain distance.
Both ADSL and FTTC are contended, which can cause speed problems at peak times as you could be sharing the internet bandwidth with a lot of other users including businesses, schools and households which would result in slower internet speeds.
Some internet service providers create further headache for businesses by adding caps to the internet connection to leverage their resources and balance the internet availability for everyone in the vicinity. This cap restricts users to a certain amount of mbps at peak times. For example, you could have speeds of 20mbps, but with caps, only receive 10-15mbps.
Ethernet first mile, also known as EFM or ethernet leased line, is a service that is often used to connect multiple premises together but can also be used to connect directly to a telephone exchange. Unlike a fibre leased line which requires fibre cables, EFM uses existing copper cables, commonly expressed as “pairs”. These copper cables transmit the data packets between the buildings. EFM is more cost effective to deploy as there is no need to install any extra cables underground – making installation easier and faster. Although it is not as fast as fibre or wireless leased lines, it still provides a fairly decent speed for most businesses, but importantly it is uncontended, meaning you do not share this connection with anybody else.
The connection speed is commonly expressed as either: 2 pairs = 10mbps (up to) or 4 pairs = 20mbps (up to).
Fibreline (fibre leased line) can reach speeds of 100mbps, and the download speed is the same as the upload speed. Fibreline is more beneficial for businesses that consume lots of large data sets such as raw data (uncompressed audio, video and image files) or have many computers connected to a single network such as an office complex. In a similar way to FTTC, fibreline requires additional fibre-optic cables to be installed on the premise which can be expensive. The private fibre circuit can provide a peer-to-peer connection between two premises or for a direct connection to a telephone exchange for internet access with additional flexibility of the bandwidth. For more stability, we always recommend to also include an ADSL failover in case the fibreline is inaccessible, which enables your business to carry on working.
Wireless Leased Lines
Finally, there is the wireless leased lines type of connection - satellite internet which uses satellites to connect you to the internet. This is relatively new technology, but one that is growing in popularity for businesses. It is highly efficient and allows you to connect to the internet, even in the most remote parts of the world. It works similarly to satellite TV and is uncontended. This is the fastest form of internet too, offering speeds up to 2gbps (gigabits per second). No third-party exchange is needed unlike ADSL or FTTC since the connections are handled via satellite. There are a few limitations though, including the need for a clear line of sight for the internet to be received from the satellite, and landlord permission to install a satellite dish on the premises in the desirable location.
For businesses that are not able to get fibre leased lines, wireless leased is the better way to go as it offers much faster speeds and availability than ADSL, FTTC, EFM or fibreline.
With all of the options available, which is best for your business is dependent on many factors, including speeds needed, reliability, what is available in your area, costs and more.
Tech Service Provider can help your organisation find the right one. We are committed to working alongside you to help you understand your business needs and to determine which connection type would be best for your business. Contact us for a chat today.