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Business internet connectivity guide

Applications and browsing need more and more bandwidth, while employees expect faster and faster services. Picking the right sort of internet connection for your business can be difficult. Get it right and you have a real competitive advantage, get it wrong and you will never hear then end of it from employees! 

Stewart Marshall, an IT and software design expert and the founder and CEO of MashallFloyd, says: "The speed of a business's internet is crucial. Adoption of the cloud for typical "office" activities, such as email and document creation (Office 365 and G-Suite), is highly desirable, as it is for backups and data transfer. However, these demand a reliable and fast connection. Even with a 100Mbps upload speed, it would still make nearly 15 minutes to send 10Gb of data."

If you are looking at upgrading, or have a new office opening here is a quick guide to business internet connections.

Broadband

Broadband (also called DSL or ADSL) has been the staple of home and small business connectivity for the last 15 years. Delivered over copper wires, it provides up to 8mbps of download speed and normally up to 2mbps of upload.  The distance your premises is from the exchange will impact on the speeds you will get.

Low cost, it was suitable businesses with low usage requirements such as email and light web browsing.  With the explosion in video streaming leading to higher bandwidth requirements, it is now outdated with most suppliers providing a cost effective upgrade path.

Upgrade to: Cable Internet or Ethernet

Cable Internet

Cable internet is delivered over coaxial wire that’s thicker than DSL.  This means you can get better speeds. Cable Internet speeds can vary depending on time of day and often will be advertised as ‘with speeds up to…’

Cable is undoubtedly great value for money and still used by small business where speed is important, but that 100% uptime is not essential. Cable Internet provision also varies by area with some providers covering areas others do not. 

Upgrade to: FTTP or Ethernet

 

U-Verse/FiOS

FiOS stands for Fiber Optic Service and uses Fiber to the Premises (FTTP) delivery meaning you get great speeds that are not effected by distance (the signal moves at the speed of light!)

FTTP is the new wave of home internet and is also being used by small business for a very cost effective connection. U-Verse and FiOS providers will often remove the home phone and replace it with a VOIP service meaning a potential cost saving on that line. There are issues with availability in some areas. 

T1 

 T1 service is delivered via a Primary Rate Interface connection.  T1 services bond together multiple lines to provide a high bandwidth internet service. T1 services have been available for over 20 years, so are often replaced with a newer service.  They are still very popular in areas that have not had the new technologies made available as they can still deliver reliable internet service and which is normally backed up by a Service Level Agreement. 

Upgrade to: Ethernet 

Ethernet over Copper 

Ethernet over copper (or EOC), as the name suggests uses copper wires to deliver the last mile into the premises.  The advantage of this is that it can be installed at a lower cost as some infrastructure is already in place.  The main disadvantage is that the speed reduces the further you are from the exchange. Available exchanges are also limited to metropolitan areas.

Ethernet over copper is tends to be replaced by true ‘end to end’ Ethernet (see below) when business outgrow their bandwidth.

Upgrade to: Ethernet 

Ethernet 

The price for ethernet has dropped significantly in the past few years meaning even smaller businesses can afford to invest in true business grade internet. Ethernet gives you a very fast, scalable service backed up with the most substantial SLAs.

Delivered with fiber from your premises through to the network core, Ethernet provides the highest quality service available.

Upgrade: Increase ethernet bandwidth 

Satellite 

Satellite internet is useful for when regular wired internet just isn’t possible. Remote locations, far from mobile coverage or for situations where the connection needs to be ready very quickly are normally when we recommend satellite.  The cost for satellite tends to higher and the speeds slower.  Another issue is the latency (how long it take the signal to arrive) can be quite high, which means it is not ideal for carrying voice. 

Fixed Wireless 

A fixed wireless connection provides internet via microwaves beamed between two base stations.  One is positioned on your premises and the other will be connected to a hard wired internet connection. The base stations need to be positioned within line of sight of each other, so they are normally on top of buildings well out of the way of trees or other obstacles.

Fixed wireless is normally used where they cost of laying fiber is deemed too high or as a disaster recovery solution. Install times can be very quick as there is minimal infrastructure to be deployed.

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