Your internet connection can be a 21st Century robot, helping every employee to get more done every day, or it can be an archaic 19th Century robot only fit for making tea (They called it a Teasmade).
Your Internet Connection Needs
Before you start looking, work out what you need, but here is a starting list:
- Unlimited bandwidth – With very high “fair usage” caps
- High speed – At least 30 Mbps
- 24/7 high speed – With no slow down at peak times
- Reliable – With outages kept to the absolute minimum
- Support – Telephone support, not an email that gets answered next month
- Low latency – No embarrassing pauses in video or VOIP calls
- Symmetrical – So your uploads are as fast as your downloads
Your Internet Connection Options
1. Domestic Landline
The only advantage of a domestic internet connection is that it is cheap.
But you get what you pay for.
You get a slow connection that slows to a slug-like crawl at peak times, and peak times seem to get longer every month. Your upload speed is typically only one-tenth that of the headline download speed. Oh, and your quoted download speed isn’t guaranteed either if you read the small print.
Companies’ domestic connections are engineered down to the lowest possible price. Every Internet Service Provider (ISP) uses a high contention ratio in its domestic plans, so you might share your fibre connection with fifty other homes and businesses. In school holidays after 11am when teenagers get out of bed, your connection will slow to a crawl because everyone sharing your line is on Instagram or watching funny cat videos on Youtube.
2. Business Landline
A business landline sounds promising, but isn’t.
The contention ratio (number of premises sharing the line) might be lower than a domestic broadband connection, but it is still too high to allow for a reliable connection for a business where cloud apps, data downloads, and video calls are the oxygen that keeps everything working. At busy times, your oxygen is choked off and your employees are left sitting around waiting for something to happen.
5G sounds great, but outside the big cities, it’s not coming any time soon, despite the hype.
4G and 3G are what we now use on our mobile contracts. At peak times, especially when schools finish for the day, the networks are overcrowded. If your network prioritises voice traffic over data, and most do, then your computers are going to be as much use as a lump hammer in a phone repair shop.
You also have data limits that are less than generous, despite all the “unlimited” claims. 15GB a month is far from unlimited.
Satellite broadband works everywhere, after a fashion. It is better than nothing, but that’s it.
Satellite connections break down when it rains heavily or snows. Sometimes even high winds will disrupt your satellite broadband. Data use is extremely limited, so you will not be able to download or upload video or large images. You will also experience frequent outages for which you will never receive an explanation.
And it is VERY expensive.
5. Leased Line
A leased line ticks all your boxes. You get fast, reliable internet access 24/7.
Your leased line is yours. Nobody shares it. Your connection will not slow down when your neighbours want to watch Netflix or hold a video conference.
Your bandwidth is all yours. Your employees can all use your leased line connection simultaneously without any slowing down. Your connection is symmetrical, so your upload speed and download speeds are the same; you can conduct video conferencing without any glitches, backup your data to the cloud, and use Office 365, all at the same time.
Your leased line cost is higher than a standard shared line. However, it works and works all the time because nobody else is using your line, clogging it up with social media or video downloads.
The Short Version
A leased line has higher monthly charges than most other connections, but it works. The fibre optic cable is all yours: It doesn’t carry your neighbour’s Netflix downloads nor Instagram photos of everyone’s meals from the restaurant down the road.
As a business owner, you have different priorities for your internet connection. Your over-riding demand is that it works, and works reliably every hour of every day, no matter what the weather or neighbours are doing. A leased line broadband connection is what you need.