What is the Best Business Broadband?
With so many products being available these days, it’s hard to make the right choice on which broadband product to go for. This blog will provide a description of each type of internet option available, and hopefully make your life a little easier when choosing a suitable product for your business.
First of all, you need to consider the following questions – it doesn’t matter if you have a company size of 5 or 500 – the internet is used for several different things:
• What is the broadband going to be used for?
• Will you need more than one connection?
• What speeds will I get?
• Do I need to buy a router?
• Will I need a back-up connection?
ADSL Broadband is one of the most common, and affordable, connections for small businesses and is also the product most people have at home. It replaced the dial-up connection back in 2000 and is now used throughout the UK.
An ADSL product is added to a standard phone line (PSTN) and offers more bandwidth to download data than it does to upload it, hence the label ‘asymmetric’.
When it comes to speeds, it really depends on what is available in your area, as well as when you may use the service. Think of ADSL Broadband as the public motorway of data services, liable to clog up at peak times (normally when the kids are back from school and head straight to their consoles for online gaming!). Typically, ADSL speeds vary from 1Mbps up to 24Mbps.
FTTC (Fibre Broadband)
FTTC Broadband is a connectivity technology that is based on a combination of fibre optic cable and copper cable. The fibre optic cable is in place from the local telephone exchange to a distribution point (commonly called a roadside cabinet), hence the name “fibre to the cabinet”. As an ADSL connection, it gets added to a PSTN line.
It’s not currently available to everyone in the UK yet, however BT are installing it in as many distribution points as they can.
With regards to the speeds, like ADSL, it depends on your area and (as it’s not a dedicated connection) it can get slower during peak times. Typical speeds vary from 20Mbps up to 80Mbps.
Again, this is perfect for small businesses who don’t want to fork out hundreds on their Broadband each month - it’s affordable, reliable and probably the most popular option when it comes to internet connectivity.
EFM (Ethernet First Mile)
EFM (Ethernet First Mile) is a low cost leased line technology which is normally cheaper than a traditional fibre leased line, bringing mission critical connectivity within the reach of small business. EFM provides symmetrical bandwidth at speeds of up to 20 Mbps, with no contention.
While a standard ADSL connection uses just one phone line, a copper EFM connection can use several of them in parallel, boosting the maximum speed available.
Perfect for small businesses that would like a fast, reliable, dedicated connection – with guaranteed speeds at all times.
Ethernet Fibre is one of the best options to go for, whether you’re a small or large company – with speeds ranging from 10Mbps up to 1000Mbps. There is an option to “re-grade” the line if your original chosen speeds aren’t quite enough.
If you’re looking for a reliable, dedicated connection – without the risk of your connection slowing down, then this is the product for you. Of course, it’s the most expensive option to go for, but you pay for what you get – guaranteed speeds with a secure & fast connection.
There isn’t a fixed cost for an Ethernet connection, it’s purely based on your location and whether it’s already been installed in your office. For example, you place an order and a previous tenant had a Fibre connection, most of the required cabling will be already on site and it would be a quick win installation – 9 times of out of 10, the installation is free too. However, if it’s a building that’s never had a Fibre line installed, there could be an installation cost and it could take up to 60-80 days to install.
Having a back-up internet connection is almost as important as your main internet line – imagine it’s like your electric and you have a power cut, most companies have a UPS (uninterruptible power supply) in place which would automatically kick in to get you up and running again – with the configuration and set-up of business grade routers, a Broadband automatic failover connection can be put in place to ensure you aren’t without an internet connection, enabling you to carry on running your business as normal, whilst your supplier is fixing the main connection.
Normally, a failover connection is ADSL or FTTC, as they are very reliable and available in most parts of the country, however you can have an Ethernet Fibre back-up as a better alternative, if that is what you prefer.
Once you’ve chosen the connection you would like to go for, you then need to think about a router. When choosing ADSL or FTTC, normally your supplier would provide a router as part of the service. But these are usually routers like we have at home, and aren’t business grade.
Most telecoms companies offer Managed Services, with business grade routers and Wi-Fi solutions available – I would recommend looking into something like this for your business.
With all of the above to consider, hopefully things have been made a little easier when trying to choose the best solution for your and business.