Connectivity is an essential for most modern businesses. It is very rare that a company could survive without a good, stable internet connection. Those that could survive would find growth very difficult without this major resource being available.
For most people, internet means 'Broadband'. This is the standard connection, and is the lowest rung of the connectivity ladder. It suffers contention (more on this topic later), with a high possibility of faults or errors in operation, and suffers poor issue fix times.
After this, there are the 'Fibre' variants. FTTC, and more recently FTTP, are both ways of increasing your upload and download speeds, and both may work well for you.
1st Sign - You Require Guaranteed Upload And Download Speeds
Fibre and ADSL both suffer from unpredictable Upload and Download speeds. As your business grows and your usage grows correspondingly then the requirements you have from your connection will outreach what ADSL can supply. Fibre offers some improvement, but isn't the guaranteed solution some think.
The problem with 'Fibre' (and note that 'Fibre' is in inverted commas here) is that it isn't actually Fibre. Or, more accurately, it isn't an end to end Fibre connection.
The connection from you to your local street cabinet is still copper wire, and it is at this point that your connection will be throttled back. A good analogy might be a caravaning holiday (bear with me on this). Your car might be perfectly capable of travelling at 100 mph, but it isn't going to do that speed while towing a caravan. The caravan is limiting how fast your car can ultimately go. In the case of FTTC, your copper wire is the limiting factor. It doesn't actually matter how fast the 'Fibre' part of your connection is. Your speeds will still be limited by your 'caravan', the copper wire connecting your house or business to the BT cabinet.
ADSL suffers from the slowest speeds of all Connectivity options. As a consumer-grade option, it does not come with guaranteed issue-fix times, and is not suitable for supporting multiple users uploading and downloading data files. This problem will be compounded if you use a VoIP service for your telecoms.
2nd Sign - You Require A Service With Long-term Stability
Both ADSL and Fibre products also suffer from a problem termed 'Contention'. This means that, in essence, the more people around you, the lower your connection speeds will be.
The problem occurs due to the afore-mentioned BT cabinets. These little green boxes dot around our towns and cities, and make sure we all connect and remain connected to the public telephone network. It is this network that delivers internet connectivity - for most of us at least.
As more and more connections are needed, while neighbourhoods expand and houses are built, so this resource is shared between more and more users. As each new house is built, and new connection is requested and set up, so the original cabinet speed is 'shared' between additional users.
3rd Sign - Your Business Relies On Your Connection To Function And You Wish To Protect Against Possible Loss
This is the time when we 'get legal'. Neither ADSL or Fibre Connections provide a guarantee. If you look closely at an advert for ADSL or FTTC you will spot a small asterisk next to the speeds claimed. This asterisk relates to two very important words. The two words are "Up To".
"Up To" covers the Provider in question, and means that the advertised speed is not necessarily the speed you will receive. The "Up To" speed given is just what it says - your speed will be anywhere up to the speed quoted. So if you have
signed up for an "Up To" 50Mbps service, your Provider can provide a service anywhere between 0 and 50Mbps. This is one of the main disadvantages of using an ADSL connection for business - it is inherently unpredictable and unreliable.
FTTC is a more reliable service than ADSL, and is more suitable for business use, but still lacks an actual, legally binding guarantee that your service will not fall below a certain level. Providers are not required to deliver estimated speed predictions, and there are no legally binding penalties in place should the service fail to deliver what was promised.
The Solution - A Leased Line
So, bearing in mind the pitfalls of taking 'off the peg' solutions, there is another way - a Leased Line.
A Leased Line is a dedicated, end-to-end connection between your business and the national internet network.
It gives guaranteed Upload and Download speeds, and these are symmetrical, so you don't suffer from slower upload speeds than download speeds.
It also comes without the risk of Contention.
It also gives you legal redress should the service fall below the agreed speeds.
A Leased Line also comes with SLAs (Service Level Agreements), which gives financial compensation in the event of service disruption, and therefore some reassurance regarding your service level. If your connection falls below a certain speed for a set time duration, then you are entitled to some form of recompense. This functions as compensation for your loss of service, and also as a motivating factor for the Provider to ensure you receive what was advertised and signed up for.
If a customer requires a stable, high quality internet connection then we always recommend a Leased Line.
It gives the reassurance of a dedicated connection built solely for the customer, with specified service speeds.
It won't suffer contention, even if a new housing estate is built in between the customer and their exchange.
And it offers an SLA covering the customer should there be any issues.
Contact us if you wish to know more about a Leased Line for your business.
If you are considering internet connectivity, but are not ready for a Leased Line just yet, see our other connectivity products here.