Recently more and more of my customers are coming around to the idea that they need a ‘real’ internet connection so I thought I would spend some time to explain the options, as a geek I know what a real internet connection is but not everyone does.
Getting a good connection can make or break your business.
Here are the options when it comes to connectivity in the UK
ADSL – The technology that most homes and small businesses use in the UK, it’s commonly known as broadband and came to use in mid to late 90’s. ADSL uses the existing copper telephone network and is simple and cheap. Speeds vary depending on your distance from the nearest exchange and average download is 5 Megabits. There are two major issues with ADSL, there is no SLA (service level agreement) which I will cover later and its upload speed is a maximum of about 1 Megabits.
ADSL should cost approximately £60 per month with a good provider.
Fibre ADSL – if you’re lucky enough to live or work in a BT fibre enabled area you can get much faster speeds from your ADSL, this is because BT have brought fibre optic cable to the green box in the street making it much faster, the big problem with this technology is that people think they are getting something more appropriate for business but there is still no SLA
Fibre ADSL cost the same as standard ADSL.
EFM – Ethernet First Mile – EFM is a fairly new development and is essentially four ADSL lines bonded together to give a connection that has an upload the same as the download, this is the first type of technology to do this. Having a faster upload makes a massive difference especially when connecting to servers remotely. EFM is also the first of the connections to carry and SLA.
EFM costs should be around £350 per month.
Leased Line / Ethernet circuit – This is the kind of technology that your business needs to be thinking about, it carries a very tight SLA, speeds can vary depending on your requirements from 2Mb to 2Gb (faster than the networking inside your office) It’s a dedicated connection and super reliable.
Things to think about
SLA – The service level agreement is the most important thing, all companies now rely heavily on the internet without it your business comes to a halt, email, backups and research are just a few of the important things that you do every day, think about your working day without the internet. Leased lines carry a 4 hour fix SLA which means that the provider guarantees to have the connection fixed in that time and if it fails your business can claim compensation, without the SLA the provider has as long as it likes to resolve your issue, I’ve known ADSL connections be off for a week.
Upload – if your business sends a lot of data like marketing agencies uploading artwork and files you need a fast upload speed, upload effects your download so you can’t afford to have ADSL if you need to get things to customers quickly.
Cost – think about the cost of your internet connection compared to how much it would cost you to be without it, if your staff can’t receive email and work you can quickly attribute a cost of not being connected.