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Understanding Broadband Internet for Businesses

Posted December 10, 2018

The internet and broadband has transformed virtually every aspect of how commercial entities conduct their business. A quick look at various individual businesses will show you that the internet is at the heart of everything that goes on there. Today, if you want to purchase any product or service, it will be offered either online only or both online and physically.

The main reason for this massive shift is the fact that the internet has created a fast and more convenient way for all businesses to interact with their customers. Now, broadband internet access is just as important as the traditional telephone line was several decades ago, if not more important.

If you want to purchase broadband internet access for your business, your initial consideration likely will be bandwidth speed. Depending on your business need, budget, and other key factors, you should make a selection on your internet access and technology based on more than just speed, such as reliability, quality of the service provider, time to repair if it goes down, integration of other business communication services, and so on. This article helps you understand speed and how to evaluate technologies relative to that for an informed decision. If you want to know more about other important factors when making a decision on internet service, check out our post What is Bandwidth? Most providers will have different tiered products for different bandwidth speeds. The access speed fluctuates due to factors such as the amount of internet traffic in your area and the type of modem you have.

What is broadband?

In the early stages of the internet era, access was achieved through “narrowband” connections. Basically, these were dial-up connections that were significantly slower compared to today’s standards. These connections which used existing lines are still used today.

Broadband internet service is supplied by internet service providers (ISPs). An ISP will not only supply the service, but also the equipment that will be required in order for your business to have an internet connection. They will also advise you on the most appropriate bandwidth speed for your business.

What are the different types of affordable broadband connections?

Cable

Most people talk about cable broadband and fiber broadband interchangeably, but they don’t really mean the same thing (as you can read here on Fiber vs Cable Internet: A Guide to the Differences in Speed, Cost and More). Cable broadband is what will typically connect your business to the fiber cabinet closest to it. The reason why cable broadband gives you a faster connection is because it uses coaxial cables rather than the copper wires used in the traditional telephone line cables. A standard cable connection will give you a speed of between 36 Mbps to 300 Mbps.

Asymmetrical Ethernet

Asymmetrical Ethernet is a great alternative for any business that has very high bandwidth needs. It uses one or two telephone cables to deliver internet service. The available speed is determined by the distance between your business and the service provider so speeds vary and you will need to check for what’s available at your physical address. Asymmetrical ethernet offers service level agreements (SLAs) to guarantee uptime, dedicated bandwidth that is not shared with nearby businesses, Quality of Service (QoS) engineered platform for critical needs, and nationwide availability. This is an excellent solution, when available for businesses that need the reliability but at a reasonable cost.

DSL versus broadband

A lot of people incorrectly wonder which is better, DSL or broadband. You cannot compare DSL with broadband because DSL is, essentially a broadband service. Broadband is not a specific technology, but a term used to refer to high-capacity internet. The reason DSL is considered to be a broadband internet connection is that it offers sufficiently high download speeds. When shopping for service, be wary of providers that use only the term “broadband.” You should always consult on what is the underlying product, the providers written commitments and the quality such as whether dedicated or shared. Speed is not all that matters and “broadband” is not enough for you to rely on even if the price sounds low.

How to find a suitable broadband service provider

Your internet connection is such an essential business service that you must be incredibly careful about the service provider you choose. The last thing you want is your business to be affected by constant downtime, choppiness, lag times, or missing data packets. Again, remember, it’s not only about speed.

Here are some of the factors to consider:

Internet speed

You should know how internet speed is measured and how it relates to your business. If you are looking at several internet service providers start by checking for the speeds they are offering. And remember, a stated speed is not a guaranteed speed. A shared service is not a dedicated service. These product details are not often shared when you see very low pricing. But yet, they are material. Don’t be disappointed as you pay a low price but your actual speed to your business is not what you saw on the advertisement.

Upload versus download speed

You must also know whether your business requires higher download speeds or higher upload speeds. In most cases, the speed advertised refers to download speed. Make sure your service provider confirms your upload speed as well so there is no confusion.

Data caps

You should also know whether your plan comes with a data cap, or a limited amount of data use per month, or not. Sometimes, this information may not be available in the fine print with some less-than-reputable providers. That is why you must always ask before committing yourself. Work with a provider that helps you, rather than pushes to sell you something.

Fiber Access

Finally, if you know you want the best of the best, you should consider a dedicated fiber connection. A Gigabit internet connection with speeds up to 10 Gbps is reachable with fiber optic cable internet. Here you can have symmetrical upload and download speeds for consistency. Multiple users can access streaming media, send large files, do video conferencing over a VoIP system, all without losing a beat. MegaPath is a leader in fiber connectivity. With over a million buildings now accessing fiber, reach out today to see if you are eligible.

 

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