Broadband v Ethernet
Feb 23

Broadband v Ethernet

Today, internet connectivity plays a pivotal role in the life of the typical SME. Email has changed the way businesses communicate and eCommerce is transforming how businesses sell their products and services. Most recently, SMEs have turned to the cloud for data storage, business software (such as Google Docs, OneDrive and Salesforce) and hosted telephony services (IP telephony).

Many businesses buy broadband on price alone, failing to recognise the true value of a robust data connection. Only when they lose the connection or experience poor performance does this value become all too clear.

In simple terms, connecting your business to the Internet comes down to a choice between Broadband and Ethernet technologies.

A number of different broadband technologies (such as fixed line, wireless and mobile) have been developed in recent years, the two most prevalent in the UK being ADSL and cable modem services.

One of the main advantages of Broadband is its wide availability throughout the UK compared to cable services. This is because it is delivered via the existing telephony infrastructure, so almost every business and home can access it. It also offers the potential for fast speeds – up to 24Mb/s download speeds – at an affordable price.

However, the way Broadband is delivered is one of its key disadvantages. Copper telephone lines are susceptible to signal loss – so, if your business is a long way from the exchange, you may get a very slow service. Adverse environmental conditions (such as storms, flooding, etc.) can also disrupt services. Broadband also uses a shared public network, so while fast speeds are achievable, there are times when the sheer volume of internet traffic slows everything down.

Ethernet is commonly known for being the standard used to link computers together on a local area network (LAN). Owing to its flexibility, scalability and robustness, it has now moved beyond the LAN to become the technology of choice for connecting businesses to the Internet.

If you think of ADSL Broadband as the public motorway of data services, liable to clog up at peak times, Ethernet is your private toll motorway – more expensive, but guaranteed to be faster and more reliable at all times. Unlike Broadband, Ethernet was designed for businesses, not the residential market. Its key advantage lies in its use of dedicated high capacity fibre optic lines.

Ethernet is a symmetrical data transfer technology – so upstream capacity is the same as downstream. For many businesses, this is essential – allowing outgoing email to be dispatched faster, ftp uploading to be carried out more efficiently and cloud-based services to be used seamlessly.

The robust nature of Ethernet means that faults and dropped connections, while possible, are extremely rare. Availability is often in excess of 99.9%. Should anything go wrong, repair times tend to be shorter than ADSL.
The downside of Ethernet can be cost, although the gap is closing as Ethernet prices come down.

The verdict
Recognise the true value of connectivity to your business – and invest in a connection package accordingly. When you’re choosing how to connect your business to the Internet and the cloud, you need to look beyond the headline price. Think like a business, not a bargain-hunting consumer.

While Broadband certainly offers value for money, the technology isn’t as robust as Ethernet. The use of the public telecoms network means Broadband lacks the performance and reliability today’s SMEs need – especially if connectivity is central to their business.

Ethernet, using dedicated fibre optic connections, offers high speed, performance and reliability. It is designed specifically for businesses and backed by a stringent SLA. For that reason, it’s a clear winner over Broadband.

Contact us on 0800 840 6800 or email for a free assessment of your current connectivity solution and to find out what services are available in your area.

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